Raccoons are the animal targeted most under the South Dakota Nest Predator Bounty Program, which uses payments to encourage adults and children to trap and kill animals that prey on eggs and hatchlings of pheasants and ducks.

A state-sanctioned pheasant protection program that pays South Dakota youths and adults $10 for every raccoon, skunk and other predator they trap has led to the killing of more than 134,000 animals in the past three years with no scientific evidence the program is working.

Known as the Nest Predator Bounty Program, the effort to boost pheasant and duck populations by paying trappers to kill animals that eat the eggs and hatchlings of pheasants and ducks began in 2019 and recently completed its third year of operation. The program that takes place for a few months during the spring pheasant nesting season has been approved for another year in 2022.

Little common ground can be found in assessing the merits or methods of the program, which has been described as both a wildlife-management success and an inhumane, senseless killing of wild animals



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