LETTER: GF&P needs to be able to purchase landI am very thankful for the game production areas the SD GF&P has acquired in past years, but we need more public land to meet the demand.
By: Mark Widman , Tea
To the Editor:
My brother and I were able to participate in the resident-only pheasant hunt this past weekend on public land. Many other South Dakotans were enjoying the day as well. In fact, we found the public areas near Chamberlain packed with other resident hunters, so many that my brother felt pellets hit him from nearby shots. Luckily he was OK, but there were simply too many hunters for the available area. I am very thankful for the game production areas the SD GF&P has acquired in past years, but we need more public land to meet the demand.
Did you know that Gov. Daugaard has forbidden the GF&P from most purchases of land for public use from willing sellers? Why is that? The money used to purchase land comes from sportsmen’s dollars, not taxpayer funds. The land acquired isn’t taken off of the property tax rolls, either. The GF&P owns far less than 1 percent of land in South Dakota, but has been forced to turn away willing sellers, and we have forever lost opportunities for sportsmen and women.
How many sportsmen and women have put their rifles and shotguns in storage because they can’t afford to pay to hunt? How many kids are not getting the opportunity to enjoy the outdoor traditions their parents enjoyed?
This is election season. If you enjoy the outdoors as much as I do, then please contact your legislative candidates and ask how they stand on this issue. Encourage them to help expand hunting opportunities and protect our natural resources by allowing the GF&P to acquire land from willing sellers once again. Contact Gov. Daugaard and implore him to do the same.