To the Editor:

Last month, the South Dakota Game Fish & Parks Department announced the end of annual pheasant brood counts without receiving any public comment.

Since then there has been considerable public comment from in and out of the state disagreeing with that decision. We’d like to join that chorus. We hope they will reconsider.

The brood count has been taking place for about 70 years. It should be an ongoing historical document with significant environmental and economic implications. Anyone who doesn’t grasp the importance of the count may have trouble understanding the legacy that sustains our hunting tradition. Pheasants are more than just birds we shoot in the fall. They are a great indicator.

Habitat that sustains a breeding population of wild pheasants has everything. It’s good for insects, mammals, amphibians, other birds and our kids. It benefits everyone.

We live in a digital world where remarkable discoveries and conclusions are achieved with new algorithms cross referencing diverse underutilized databases. The knowledge recorded in the county may provide important clues for successfully managing pheasants in the future.

We are not disparaging the people who announced the brood count discontinuation. They are attempting to address the serious issue of declining license sales and participation. This decline has consequences beyond the hunting community.

If wild pheasant increase hunters will return the fields and bring new recruits. Non residents will flock to our state bringing tourism to locations that need the revenue, struggling businesses we depended on all year. A successful, expanding pheasant population reported in the traditional count would be very effective advertising. The news would spread itself across all media platforms. For free.

We believe continuing the count will be a useful tool in restoring our pheasants. This should be a goal everyone can agree on.

Jim Lane