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12
PF’s South Dakota Biologist Hired by South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks

PF Promotes Bigalke to Biologist Post in Pheasant Capital



St. Paul, Minn. – February 10, 2005 – Pheasants Forever (PF) announces that regional wildlife biologist Tom Kirschenmann has been hired by the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks Department to be their new upland game biologist. Kirschenmann leaves after nearly ten years with PF. He has spent the last five years as the regional biologist for South Dakota and Wyoming, while spending his first five years in Illinois. Ben Bigalke, a PF habitat specialist based in Huron, S.D., has been promoted to replace Kirschenmann.



“We can’t thank Tom enough for the tremendous job he’s done for PF,” reports Rick Young, PF’s vice president of field operations. “We are extremely excited for Tom and his new role with the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks Department. We know we are gaining a strong PF supporter in the department. This transition also creates a great opportunity to reward the hard work of Ben Bigalke. With Tom in his new role and Ben on board, the potential to do great things for wildlife habitat has never been better in South Dakota.”



Bigalke’s primary duties will include starting new chapters and working with the existing 3,514 members in South Dakota’s 26 chapters and the 745 members in Wyoming’s four chapters. He will assist those chapters in raising and expending funds on wildlife habitat projects and conservation education. Ben will also be working with local, state, and federal natural resource agencies on behalf of those chapters.



“I know that I have some big shoes to fill,” explains Bigalke. “I’m ready for the challenge of helping South Dakota live up to the tradition of being the ‘Pheasant Capital.’ The loss of nesting cover continues to be the limiting factor for pheasants in South Dakota, Wyoming, and really across the range. I’m ready to help those local chapters create more nesting cover for more birds.” PF is the only national wildlife conservation organization that leaves 100 percent of the fundraising dollars, along with the decision on how best to utilize those funds, in the local communities where they are raised. Since inception in 1982, PF has worked on over 21,000 acres of nesting cover projects in South Dakota and 1.35 million nesting cover acres nationwide.



“I’m also excited to work on land acquisitions,” adds Bigalke, “as more and more of South Dakota becomes privatized, I see the need for chapters to spend money to acquire land for public hunting. Growing up in Minnesota, public wildlife management areas provided me with some of my most cherished hunting memories.” All PF land acquisitions are turned over to the appropriate federal or state agency and opened to the public for hunting and other compatible outdoor recreation activities. Since inception, PF has participated in 834 land acquisitions accounting for nearly 100,000 acres now open to the public nationwide.



Bigalke is a New London, Minnesota native. He graduated with a B.S. in wildlife and fisheries sciences from South Dakota State University. Ben is also finishing his master’s in wildlife biology at SDSU.



PF is a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to the protection and enhancement of pheasant and other wildlife populations in North America through habitat improvement, land management, public awareness, and education. Such efforts benefit landowners and wildlife alike. PF has more than 110,000 members in over 600 local chapters across the continent.

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