South Dakota's Nest Predator Program Reaches Its Goal Early

South Dakota's Nest Predator Program Reaches Its Goal Early

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem created the Second Century Initiative early in 2019 to improve the state’s pheasant population as they usher in the second hundred years of pheasant hunting. As part of this initiative, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks launched the Nest Predator Bounty Program on April 1, 2019 to help pheasants and ducks increase nesting success. Since then, the program has focused on introducing people to trapping as well as reducing localized populations of nest predators. The program provided an incentive by offering a $10 bounty for nest predator tails, up to $590 worth of tails per household. Prior to the start of the bounty program, SDGFP had a live trap promotion that provided 3 free traps to 5,500 people.

The Nest Predator Bounty Program was designed to reduce predation on nesting pheasants and ducks. Additional goals were to a) increase awareness and participation in trapping to ensure the heritage of trapping remains strong in South Dakota, and b) to get the next generation involved and interested in outdoor recreation, conservation and wildlife management. South Dakota’s nest predators include raccoon, striped skunk, badger, opossum, and red fox. A budget of $500,000 was established for the bounty program.

No trapping license was required for residents to participate in the program, and the program was restricted to residents. Participants were required to comply with South Dakota trapping and hunting rules and regulations. The program began April 1st and was scheduled to run to August 31, 2019, or when the program budget was expended.

Recently the state announced that the budget was nearly completely expended and announced that August 12 would be the end of this year’s program. The bulk of submissions came from raccoon tails at 37,720 followed by the submission of 5,529 skunk tails. The top counties that participated in the program include Minnehaha, Beadle, Yankton, Grant, Brookings, Turner, Kingsbury, Clark, Roberts, and Lake counties.

“I greatly appreciate the enthusiasm that has come with the program to sustain our state’s outdoor trapping heritage,” said Game, Fish and Parks’ Secretary, Kelly Hepler. “Participants have not only been successful at removing large numbers of nest predators, which will help nesting birds in their local areas, but more importantly, they have had fun and experienced our outdoor resources in a way they might not have ever known.”

August 16, 2019