Fewer South Dakotans fishing, prompting worries of state revenue loss

November 22, 2022

Fewer South Dakotans are fishing, and that could spell trouble for the state Game, Fish and Parks (GF&P) department.

A majority of the department’s Division of Wildlife revenue funding comes from the sales of hunting and fishing licenses. GF&P relies on that money to conserve the state’s wildlife and outdoor recreation.

Over 10,800 fewer resident fishing and combination hunting-fishing licenses were sold through October of 2022, compared to the three-year average. That’s a decrease of $270,167 in revenue.

The GF&P hasn’t seen a nosedive in revenues, but resident fishing license sales point to potentially troubling long-term trends as South Dakota’s angling population ages. GF&P is working to find the reason behind younger generations’ lack of interest in sportsman activities and how to get them back outside.