When hunting licenses become like liquor licenses - a commodity transferrable for profit.

Bill Harlan over at the Rapid City Journal has a story this morning on the approval of a measure in the legislature which would provide big game licenses to landowners which they could transfer on a for-profit basis:
Landowners in South Dakota with at least 640 acres could “sponsor” their own big-game hunting licenses under a bill approved Tuesday in Pierre by a legislative committee. “It is long overdue that we acknowledge that landowners are an integral part of” the wildlife management system, Rep. Gordon Howie, R-Rapid City, told fellow members of the House Agriculture Committee. “This is just a small, small gesture that we need to extend to those landowners.”

The committee voted 9-4 to send the bill to the House floor with a “do pass” recommendation.

But Rep. Dale Hargens, D-Miller, who voted against the measure, said, “I see a problem with this.”

Hargens estimated that 26 landowners in his township in Hand County would qualify for the license. “We have 48 townships in my county,” Hargens said. “That’s 1,248 individuals.”

Multiply that by 66 counties, Hargens said, and thousands of landowners might qualify for the licenses. “I’m not ready to go down that road yet,” he said.

State Rep. Kent Juhnke, R-Vivian, introduced HB1177, which would establish a “transferable” hunting license that a landowner could pass on to a hunter. The license would be good only on the landowner’s property.

and..

Hansen said wildlife in South Dakota had been managed as a “public trust” since 1909. “This bill represents a serious breach in the foundation of this wildlife management system,” he said. “Once this breach happens, we believe a certain amount of erosion will begin.”

Hansen said privately controlled licenses could be bartered, marketed and even posted on eBay.

Ranchers, however, liked the idea, including Rep. Betty Olson, R-Prairie City, who is not on the agriculture committee but co-sponsored the bill. She said ranchers, especially in western South Dakota, “have been feeling a tad unappreciated.”
Read it all here. This is a tough one for me, as I think we respect the rights of the landowner far too little in some instances. But I don't know if it adequately makes the case for the state to provide them a commodity that they can sell to the highest bidder.

As opposed to a lottery system where everyone will have an equal chance, we'll have a system where people are guaranteed an extra license. It's a similar situation to what we face in the recent liquor license legislation. If a landowner is guaranteed a license they can transfer, they may just sit on it until someone comes along who will meet their price.

And I think you can be guaranteed that you will see them on eBay.

With this legislation, have we reached the point where for-profit big game hunting becomes the norm, as opposed to the exception in South Dakota?

It may have been inevitable. But I suppose I'm longing for simpler days that have long passed us by for the economic realities of today.

Comments

KG said…
Mmmm. Since Hand County and Miller is a popular destination for hunting -- including several private hunting lodges -- it'll be interesting to see how Hargens constituents view his reluctance to "go down that road"
Anonymous said…
For once Hargens is right, this is a bad idea. I hope if this passes Governor Rounds will have the foresight to kill it.
Anonymous said…
I bet the lock out would end for Betty and the others if they could sell those tags for let's say, $3000, to a gentleman from Florida with money to burn. Hell, if they market it right and have good animals, they might get $5000.
Betty Olson said…
Anon 9:41,

This might surprise you, but I have never bought a big-game license in my life and I don't intend to buy this one if it passes.

I signed on to this bill because some of the landowners in my area have out-of-state family members who are unable to get a license to hunt on their family ranch and I thought this would be one very small way of compensating landowners for the tremendous expense they incur raising the public's wildlife, entirely without compensation from the public I might add.

No, my ranch wouldn't come out of the lockout if you gave me every big game license in the state. The lockout started over a property rights issue and it will end when those conserns have been addressed.

This issue has certainly shown landowners the contempt several hunting groups hold for us, and for that we thank you guys. Don't think that attitude won't come up when you are asking to hunt on private land that is still open to hunters.

Thanks for making it really plain where we stand with you.
Anonymous said…
Betty, no compensation from the public? What do you call drought aid, CRP, low interest loans or federal subsidies? Give us a break.

The contempt for you comes from your inability to compromise.
Anonymous said…
I recently came back to SD because of the hunting and fishing and was in for a rude awakening...It has gotten to the point were there is no respect between the landowners and the sportsmen....if they allow this to pass I will leave the state......and if the sportsmen don't start respecting the landowners......the only thing that will continue to happen is people pissing on other people and telling each other to go to hell....there has to be a compromise but I dont see opening "for profit" tags to anyone who can afford it the answer.
feasant said…
This is an interesting opportunity. I brought this up to Larry Rhoden, who is one of the be top people in Pierre, we disagree on this topic. He thinks we should issue tags to landowners and I do not, at least that was his position in 04.

I own land, charge hunters to hunt. And I let quite a few locals hunt it later in the season.

How about this for a compromise? Sell the landowner so many tags based on their acres, and extend the season for people with "normal" tags. That way if the rancher/farmer really wanted to let "local" people hunt, it would not conflict with the "fee" hunter.

I would like to see hunters, land owners, and hunting organizations comment on this.
Anonymous said…
Betty, tell your neighbors its called a special buck tag and they can apply for that.

PS-It's not your wildlife.
Anonymous said…
Wildlife means free to roam...if you are all so worried about who gets to hunt on your land....then the people in Rapid should be able to sell a buck tag out the back door....why should it be limited to 640 acres.....maybe I have 500 acres of prime land next to BLM land.....I kinda like that....$5000 to let some one shoot an animal and not leave the front porch to kill a deer.
A compromise would be that 1 person could get one tag per season and they could do what they wanted with it....but if they sold it to the highest bidder or an out of state hunter then they would not be able to apply for any other tag...basiclly selling your privlege to hunt in SD....or you could just sell your soul why you were at it.
veritas said…
I'd just like to see the state place a cap on how much land owners can charge for the license.
BBDem said…
It’s unfortunate that hunting has become not a privilege to be enjoyed by everyone but a commodity to be bought and sold. Even with the availability of public hunting land, this boils down to who has the most money to throw around, meaning the proverbial little guy is getting squeezed out.
Anonymous said…
veritas

I couldn't agree with you more, but it would be impossible to impose a cap. Wealthy out of state hunters would spend whatever they needed to and I bet there aren't a lot of land owners who wouldn't be happy to accept any overage under the table.
Anonymous said…
OK $1000 for the tag....$10,000 to spend the night on the ranch......not to hard to get around.
Anonymous said…
There is no way that anyone other than the state should be able to sell a license, our wildlife is held in "trust" and should be equally enjoyed by everyone.
The landowners can stop, sell or do what they want to with access, but have no right or reason to sell or trade a license, and Betty I am sure all of your neighbors just want a "sponsored" tag for some poor relative that lives out of state.
This transfer idea is nothing new and has been vehemently faught against by sportsmen/women and many many other landowners across the state.
Remember the lockout is just a handfull of "squaking" landowners whose protest really has not amounted to anything.
betty olson said…
How about this - we give everyone in the state, of legal age, a big game tag and allow them to hunt on public land or anywhere on private land that will grant them permission to hunt?

If they do not fill that tag or don't want to, they can give it - not sell it - to anyone else, in state or out of state, who wants it. If they do not use the tag or give it away, they lose the chance to get another free tag for the next two years.

Would this satisfy you? If so, I'm all for it.
Anonymous said…
Betty, is we go with your idea, who is going to make sure that money isn't exchanged?
Anonymous said…
Betty here are a couple of changes you can make, make sure each landowner has a state sales tax license so they pay their fair share of sales tax on a commodity sold, or how about they cant sell, trade or barter any big game tag for more than the face value, which is 50% cheaper then any other resident can get a tag for, $17.50 is a landowners tag....half the price of a regular license...
betty Olson said…
Aw heck, if they want to sell their free license and can find someone who will pay them for it, let them sell it. Why shouldn't the public have the right to profit from the sale of what belongs to them in the first place?

How about it? Shall I write this legislation up for consideration next year?
Anonymous said…
Betty if they don't use there tag....what happens when they would but they cant get on any land to use the tag....or is it one tag for the entire state???
no disrespect but I am sorry but that is a crazy idea
Anonymous said…
awwww heck Betty...who cares if there are a couple of does poached anyways?
betty olson said…
Pay attention now - the holder of the free big game tag can hunt anywhere he wants on public land, after all, it also belongs to him. He can also hunt on any private land where he can obtain permission and on all the walk-in areas he is paying for.

What could be wrong with this? Do you have something against letting Joe Six Pack and his kids hunt for free when the game belongs to him just as much as it belongs to the rich sportsmen and the landowners?
Anonymous said…
None of my fine sportsmen friends would take a free deer tag, because we realize that it takes license sales money to run the dept of GF&P and to pay for your depredation and my walk in areas, of which I am happy to do that for. Because there are great landowners in this state that appreciate those types of incentives, show of appreciation. Unlike some of the landownersinvolved in the lockout. Who I hear take some stack yard money, or other incentives given to them and paid for by sportmen
Anonymous said…
my point was ....each county currently has a limited number of tags......if you open it up state wide..areas with walk small walk in areas such as Sioux Falls will have 1000 hunters per walk in area...and the hunter in Wall will have 1 per walk in area......each area of the state is populated differently then the other....so with this state wide idea.....why should all of sioux falls travel to Timber Lake where ever......this would cause a huge flux in locolized deer populations and lead to disease and starvation...after a few hours of shooting the deer know where hunters can and cant go....this would drive all the deer to private land....plus you are saying the first year this goes into effect you are willing to hand out 300,000 tags?....one for each adult...or in SD I belive it is 12 years old to be a legal hunter....so the would mean maybe 600,000 could apply...if eveyone killed that would wipe out the deer population, and according to you if they didn't sell the tag or use it they would lose the right for two years....please come on with this idea
Anonymous said…
All I know is...

If I were a landowner, and some fish cop thought he had a right to come on my land without my permission, I'd be locking everyone out too.

So right on, Betty. Contrary to popular opinion, you don't have to be a west-river landowner to appreciate what "private property" really means.
sportsmanslife.com said…
Landowners deserve compensation when the state's wildlife eat hay, destroy fences, etc.

This bill provides the potential for additional compensation if a landowner choose to sell the license. This system worries me because it could endanger our nation's hunting heritage. Since the nation's founding, hunting has meant so much more than sport. If we continue to move toward making hunting even more of an activity accessible only to those who can afford it as a privilege, we lose something much bigger than the ability to find a place to hunt.

If we could tie these sponsored licenses to additional public access for landoweners who take part in the program, it would achieve multiple positive outcomes for landowners and sportsmen.

I fear the day when a father and son can not share time afield because dad doesn't make enough money.
Anonymous said…
Keep on all you good sportsman...there will be more lockouts and more private hunting preserves. We tired of the "shooters" that call themselves "hunters" with their $1500. gun and $700. Cabela,hunting gear. $42,000. vehicle, along with all liter left in fields and ditches.
Anonymous said…
Anon 8:31

Please don't lump all sportsmen into this ugly category. Although some may act as you describe, there are many hunters who are respectful and honorable in their actions. Unfortunately, it's the "pseudo-sportsman" types you describe who ruin it for the rest of them. I don't hunt, but many in my family do and we are all very respectful of landowners, wildlife and hunting laws.
Anonymous said…
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Betty Olson! We have needed you and your ideas for the past many many years. Don't let those that are so negative "burn you out" They never seem to quit whinning.
Anonymous said…
Betty..keep up the good work...just by typing that I have already made half the people who call themselves sportsmen judge me without knowing any thing else about me...I am on the rural roads everyday of hunting season and when I see gfp or sdwf make statements as to only a small per cent of hunters break the law I can do nothing but chuckle. The most law abideng are the people who hunt on private land and the ones who hunt mostly public land or road ditches are the worst law breakers. And I mean over 90 percent. They have nothing invested in the hunt. If they are on private land they at least worry about if they screw up they can't come back. I know some hunters if you(betty) proposed a bill for free beer they would be against it.
Anonymous said…
Anon 11:29:

Where do you get your data? I'm particularly curious abuot the 90 percent stat you threw out. Are you employed by the GF&P?
Anonymous said…
WOW the vote on the House Floor kind of says it all....

Popular posts from this blog

That didn't take long

Breaking News: After the television commercial salvo fired at them, Vote Yes For Life Fires back.