Wildlife officials scale back nest-raider bounty program


PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota wildlife officials have decided to scale back Gov. Kristi Noem’s program that pays bounties for predators that raid migratory birds’ nests.

KELO-TV reports that the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission voted 6-2 on Friday to extend the program for a second year. But the commission reduced the spending cap from $500,000 to $250,000. It also reduced the size of the bounty from $10 per tail from a raccoon, striped skunk, opossum, red fox or badger to $5 per tail. Bounties will now be paid regardless of whether the predator is shot or trapped; last year bounties applied only if a predator was trapped.

The program starts April 1 and runs through July 1. Only South Dakota residents can participate.

Chairman Gary Jensen and Mary Anne Boyd were the only two commissioners who voted against continuing the program. Jensen said science doesn’t support the program and it’s designed to help trappers, whom he says are doing well anyway.