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Fishing license sales trailing 2012 by significant amount

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CUSTER -- People aren't buying fishing licenses in South Dakota this spring like they did last year.

Think the late snowstorms, lingering cold, hard winds and some welcome rains might have something to do with it?

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Through April 29, sales of fishing licenses to residents and nonresidents alike were far behind where they stood one year earlier, according to a report presented Thursday to the state Game, Fish and Parks Commission.

Among residents, sales of one-day licenses are down 60 percent and annual licenses are off 58.9 percent. Senior fishing licenses are down 54.5 percent.

The news isn't any better among nonresidents. One-day licenses are behind 49.5 percent, three-days are off 19.3 percent and annuals are down 33.4 percent.

Nonresident family licenses likewise lag 37.1 percent nonresident youth licenses are down 12.1 percent.

The silver lining in those clouds that keep filling the South Dakota skies might be this: "We were at a record pace last year at this time," GF&P's Director of Administration Chris Petersen told the commissioners.

He noted that only 20 percent of the total fishing licenses sold in 2012 had been purchased by this point.

"There is still a lot of time to recover," Petersen said.

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