posted on February 23, 2014 20:49
South Dakota is a place that has changed significantly over the past 150 years since the first horse-drawn plow worked the land.
Since then the native grasslands have been converted into fertile croplands that can produce vast quantities of corn and sustain many farm animals like cattle and sheep. In the last century and half, the population has also seen a boom, going from just a few thousand to more than 833,000.
The change in landscape, which has resulted in the loss of long standing tree belts and the recent decline in CRP fields, has meant that wild animals have to suffer the harsh climate of the area, with little permanent vegetative cover.
This is well known to be a major contributor to the estimated 60% drop in the number of pheasant numbers. In response to this Governor Daugaard called a summit in early December. Attending this event was Sen. John Thune.
He was impressed with many of those who spoke and how they were working together to preserve the South Dakota pheasant legacy. Sen. Thune is an avid hunter himself and he believes that those living in South Dakota will be able to rise to the challenge and re-establish the pheasant populations to the level they once were.
He noted that there have been several bills passed recently, that are set to help the local growth of natural protection, from the harsh weather conditions. Parts of those federal conservation programs have included tree planting and establishing permanent vegetative cover.
He has even vowed that as a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee he will be the voice that will remind other senators of the benefits and importance of a balanced economic and conservation mindset.
So perhaps by working with Washington, South Dakota can re-establish the pheasant populations to what they use to be.
Do you think that Washington can aid in the conservation of game birds?
Let us know in the comments below: