GFP Commission Amends Nest Predator Bounty Program

PIERRE, S.D. – At their January meeting, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission amended a resolution to the Nest Predator Bounty Program for this year and next. The resolution indicates that the 2021 program will include a payment of $10/predator and a cap of $500,000. The amendment specifically modifies the dates of when the program will start and end in which the GFP Commission unanimously agreed to run the program from March 15 through July 1.

“The primary goal of the program is to enhance nest success for pheasants and ducks at localized levels by removing primary nest predators, like raccoons, striped skunks, opossums, red fox and badgers from the landscape,” said interim department secretary Kevin Robling. “Furthermore, this program is designed to increase youth and family participation in understanding and experiencing the tradition of trapping while enhancing our strong outdoor heritage.”

Last year, 16 percent of participants were 17 years-old or younger. These families and youth participating in the program made lasting memories while making a difference for managing wildlife in South Dakota. To encourage even greater participation in 2021, GFP will provide a weekly giveaway for all youth (17 years-old and younger) that participate in the program. The giveaway will consist of a GFP-sponsored trapping package that includes three live traps, knife, and the National Trappers Association Trapping Handbook.

“Each year, approximately 75 percent of duck and pheasant nests have been lost to predation in South Dakota. Intensive and ongoing predator removal efforts on lands containing quality habitat are important for increasing nest success at a localized level and present an excellent opportunity for an outdoor experience the entire family can enjoy,” stated GFP Commissioner Bob Whitmyre.

GFP will also enhance the ETHICS SD program to reach new audiences across South Dakota. ETHICS SD is a partnership between trapping organizations, GFP and 4H where youth learn trapping skills, fur handling techniques, and elements of wildlife management. The program has doubled in size reaching 110 new students in 11 counties in 2020.

“The key to ensuring our outdoor trapping traditions remain strong for future generations is educating and encouraging youth to participate in wildlife management,” said Robling. “We are excited to hear about the lasting memories these families make as they take to the field.”

The GFP Commission is allowing public comment on the amended program changes for the next 30 days and will vote on it at their March 4-5, 2021, meeting. To hear the discussion on this proposal, audio is available through South Dakota Public Broadcasting and on the GFP website under the meeting archive. Individuals can comment on this proposal by visiting gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions. Comments can also be mailed to 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501. To be included in the public record and to be considered by the Commission, comments must include a full name and city of residence and meet the submission deadline of 72 hours before the public hearing (not including the day of the public hearing).

Individuals are encouraged to share their trapping and outdoor memories by using #SDintheField on social media.

GFP has operated the Nest Predator Bounty Program for the past two years (2019 and 2020) with different program details/parameters (i.e. amount paid per predator, duration of program, license requirements, etc.) each year. For more details, visit https://gfp.sd.gov/bounty-program/.