South Dakota hunting licenses sales drop by 26,000

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — Officials say South Dakota has sold nearly 26,000 fewer hunting licenses this year, which has cost the state more than $1 million in lost revenue.

State Department of Game, Fish and Parks official Heather Villa told the Rapid City Journal that the long winter, flooding and a decline in the pheasant population could be to blame. However, she acknowledged that the drop in license sales could also be a continuation of a decades-long decline in hunting, trapping and fishing.

The department generally gets about half its budget from license revenue, and it adopted a resolution last month to examine the recruitment, retention and reactivation of hunters, anglers and trappers.

Gov. Kristi Noem has created a live-trap giveaway and set a bounty on certain predators to encourage hunting.