Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee passes habitat stamp

PIERRE, S.D. (KJJQ) – A wildlife habitat stamp proposal unanimously passed in the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

The bill is sponsored by Brookings State Senator VJ Smith. He says all of South Dakota’s bordering states have a wildlife habitat stamp.

His proposal calls for electronic stamps that would be $10 for residents and $25 for non-residents. It would raise about $6 million a year to be used for public game production areas and to repair small dams.

The measure was supported by a number of conservation and sportsman’s groups. Zach Hunke (Hunk-ee) of Watertown is president of the South Dakota Wildlife Federation. He says 2019 marked the lowest participation in pheasant hunting since 1938.

The lone opposition came from Angela Ahlers of the South Dakota Association of Conservation Districts. She says this needs to be a part of a larger conversation that includes the 21,000 non-resident landowners in South Dakota who currently have to pay non-resident hunting and fishing fees.

The measure now moves to the full senate.