A couple weeks ago, Governor Kristi Noem made a big whoop-de-whoo about National Travel and Tourism Week. Last week she evidently celebrated international tourism by going up to Canada with her niece Chloe Grantham to shoot at bears:
Safari River Outfitters of Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan offers one-week black bear hunts for $3,500 per person, which includes meals, lodging, and the prepping and packing of your bear meat, hide, and skull.
Politico reported in January 2022 that a political donor paid $60,000 to join Noem on this bear hunt:
One Saturday last fall, around the opening of South Dakota’s pheasant hunting season, a crowd of businesspeople and political benefactors who’d come to meet and hunt with the state’s governor, Kristi Noem, trickled back to the Sheraton for dinner and an auction.
The whole weekend had been billed as a business recruiting event for South Dakota, and auction proceeds went to conservation efforts in the state. But the vibe was almost indistinguishable from a typical political fundraiser: an evening, closed to the press, where donors mingled with political staffers, where a governor thanked supporters, and where Tim Laudner, the retired Minnesota Twins catcher and hunting enthusiast, got held up for handshakes at the door — the mix of celebrity and personal access that defines a modern political career.
One donor paid $60,000 for a black bear hunt with Noem in Saskatchewan. (The auction program promised this would include not only “one of the best all-inclusive bear hunts Canada has to offer,” but also “spending time” with Noem.)
…The black bear hunt with Noem in Saskatchewan is scheduled for May 2023, at the start of the presidential election cycle [David Siders, “Kristi Noem’s on a Political Rocket Ship. But Don’t Rule Out a Crash,” Politico, 2022.01.14].
The Governor did get back from shooting bear and schmoozing donor in Canada in time to celebrate White Lake’s ten new high school graduates yesterday afternoon.
The local video of the speech, complete with the superintendent’s tedious recitation of the introduction Team Noem wrote for him, doesn’t show the Governor wearing her new bear skin or mentioning which donor she spent a week in the woods with, but maybe afterward the Governor gave the graduates some fresh bear jerky. Nom nom nom.