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Hunting South Dakota

Should South Dakota Allow Muskrat Hunting?

by Dylan Polk   |  February 8th, 2012 1

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

If you ask any South Dakota farmer, they’ll tell you how destructive muskrats can be. Nasty little pests, they’ll say, no better than any diseased rodent you might find scurrying around.

For that very reason, South Dakota lawmakers have introduced legislation that would allow muskrat hunting. According to the Aberdeen News, Rep. Dennis Feickert, D-Aberdeen, sponsored House Bill 1117, which would allow state residents to shoot muskrats.

Supporters say the bill would not only alleviate the pest situation on farms and roads, but of course, there is some opposition, though it’s not coming from some animal rights group weeping bitter tears for the noble muskrat.

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department claims the muskrat problem is a temporary vexation caused by excessive flooding; in time, the muskrat population should naturally drop. At any rate, the GFP already issues special kill permits for problem muskrats, so the bill itself is redundant.

Another unlikely criticism comes from the South Dakota Trappers Association, which says while pelts are in high demand, they aren’t valuable if the animal has been shot.

If the bill is passed, it will mean open season for the muskrat, and if it doesn’t, South Dakota farmers and the like can hope the population drops enough to where the muskrat (or marsh rabbit as it’s often described when discussed as tablefare)  is no longer a nuisance meriting legislation.

  • Holum

    As a South Dakota resident and a avid hunter and trapper, I have to say that I wish more people, especially young people, would start learning to trap. Musk rats are a great way for a kid to start out because they are really easy to catch and no better way to keep their interest and enthusiasm up than by having a musk rat or 5 in their traps when they check them. Another bonus to trapping is that you can sell them to the local fur buyer for cash. I'm not saying you are going to come out even on the deal, but having a check in hand every week to help pay for gas and equipment is a sweet deal if you ask me. I doubt fur buyers will buy muskrats with big holes in them.

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