I received an interesting email this week from South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks. It was a news release entitled, GFP Reminds Hunters to Register for Winter Depredation Hunts, and it started like this:
As winter approaches, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) reminds resident hunters of unique opportunities that could exist later this winter.
GFP’s Wildlife Damage Management Program assists landowners with wildlife depredation abatement programs and services. When other methods are ineffective, GFP may utilize hunters to help reduce damage caused by wildlife.
The release then goes into more detail about how the department allows hunters to address depredation issues from deer, elk, antelope, and turkey. The concept is simple, Joe Hunter registers with the department for these special hunt opportunities. Then, when Lenny The Landowner has problems with wildlife damage on his property, he contacts GFP. If they decide that it is appropriate to remove the critters causing the damage, they draw from the list of registered hunters and give Joe a call.
Joe then goes to Lenny’s property and assists in taking the wildlife that are causing the damage.
What is unique is the fact that hunters are being used for wildlife management rather than bringing in “sharpshooters” on the government payroll to address the issues. Lenny is happy, GFP is happy, and Joe is most certainly happy. That is definitely unique!
In all-too-many locations around the country, and national parks are on the top of my list, the taxpayer is saddled with the cost of handling these kinds of problems while hunters are banned from the landscape. Leaving hunters out of the wildlife management equation is a ludicrous concept, in particular in an age when state and federal agencies are constantly screaming about not having big enough budgets to address all of their functions.
My hat goes off to South Dakota GFP! This most certainly should be a practice that is common and not unique.
That’s the view from here…