February 1, 2018

South Dakota: Caucus Leadership Introduces Pro-Sportsmen Legislation

On January 24, the co-chairs of the South Dakota Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus introduced two pieces of pro-sportsmen and women legislation.

Senate Bill 137, introduced by Caucus Co-Chairs Senator Jason Frerichs, Senator Gary Cammack, and Representative Herman Otten, would expand South Dakota’s mentored hunting program by removing the minimum age requirement to participate. Currently, youth ages 10 to 15 can hunt without purchasing a hunting license if they are with a mentor hunter. Mentors must be at least 18, have parental or guardian permission, be a resident of South Dakota, be unarmed, possess a valid hunting license for the pursued game, and have completed a hunter’s safety course. Recruiting new hunters is essential to maintaining our outdoor heritage. Removing the minimum age requirement will expand the opportunities for youth in South Dakota to enjoy spending time in the woods and fields with family and friends.

House Bill 1156, introduced by Caucus Co-Chairs Representative Herman Otten, Representative Spencer Hawley, and Senator Jason Frerichs, would require voter registration information when purchasing hunting, fishing, or trapping licenses or permits. Voter registration applications would be displayed and made available to the public at purchase locations, and license agents would be required to ask persons purchasing a license or permit if they would like a voter registration application. If a license or permit is purchased online, a link to the South Dakota Secretary of State’s online statewide voter registration application would be provided. House Bill 1156, and similar efforts across the nation, would help ensure the voices of sportsmen and women are represented in policy decisions.

Home to more than 450,000 hunters and anglers who spend over $1.04 billion a year on their outdoor pursuits, bills like these are vitally important to protect and advance the Mount Rushmore State’s outdoor heritage. 

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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