- Associated Press - Monday, January 4, 2016

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks is hoping to get a better idea of just how much hunters, anglers, park visitors and wildlife viewers spend in the state.

The department is paying the economic analysis company Southwick Associates $40,000 to study the economic impact of outdoors activities managed by the state, saying a federal study that’s been relied upon for years might not be accurate.

“The sample size is really small,” agency Administrative Chief Scott Simpson told the Capital Journal (https://bit.ly/1PFR4Jh ). “They’re projecting big numbers from a small sample.”

The national survey is conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service every five years, and the last study was released in 2011. It estimated that in South Dakota, 662,000 people spent $967 million on outdoors-related activities.

The state study will include the impact those activities have on jobs, wages and business profits. It will help the department determine how best to allocate resources by giving officials a better picture of where most people are spending the most money, according to Game, Fish and Parks Secretary Kelly Hepler.

“We don’t have that level of detail right now,” he said.

Study results are expected by midsummer.

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Information from: Pierre Capital Journal, https://www.capjournal.com

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