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GF&P Rejects Scull’s Overbid; Rapid City Shooting Range Delayed

Crony corruption doesn’t always win in South Dakota. Bart Pfankuch of South Dakota News Watch reports that the Game Fish and Parks Department has rejected the single radically overpriced bid it received from Jim Scull’s construction firm for its proposed shooting range northeast of Rapid City:

It hoped to break ground in May 2023 and finish construction in 2024. GFP has purchased 400 acres for the site, generated an environmental impact statement, received permission from the Meade County Commission and raised nearly $3 million in private funds to build the range. GFP hopes to raise $7 million in donations, possibly tap federal and agency funds to pay the rest of the construction costs and use GFP money to staff the range.

But the GFP has suffered setbacks.

The Legislature in 2022 rejected a bill to provide $2.5 million in state funding. And in late April 2023, the GFP was forced to pause the project when its call for bids attracted only one offer – a $19 million bid by Scull Construction Service of Rapid City that was more than double the $9 million estimated cost.

GFP has rejected the bid and will seek new bids in the coming months, a spokesman told News Watch [Bart Pfankuch, “Long-Held Rural Values at Odds in South Dakota Gun Range Debate,” South Dakota News Watch, 2023.05.04].

GF&P refused to comment further to Pfankuch about the rejected bid or how long they think it will take to rebid the shooting range. Jim Scull and Governor Kristi Noem also refused to talk to Pfankuch about the project, but Ian Fury said on the Governor’s behalf that GF&P’s rejection of the bid (Pfankuch’s words) “shows there are no political forces at work”. Scull’s son Andy, who runs Scull Construction Services for his mostly retired dad, wouldn’t talk about the bid but told Pfankuch “the accusations about the business and his father are ‘100 percent untrue,’ though he did not elaborate.”

Scull already made $900K selling the land that GF&P acquired for this recreation project. His construction bid was the only one received in a remarkably brief and under-advertised bidding process. Perhaps offering a longer bidding process and advertising the bid in the Rapid City media market instead of only in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader will alert more competitive bidders to this opportunity.


  1. All Mammal 2023-05-08

    SD GFP needs to get their priorities straight and knock it off with their pursuit to appease their rich lords. GFP also needs to can their forsaking of their mission statement. They are hurting game, poisoning fish, and letting parks go to ruins. They do not even pay for the emergency services they require for over 2,000,000 Custer State Park visitors every year. They rely on volunteers to go out to rescue their charges twice a day in the tourist season. That is brutal for even paid first responders.

    The money they have raised for the mega shooting emporium in Meade county should be put towards mitigating the zebra mussel infestation in Pactola Reservoir. Our neighbors to the west and northeast of us are spending tens on million$ to keep our invasive species problem out of their states. Our GFP has done literally nothing to thwart the spread.

    I have purchased stickers and licenses every year to contribute to GFP’s mission statement, not to bankroll KN’s secret cabin guests in Valhalla.

  2. Arlo Blundt 2023-05-08

    In a state where it is very difficult to pass a school bond issue for 5 million dollars, or a legislative bill to expand Medicare, or find local money to plow the snow from country roads, we are eager to spend 30 million on an elaborate 30 million dollar gun range which will serve a small segment of our population. It is Republican gun craziness gone to the extreme.

  3. Mark Anderson 2023-05-08

    Ian Fury said that with a straight face? Hillsdale must have great acting classes in American theatre.

  4. Bonnie B Fairbank 2023-05-08

    If “gun enthusiasts” (supply your own synonym) in Meade and Pennington Counties are anything like Fall River’s, then there’s little point in building the Rapid City shooting range. I think it will be a disappointing failure, other than to make the Sculls richer and Noem’s lady parts all tingly.

    I’ve been to the Fall River Gun Club and Shooting Complex three times over the years; the most vehicles I’ve counted there? Six. The third and last time I was there I was advised to never come back as long as my truck sported Biden/Harris bumper stickers.

    I know my nearest neighbors blast away on their own properties into canyon walls and across the Fall River onto other private properties.
    Juveniles allegedly started The Vineyard Fire in August 2018 that burned 500+ acres with either a firearm or flare gun. IIRC, the City of Hot Springs allowed “game harvesting” a few years ago within city limits because of them pesky deer. Most common excuse for spontaneous and unexpected gun play? “That’s just ol’ Johnson/Wilson/Larson/Torgeson/Hanson/Jorgenson/Olson/Christianson gettin’ ready fer huntin’ season.”

    Fall River County is simply The Wild West when it comes to firearms. We don’ need no stinkin’ gun ranges.

  5. Phil 2023-05-09

    Beretta Road is a target shooting area on FS land between Keystone and Rapid where I sometimes practice with my biathlon rifle. I always bring extra boxes and trash bags because the local “sportsmen” leave plenty of crap needing to be picked up. I doubt most of those folks will spring for a park pass or shoot at a place that has actual safety rules in place.

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