PIERRE – Gov. Kristi Noem and the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks announced the results of the 2021 Nest Predator Bounty Program on Tuesday, July 20.

A total of 53,642 nest predator tails were turned in by 2,773 participants when the program was open from April 1 to July 1.

The goal of the program is to reduce local nest predator populations as a way to enhance pheasant and duck nest success. The program, created as a outdoors-focused priority by Noem, is targeted at removing predators, such as raccoons, striped skunks, opossums, red fox and badgers.

“South Dakota is one of the only states that hunts our state bird. The nest predator bounty program began in 2019 as a key component of my Second Century Initiative,” said Noem in a statement. “It’s a great way to encourage youth and families to get outside and ensure trapping remains a part of South Dakota’s long-standing outdoor heritage. And it’s leading to higher nest success, which means more beautiful ringnecks for our hunters.”

The 2021 results returned South Dakota's program closer to where it was in 2019, when 3,151 participants collected 54,470 tails from April 1 to mid-August. In both years, South Dakota paid $10 per tail submitted.

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In 2020, with the price for each tail reduced to $5, about 26,000 tails were collected from about 1,100 people. Over three years, the total tail count is now more than 134,000 from about 7,000 participants.

In 2021, 29% of the program participants were under the age of 18, up from 16% in 2020. These 812 South Dakota youth handed in 12,108 tails. Of all tails taken in, 91% were turned in East River.

In 2021, a focus was made on getting youth trappers involved. Each week, a drawing was held for youth participating in the program. Winners of the drawing received three live traps, a trapping booklet, and a knife.

The program has already been renewed for 2022 at the rate of $10 per tail, with a statewide maximum of payments at $500,000, capped at $590 per household.