LETTER: The way to save SD's wild pheasants
To the editor:
I believe I have done more actual research on South Dakota wild pheasants than anyone living in South Dakota today. I worked for Carl Trautman, the first pheasant research biologist the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks hired in 1947. Carl wrote the only book on South Dakota pheasants. I have some scientific publications referred to included in this book. Study area investigations on pheasants were done for several years headed up by Carl. The GF&P does not have a research section anymore.
I read with interest the pheasant management plan proposals by Kristi Noem and Marty Jackley in The Daily Republic. I do not believe any of these plans will help significantly. Our extensive study on predator effects on pheasants showed that it was not economically feasible to increase pheasants by predator control alone and was not acceptable to the public.
I did research using both penned wild and game farm pheasants for my master's thesis. I believe it may be detrimental to wild birds to release game farm birds (genetics and behavior). This needs a study like all aspects of new factors affecting pheasants (new chemicals, soybeans effect on reproduction, new farming practices, etc.).
The only thing I think will help and this might be done right away before any additional drop in the wild pheasant population, is to start a state CRP program that will develop 1½ to 2 million acres of CRP/soil bank-type nesting, escape cover and hunting cover.
This must be funded by ½ of 1 percent of the sales tax. We need millions of non-voluntary dollars right away to fund this program. The hunters should not have to pay for everything. Motel owners, restaurant owners and the general public need to pay for this.
If South Dakota people want to save this economic booster to the state, they need to put their money into it. When we get this cover established, we can do walk-in areas on it to provide hunting places for non-residents and residents.