WATERTOWN, S.D. — Hunting and fishing license purchases in South Dakota are down by 8% as of Nov. 3 compared to 2018.
The declining license sales will result in a $1.15 million decline in revenue for the state, according to Heather Villa, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks wildlife administration chief.
Villa told members of the Game, Fish and Parks board about the declining license sales during a meeting in Watertown on Friday, Oct. 8.
This year's long, severe winter and flooding likely contributed to the drop in fishing and small game hunting licenses, Villa said.
Fishing licenses are down 13,000 compared to 2018, she said.
Rocco Murano, state Game, Fish and Parks senior wildlife biologist, said the state's management of the Canadian geese population will be tougher to manage due to an "alarming decrease in Canadian goose and waterfowl hunting."
The state's Canadian geese population in the state reached a high of 188,293 this year, Murano said.
The average bag of seven geese has remained relatively high since 2009, but early fall harvest of geese has seen a high reduction.Waterfowl hunter participation has declined an average of 3% per year since 2009, he said.
"As you lose that many hunters it's hard to maintain that harvest," Murano said.
Less than 3,000 hunters participated in the last Canadian goose season, which Murano said is going to greatly impact the state's ability to manage populations.
"And frankly, with the water situation we have I don't see how we can," Murano said.