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Pheasants Forever has helped to improve the habitat for pheasants and other upland wildlife across South Dakota. The conservation efforts have improved more than 43,000 acres across 1,319 wildlife habitat projects. This has included projects that have been initiated by the state’s 34 chapters and more than 23,314 acres of habitat supported by the Pheasant Forever’s Farm Bill biologist program.

It was only in 2013 that pheasants were recorded at a 10 year low at 78% of the ten year average. During the last 12 months, the local population has seen some improvement, largely thanks to the state’s community and its desire to retain its pheasant hunting culture. Still, pheasant populations are not at the peak levels seen in the 1980s.

2014 was a great year for the organization. The State Bill and other political allies have helped to secure funding for the state’s habitat conservation. Habitat is considered the prime reason why pheasants are on the decline.

According to statistics, the reduction in land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program and land being put back into production has caused the majority of the loss of habitat.

Last year’s pheasant population improvement was also achieved because of lower hunter numbers. Although this is not really good for pheasant conservation as hunting directly produces income that can be funnelled into conservation projects. It is estimated that the state’s economy can benefit from $200 million annually from hunting.

In the coming years it is also hoped that the new regional headquarters and further support from other conservation funding sources will help support the pheasant’s population across the state. What is known is that it will take considerable effort from landowners, farmers, hunters, conservationists and politicians to ensure the continued improvement in natural habitat and pheasant populations.

Have you been involved in any conservation work? Are you donating funds for conservation?

Let us know in the comments below.





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