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GF&P Commission to consider adding more nonresident waterfowl licenses, but wildlife group calls for pause

State statute says any increase allocated by the commission may not exceed 5% of the number of licenses allocated for the same license type in the previous year.

South Dakota Outdoors 28.JPG
A black lab carrying a mallard duck in South Dakota.
Luke Hagen / Republic

MITCHELL — The South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Department is considering adding an additional 300 nonresident waterfowl licenses to its annual distribution, but a wildlife group is asking state officials to put the increase on hold.

The matter will be discussed during the GF&P Commission meeting Thursday and Friday in Brookings. The meeting will also be held via Zoom.

GF&P is asking its commission to consider approving increasing the 2,000 3-day temporary nonresident licensees to 2,100 and increase the 3,750 two 5-day nonresident licenses to 3,950. State statute allows the GF&P Commission to increase the same type of license number by no more than 5 percent annually.

In its proposal, GF&P acknowledged there is a contentious issue to increase nonresident waterfowl licensing in the state. South Dakota is the lone state that forces nonresidents to apply for a licenses, whereas other states allow nonresidents to purchase licenses over the counter. GF&P justifies its ask to increase the licenses by saying there has been a large decrease in resident waterfowl hunting participation in the past 17 years.

South Dakota Wildlife Federation , which claims to be the lone conservation organization actively involved in developing legislative policy impacting outdoor sporting activities, in a statement on Wednesday asked the GF&P Commission to pause the proposals to gather more data.


The group says giving more access to nonresidents will hurt the local population of waterfowl hunters. South Dakota Wildlife Federation says the number of non-resident licenses is at an all-time high and is opposed to adding more.

“Providing the waterfowl hunting experience to people that live and work in South Dakota is not only a generational experience it is one that should be protected,” Executive Director of the SDWF, Megan Howell said in the statement. “South Dakota is one of the premier waterfowl hunting states in North America and the SDWF would like to work with the Commission to make sure there is access and opportunity for resident hunters to continue this hunting tradition.”

Luke Hagen was promoted to editor of the Mitchell Republic in 2014. He has worked for the newspaper since 2008 and has covered sports, outdoors, education, features and breaking news. He can be reached at lhagen@mitchellrepublic.com.
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