Gov. Daugaard Holds Pheasant Habitat Summit
by Rachel Skytta, Reporter
December 06, 2013 4:32 PM
Pheasant hunting is a staple in South Dakota’s economy, and brings in more than $200 million every year.
With bird numbers down this past season, Gov. Daugaard is calling land owners , farmers, and hunters together to try to improve pheasant habitat in the state.
“This is an issue obviously that everybody in the state is interested in,” said Sen. John Thune.
An issue that could have a multimillion dollar impact on South Dakota’s economy.
“There was some concern expressed over the past several months particularly since the announcement of the brood count, and that pheasant numbers were lower this year,” said Gov. Daugaard.
That concern is what led Gov. Daugaard to hold the 2013 Pheasant Habitat Summit in Huron. The Governor says habitat is the long term and main factor in pheasant numbers across South Dakota.
“Lots of different ideas are coming out today, and that’s the whole point of getting together today,” said Gov. Daugaard.
Ideas that will hopefully help to improve the overall number of birds in the state.
Although the Pheasant Habitat Summit is a one-time event, Gov. Daugaard says the goal is to have it lead to an ongoing effort.
Gov. Daugaard says the effort needs to be focused on preserving pheasant habitat, while still supporting agriculture production. Something he and Sen. Thune believe will be easier with the help of the Farm Bill.
“In the Farm Bill, there’s a conservation title which has a number of programs that are designed not only to promote conservation values and beliefs, but also promote wildlife production,” said Sen. Thune.
While the Farm Bill is still being debated in Washington D.C., Gov. Daugaard is confident it will pass.
“Probably the most significant impact is the conservation part of the bill,” said Gov. Daugaard.
But it’s going to take more than that to improve the pheasant habitat.
“We want to preserve the quality of life aspect in pheasant hunting just as we continue to support
agriculture,” said Gov. Daugaard.
“I’ve been pheasant hunting since I was 12-years-old I’d say for the better part of 40 years now,” said Sen. Thune.
After 40 years, Sen. Thune says the key to preserving pheasant habitat in South Dakota is consistency in policy.