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State revenue drops with pheasants

FORT PIERRE — The state Wildlife Division received $1.9 million less than expected from license sales in 2013, officials told the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission on Thursday.

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Actual revenue was about $30,000 below the 2012 total but that was largely due to higher prices for most licenses, according to Chris Petersen, GF&P director of administration.

The biggest cause of the downturn was the low pheasant population.

Sales of resident licenses for small game fell by more than 6,800. That was a 24.6 percent decline.

There was a similar drop for sales of small game licenses to non-residents. Those decreased by nearly 9,000 or 19.9 percent.

Sales of combination licenses that cover small game and fishing remained steady. Those are available to residents.

GFP official Scott Simpson said the small-game license sales fell more than expected.

Two-tag licenses for antelope and deer were down amid lower populations, he said, while sales were up for mountain lion and non-resident fishing licenses.

State biologists confer each summer to make their forecasts on license sales for the following year.

“So it’s not an exact science,” Simpson said. “It’s a somewhat complicated process.”

The commission, expecting downturns, made corresponding budget adjustments last year.

Licenses at a glance

Here’s a snapshot of major license categories for pheasant hunting. Sales are for 2012 and 2013.

  • Resident small game: Fell from 27,876 to 21,015.
  • Resident 1-day small game: Fell from 1,121 to 925.
  • Resident youth small game: Fell from 5,746 to 4,949.
  • Resident combination (fishing and small game): Fell from 46,183 to 45,788.
  • Junior combination: Fell from 8,178 to 8,111.
  • Senior combination: Increased from 5,242 to 6,458.
  • Non-resident small game: Fell from 95,298 to 76,301.
  • Non-resident youth small game: Fell from 3,064 to 2,401.
  • Non-resident annual preserve: Fell from 483 to 321.
  • Non-resident 5-day preserve: Increased from 9,398 to 9,687.
  • Non-resident 1-day preserve: Increased from 1,109 to 1,113.
  • Note: Combination licenses cover small game and fishing. They are available to residents only.