Opinion: Is it too early to set next fall’s pheasant season?Today I thought I’d react to the latest regarding our S.D. Game, Fish & Parks Department. I like the appointment of John Cooper as a new commissioner. As John is semi-retired, he’ll have time to study the issues. Because John is an avid angler and hunter, he will understand our concerns. He also possesses vast experience in the field, as well as training in fish and wildlife science.
By: Roger Wiltz, The Daily Republic
Today I thought I’d react to the latest regarding our S.D. Game, Fish & Parks Department. I like the appointment of John Cooper as a new commissioner. As John is semi-retired, he’ll have time to study the issues. Because John is an avid angler and hunter, he will understand our concerns. He also possesses vast experience in the field, as well as training in fish and wildlife science.
John and I have sat at a table and discussed issues in the past, and I appreciated his interest in my thoughts. I cannot picture John Cooper not considering your concerns or mine, and I feel that when you or I walk into a monthly meeting, we will be recognized. It hasn’t always been that way. I don’t expect him to agree with all of my notions, but he will respect them. Cooper’s presence will be a step forward.
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The GF&P Commission recently set the 2010 pheasant season. As noted by others, they choose to leave expanded seasons and bird limits alone. The people didn’t want it, the people spoke, and the commission recognized this for what it was. Having said this, I must admit that when I read that the season would be as last year’s, I wondered if the decision was premature.
Last year, the GF&P eventually admitted that they were “too quick on the draw” when they decided to go with triple antelope tags in areas where a harsh winter took a very heavy toll. Ranchers in these same areas told me that the triple deer tags were also ludicrous. I have to wonder if the commission learned nothing from last year’s haste.
So far this winter, our pheasants have taken a severe beating across much of their range. I drove from Wagner to Sioux Falls last week without seeing a bird. Farmer friends tell me that raptors have had easy picking with the few birds that remain. Does the season have to be set so early?
I haven’t missed a S.D. pheasant season since my first in 1960. That’s 50 seasons. I can remember four bird daily limits because of healthy bird numbers, but I can also remember two bird daily limits and shortened seasons that were justified for lack of numbers.
For our bird numbers to make a successful rebound, even if 2008 and 2009 numbers aren’t reached, we will have to have an absolutely perfect spring. What are the odds of this happening? Our pheasants will rebound, but it is going to take time. Why has the thinking changed from a lower bag limit and shorter season to business as usual?
I’ve been to what seems like a thousand school board and city council meetings. When there was no urgency, and when more information was needed, items were tabled for further study. Setting the pheasant season should have been tabled. I contacted the GF&P about their rationale, but I have not yet received a response.
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The classic pre-1964 gun show in Sioux Falls this past weekend was all I hoped it would be. I took along a Model 1873 Winchester as trading stock, and I hoped to acquire a nice Model 1892 Winchester in .25-20 caliber as I had reloading dies and brass for the caliber. As it turned out, I traded for the rifle I wanted and put some cash in my pocket.
Gun show critics like to paint these affairs as a place where undesirable characters can acquire firearms illegally. The people I dealt with made certain that the required paperwork was completed. They also collected sales tax. The general atmosphere was upbeat, and everyone was very polite.
I did allow nostalgia to get the best of me. My very first rifle was a Mossberg .22 caliber bolt action Model 146B. That dates back to 1955. The Eernisse brothers from Leota, Minn., exhibited an impressive display of Mossberg rifles and shotguns. When I asked about a Model 146B, they just happened to have one. I picked it up and brought it to my shoulder. I was 13 years old all over again. So much for the extra cash in my pocket.
After looking at the price tags on some of the same models I own, I left with a very good feeling about some of my past firearms investments. Guns are rock-solid property.
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I never thought I’d get my hands on the information you’ll find in next week’s column. Google is an amazing source of data. Watch for the complete story of a tale I’ve told you in the past. See you next week.