The Nov. 9, 2019 issue of the Black Hills Pioneer ran a short news item on Page 5 headlined by “South Dakota hunting license sales drop by 26,000”. The story then goes on to state that the drop in license sales equates to more than $1 million in lost revenue for the State Department of Game, Fish and Parks. Then several possible reasons for this loss are stated by Department official Heather Villa such as the long winter, flooding and decline in the pheasant population. She also states that this could also just be a continuation of a decades-long decline in hunting, trapping and fishing.
I am not writing to refute any of that. I’m sure the professional game biologists know what they are doing. But one of the biggest reasons for the decline in deer hunting licenses sold is never mentioned. I was an avid deer hunter for years. But then, the SDGF&P decided they had to put the sale of resident deer hunting licenses on a lottery basis. I suspect one of the reasons being to preserve enough of the very expensive out-of-state licenses for the folks who don’t even live here.
Over the past decade this lottery system has all but killed traditional family and other group hunts because no one can predict if they will draw a license or not. In my case, I have given up. Hunting out of an old cabin built back in the 1930s with my three sons and friends is now only a wonderful, by-gone memory. For my sons and I, it was our annual time together. I just wish my grandchildren could have had the same opportunity to hunt with their family, friends and maybe even their grandfather.
For those against deer hunting, please realize that the deer population of any state is an annual crop. And, like any other crop, if it is not properly harvested it will go to waste. Those who have seen what is called a “deer-yard” in mid-winter know what I am talking about. If you don’t, look it up! It’s a pitiful sight.
Nature has a cruel way of “thinning the herd”!
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