NOEM: Pheasant hunting tradition needs federal supportStarting at noon on the third Saturday of each October, a hallowed and enjoyable tradition takes place in fields and pastures throughout the state. For the Noem family, like many other South Dakota families, opening day of pheasant season holds the same kind of anticipation as birthdays and other holidays.
By: U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem , The Daily Republic
Starting at noon on the third Saturday of each October, a hallowed and enjoyable tradition takes place in fields and pastures throughout the state. For the Noem family, like many other South Dakota families, opening day of pheasant season holds the same kind of anticipation as birthdays and other holidays.
There’s always lots of gun cleaning and discussion the evening before the big day. Everyone has their own ideas about where we’ll find the most birds. Come Saturday morning, the amount of time beginning when you wake up on Saturday morning until the clock strikes noon can be some of the longest hours of your life. In our house, the morning is usually filled with a big breakfast, lots of coffee and even more stories and laughter. Some will go out and take some shots with clay pigeons to make sure they aren’t too rusty from the few yards out and you see that rooster tail pop out, all the team work in the world isn’t going to get your shot on target. It’s up to you, and only you, to pull your gun up, unlock the safety, lead the bird just enough and then squeeze the trigger.
Regardless of whether you get your limit (but we usually do, for the record), opening day is always a success. It’s a success because of the quality time you’ve spent previous year.
The hunting itself is truly a team sport. A good hunt requires lots of communication. From figuring out who is walking where and who is blocking to calling out “hen” or “rooster,” it all takes communication. It also sometimes requires unselfishness by withholding on a shot when someone else might have a better one. That being said, when you hear those feathers start to rustle in the cornstalks a with your friends and family outside enjoying the beautiful and unique landscapes of our state.
Pheasant hunting is a South Dakota tradition. It’s my plan to keep it that way. The bulk of our pheasant population is hatched and grown on land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), a program in the farm bill that is critical to South Dakota. From my position on the House Agriculture Committee, I will be carefully examining CRP as we discuss the next Farm Bill and looking for innovative ways to keep CRP as a viable alternative to placing high cost inputs such as seed, fertilizer and chemicals on marginal and fragile lands. I am committed to a common sense approach to land management which is good for our farmers, our hunters and the environment. With the right policies in place, we should be able to pass down a vibrant pheasant hunting tradition for generations to come.