Unless I get a call to go coyote hunting with a buddy or my brother, I usually don't by my small game license every year until it gets closer to fall and I'm going to be out chasing squirrels and pheasants. This year if I want to save a little money, for the last time, I'll need to buy it in the next week.

The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks sent out an email Tuesday letting hunters and anglers know that their small game license will now include an additional fee once new laws take effect on July 1, 2020. The Habitat Stamp will be included on all small game license purchases and will cost an additional $10 for residents and $25 for non-residents.

The Habitat Stamp, which isn't actually a stamp but merely a fee added onto your hunting license, was created by Senate Bill 75 in the last legislative session and states that the money can only be used for "enhancing terrestrial habitat on public lands, providing additional public access to private lands and aquatic habitat enhancements on public waters."

Providing public access to private lands comes in the form of leasing access from landowners for walk-in areas. But the term "enhancing habitat" is vague and not defined. I am sure there are those that will take great offense to be charged another $10 for their license. But how those funds will enhance habitat is a question I have and have some with concern. If it is used to build shelterbelts and feed plots for the primary game animals of the state, in ways that make sense, I really don't have a problem with it. If it gets used for silly things that don't help the majority of hunters or anglers.

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