Pheasant summit: Can South Dakota save its 'big deal' tradition?

  • Article by: Doug Smith , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 16, 2013 - 7:23 AM

How important are pheasants and pheasant hunting to South Dakota? Just look at the state’s 25-cent piece: Winging over iconic Mount Rushmore is a ring-necked pheasant — a species not even native to the state, but one long-embraced.

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oxboardDec. 11, 13 6:43 AM

Minnesota might have more acres of wildlife management land but you will be hard pressed to find many pheasants on most of it. why is that? well maybe they should eliminate the "manage" part of it, because they sure don't do any.

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ruphinaDec. 11, 13 7:55 AM

How about this tax structure? Add a $2000 an acre tax (wetlands exempt), but allow a credit of $32000 against that tax for each acre set aside and managed for wildlife habitat. No crops, no hay, no pasture, just wild upland cover. Basically, set aside 40 acres out of every 640, (1/16th or 6.25%). It could still be hunted by the landowner or leased out to other hunters. Allow gerrymandering to put buffers around wetlands and drainage ditches. Bill G.

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gimruisDec. 11, 13 8:03 AM

Minnesota doesn't have as many pheasants as South Dakota because the northern third of the state is all timber and pheasants can live exclusively in timber. Plus its a lot colder and there's more snowfall here so mortality is usually higher. Straight up though, Minnesota does a much better job at offering and managing areas for public hunting than South Dakota does.

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gimruisDec. 11, 13 8:05 AM

The best thing for pheasants right now is the price of corn. Its down to around 4 bucks a bushel. At 4 bucks they break even. Below that its not profitable so there isn't a need to remove all grassland and marginal habitat to make more room for it.

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Sutty69Dec. 11, 13 8:30 AM

Cut the subsidies to Ethanol. Problem Solved.

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decembersueDec. 11, 1310:46 AM

Given that pheasants aren't a native species, they just don't grab the conservation interest other animals do. However, preserving grasslands is still a laudable goal. South Dakota's main problem seems to be that it thinks government CAN'T solve this problem - of course it can. A significant enough tax, and the state of south Dakota could run around founding parks and grasslands all over the place. They just don't want to do it, that's all. Private industry will never step up enough to figure this out.

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rzieskeDec. 11, 1310:52 AM

The continuing decline in habitat and fence line removal, along with ditch mowing for precious hay are concerns, but dreadful winter and spring weather hurts populations the most.

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ruphinaDec. 11, 1310:56 AM

decembersue- see my proposal earlier. It saves a small slice of land (the least farmable 6.25%) and ends up having no land taken from the owners, and if the 6.25% amount is set aside, no tax owed. Simply a stick to get farmers to truly be the stewards of the land they claim to be. Bill G.

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tabasco628Dec. 11, 1311:25 AM

SD has no state income tax and property taxes have a heightened importance in the state. As a result, the state is rightfully cautious as to what land it buys and takes off the tax rolls. With that said, cheap corn will preserve more grassland than any land the gov't may buy.

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hoytlakerDec. 11, 1311:25 AM

The Farm Bill Conference of the House Agriculture Committee is once again negotiating, and billions of land conservation funding is in the balance. The US House of Representatives needs to hear from you, their constituents. Why - because the public land you hunt may use Farm Bill funding. Investing an hour right now can make the argument that fudning for land conservation is essential. Achieving a consensus on the Farm Bill has been challenging – largely because the House and Senate are still billions of dollars apart on nutrition/food stamps. However, the current Senate bill includes a cost share waiver plus $150 million more in funding for the recently merged Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). So, what’s the message? • Hold the line on funding for ACEP; everyone has to share the pain in this fiscal climate but conservation has already endured multiple cuts. • Include the cost share waiver in the final bill. It was not included in the House bill. The key question is related to land trusts having “skin in the game." No one can better explain the importance of conservation land projects than those of us who use the land. Committee members from Minnesota are Representatives Timothy Walz and Collin Peterson (the ranking member), and Senator Amy Klobuchar.

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