Locals raise concerns over Nesting Predator Bounty Program

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - In an attempt to help the pheasant population Governor Kristi Noem created the Second Century Initiative. People across South Dakota can take part through the Nest Predator Bounty Program to trap predators such as stripped skunks, raccoons, and red foxes, but not everyone thinks this is a good idea.

A state initiative to trap predators such as skunks, red foxes and raccoons runs into opposition. (MGN image)

Game Fish and Parks provided lessons and free traps for people to take part in the Nest Predator Bounty Program. Families can trap opossums, stripped skunks, red foxes and raccoons, among other small predators, and turn in the tail for a ten dollar bounty. Something Jamie Al-Haj, doesn't agree with.

"I believe it was an ill conceived program and I would hope that there's other people in this state that will voice their objection and that there is some changes that will be made," she says.

The program went into effect April 1st and people have turned in more than 11,000 tails across the state so far. Al-Haj expressed concern that public input was not taken into account, and with the way this program is designed to get children to participate.

"I have difficulty with what we are teaching our children and I think it may have consequences that may not be positive for our society," says Al-Haj.

Amber Stout, a teacher in Pierre has three sons between the ages of three and nine who are participating in the program. She says that she teaches her children correct techniques on trapping and they all learn as much as they can about the animals. When it comes to how trapping and killing an animal can affect a child she has this to say.

"I feel like if your kids grew up around it and they've seen it and they've seen the parents with the correct practices then hopefully it wouldn't be an issue. We teach them from an early age I guess, how to take care of it," says Stout.

Overall though Stout says that families living on farms with their own fowl to protect would contribute to trapping these predators regardless.

"I mean trapping is something we always do regardless of the program or not so I don't see it as a problem," she says

This program continues through August 31 or until Game Fish and Parks reaches the $500,000 cap they've set.