Merty, I'm not sure what grounds they would have based upon the contract/agreement they currently have with the state. The state could yank the tag from WSF for pretty much any reason and do with it as they wish. Our new Governor has all kinds of crazy ideas for putting more pheasants in the field and she is hell bent on making them all happen. The latest is a "nest predator bounty program" which gives folks $10 for the tails of each dead possum, raccoon, skunk, and fox they turn in. As a result I haven't seen a road kill in 3 months that still has a tail on it! That's the nonsense and the waste of sportsmen's funds here we're dealing with. If you want to see $400k in sheep money walk out the door to pay for possum tails then she's the one for you!
Justin, I'm in full agreement with your concern with this, but I'll admit I'm confused by the statement above. Why would the sportsmen not have a chance to hunt pheasant? It's mostly irrelevant- sheep funds should be used for the sheep, but I'm curious what you mean with this.
Not trying to be a troublemaker here- just looking for clarification.
Eliminating predators won't have any tangible effect if they don't increase the nesting ground. The answer to the pheasant problem is making the money paid for CRP ground higher than marginal crop land.
JayZ is right! One thing that has impacted that a ton is the minimal till farming practices that are used now. They really devalue the tree rows and shelter belts that help with wind erosion. Since their purpose isn't valued much anymore due to this change in practice, they're getting yanked out.
"Commissioners, I strongly oppose the use of ANY funds raised via the sale of an auction tag for bighorn sheep being utilized for ANY program that does not directly benefit wild sheep in South Dakota. The bighorn auction tag was specifically authorized to be utilized by the Midwest Chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation to raise funds for wild sheep research and conservation in South Dakota. The funds raised by the sale of this tag should be solely dedicated to that purpose. Funds for the second century habitat initiative can be raised through habitat stamp programs, increases in small game hunting licenses for non-residents, and via conservation organizations which are strictly dedicated to that purpose. Thank you for your consideration."
Not sure that a Non-Ressy commenting will carry much value but it's worth the few minutes to comment/submit
Good luck, Robb
Its amazing how freaking short sighted they can be
On behalf of the GFP Commission, I am writing to thank you for your message on the subject of the Bighorn Sheep (BHS) Auction Tag.
While the unit expansion for the next BHS draw is expected to generate tremendous interest in the auction and generate more funds for habitat throughout the state, we will be maintaining an amount equal to the average income of previous sales that will go to BHS habitat work exclusively.
I feel it is also important to point out that, in addition to the funds resulting from the annual auction, the Department funds other habitat work benefitting BHS. To be certain of the accuracy of my response, I requested the following information from the Department.
Over the past few years, GFP has expended over $200,000 a year for bighorn sheep management activities. Those activities include habitat projects, researching herds and disease issues, monitoring and surveying herds, and cooperatively working with partners like Pine Ridge and the state of Wyoming.
Funds used to conduct these activities are a combination of license dollars, federal aid dollars in the form of Pitman-Robertson funds, bighorn sheep auction funds, and partnership funds provided to specific projects from entities such as the Midwest Chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation.
The Midwest Chapter has been a great partner in bighorn sheep conservation as well as other efforts put forward for Mountain Goats. We appreciate their long-term commitment to SD and we look forward to continuing that successful partnership.
The plan moving forward would be to commit $85,000 of the funds raised by the auction tag to bighorn sheep management activities, and the remainder going to help with the Second Century Habitat efforts.
It is important to understand that in administrative rule the language around the auction tag talks about big game management, not specifically just to bighorn sheep management. Funds raised by the auction tag and used to help supplement efforts of the Second Century Habitat work will no doubt benefit big game populations in the state, in particular deer.
GFP remains committed to working on bighorn sheep management activities in an effort to maintain bighorn sheep herds and provide this limited, but unique hunting opportunity.
Thank you again for your input. Each commissioner reads appreciates all public comments.
Mary Anne Boyd Yankton
1. The tag sold for $89k in 2019. It has sold for over $100k in the past, the amount has varied some over the years.
2. There is a $10 application fee and a $10 preference point fee on each application for bighorn sheep each year in SD. The number of people that apply or buy points probably puts that number for funding around $60k give or take. The additional funding from P-R funds and the WSF fills in the gaps. Funding for wild sheep is likely being 100% financed BY wild sheep.
3. The habitat initiatives are, as referenced above, focused on upland game habitat on private lands at this point along with a bounty program for nest predators. While those habitat improvements would likely benefit deer on private lands, the average hunter would likely not have access to pursue hunting on those lands. I could lend a little support to this if the funds raised by the sale of a public resource were used to benefit lands accessible to the public.
4. This is being driven by the Governor's office and is going to pass regardless of public input. I recognize that as a fact at this point but I will go kicking and screaming to the end!
Thanks again for all of your time and input. Please keep sending them!
The auction tag will be expanded to the Badlands unit for next season. The tag will be auctioned off with $85k of the proceeds going to wild sheep programs. The remaining funds will be split 50-50 between improvement on SD owned "Game Production Areas" (public hunting areas of which we currently maintain 281k acres of GPA's in SD), and habitat initiatives through the Second Century Habitat Fund (which currently funds nest predator bounties and private land habitat initiatives). Public outcry spurred some excellent conversation on this. The WSF chose to appear at the commission meeting and testified in support of the proposal awarding the funds in excess of the $85k to the habitat initiatives NOT related to wild sheep. Once the audio is available online I will try to link it here. Thank you to everyone who commented. We didn't win but at least we kicked a field goal so we weren't shut out.
Although I would prefer to see all of the money going to sheep, hopefully there will be some expansion of public hunting programs and additional predator control in South Dakota that will be successful.