This spring and summer, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks will be trying to get more people into the sport of trapping, and there will be financial incentive to do so.
Monday GF&P started the Nest Predator Bounty Program, a program that runs through Aug. 31 and will pay $10 per tail for those bringing in raccoons, striped skunks, badgers, opossums and red foxes that have been trapped.
The program will end early if the amount awarded hits $500,000. There is also a $590 cap per individual household.
GF&P regional terrestrial resources supervisor Trenton Haffley said there are a few goals of the program, one of those is to help revitalize a outdoors activity that used to be very prominent in South Dakota, the sport of trapping.
"As part of the department's strategic plan,we identified trapping as activity we could reinvigorate or get new participants," he said. "It encourages people to get out and trap during a time where there are animals available and there is no fur incentive."
Haffley said while there won't be many opossums in the western side of the state, the other four population groups are healthy enough that the program could be a success.
Originally it was only supposed to be a program rolled out to the eastern side of the state, but eventually GF&P decided it would be worth it to make the program available state-wide.
It started specifically as plan to held protect the nesting habitats of grassland nesting birds and waterfowl. In order to get more people interested in trapping state-wide, the program was opened up.
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Haffley said there isn't research as to why the trapping tradition in South Dakota has fallen off, but mentioned that the sport requires a set of particular skills that aren't easy to learn.
Still, he said if the program can get the next generation out outdoors enthusiasts interested in trapping, it can help ensure that the tradition survives and starts to thrive in South Dakota.
"It’s a pretty specialized skill set, it’s a long learning curve," he said. "It takes going out with someone with a lot of experience or dedication to go out and try it every single day. There's a lot of error and time between success."
Haffley said in the development plan that was established in 2016, trapping was a key component.
With the plan set to expire in 2020, he said GF&P decided to take action on building on the trapping history in South Dakota.
"We want to recruit, retain and reinvigorate," he said. "That was one thing we identified in 2016, now here we are in 2019, and we thought we let that fall by the wayside."
GF&P will evaluate how successful the program is at the end by using hard numbers and a qualitative survey about the experience participants had with the program. Haffley also said it will look at not only the number of participants, but how widely spread they are across the state.
Tails can be taken to the Outdoor Campus West in Rapid City, located at 4130 Adventure Trail.