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BROOKINGS — Each day, ducks around the country are phoning home to South Dakota. As part of a first-of-its-kind study, research is being gathered through cellphone technology to track migrating mallards. The two-year project is a collaboration among the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Department, South Dakota State University and the South Dakota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.
More pheasants, more pheasant hunters. That pattern is holding true again this season as South Dakota small game license sales for residents and nonresidents have risen compared to last year's numbers. The South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Department says there have been 66,548 nonresident small game licenses sold through Sunday. That's a 1.59 percent increase compared to the same weekend last year. The additional 1,063 sold licenses brings in $128,623 more revenue compared to 2017.
Zoey B. If you've run across perhaps the most smiley baby in all of South Dakota, you've probably met Zoey, our 7-month-old daughter. Her middle name is Barbara, after her great-grandmother, my grandma, my dad's mom. As I write these details about our little girl's life, I sometimes wonder why anyone would be interested. It's been quite a few months since I've assembled a parenting column, and I guess I have good reason for that.
State wildlife officers are constantly investigating cases in which outdoor enthusiasts are illegally claiming residency to hunt and fish in South Dakota. The cases are "somewhat difficult" and take significant time to prosecute, according to Andy Alban, South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks law enforcement program administrator. "We get a lot of tips and direct information from individuals, because it becomes a fairness issue, especially when it comes to big game licenses," Alban said while discussing GF&P's recently released 2017 annual law enforcement report.
It's a busy time of year for Josh Thompson and the rest of South Dakota's conservation officers. Thompson, a Dakota Wesleyan University graduate, was recently named this year's officer of the year by the Association of Midwest Fish and Game Law Enforcement Officers. As today's statewide pheasant season opens, the 27-year-old Lead, S.D., native will be working in the Winner area to help cover the region for the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department to ensure safe, lawful hunters are in the fields.
Kevin Robling says experienced hunters are a key in retaining and reactivating new people to get out in the field. Robling is a special projects coordinator for the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Department. He expanded on the decline in hunter numbers through the viewpoint of GF&P and said experienced hunters "are the foundation of the hunting and fishing tradition in our state, and we depend on their expertise to help guide the next generation." Here are more excerpts from the interview:
Standing at the front of a Sioux Falls hotel conference room at a nationwide gathering, Pheasants Forever's top official told a collection of hunters to look around the room. "If those people look like you, you're not doing your job," said Howard Vincent, Pheasants Forever's president and CEO, during February's National Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic. Vincent then passionately described the need and importance to diversify the collection of people who go hunting.
A Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball player who started 11 games last season will have his initial appearance in court later this month for charges of domestic abuse and intentional damage to property. Tyson Smiley, 21, was arrested on Sept. 13 for pushing his ex-girlfriend to the ground and then "taking out his rage" on the hood of a car that belongs to her father, according to a police affidavit. Smiley, of Mitchell, has his initial appearance for the two Class 1 misdemeanors on Oct. 18. If convicted, Smiley could face up to two years in prison and up to a $4,000 fine.
Interest in upgrading another Mitchell sports facility is gaining traction. Drake Field at the Cadwell Park Sports Complex could be next in line to be renovated with artificial turf, according to officials with Mitchell Baseball Association and Dakota Wesleyan University. The field is adjacent to Mitchell's main baseball diamond, Cadwell Park, and is used by teener, high school, and college teams. It could become the second athletic playing field in Mitchell to switch from natural grass to artificial turf following Joe Quintal Field overhaul this summer.
BRIDGEWATER — Charles Liesinger laughed when asked when he'll get back in the field to harvest. Wearing rubber muck boots, the 28-year-old Bridgewater farmer was working in his grandpa's shop Thursday morning as water steadily flowed in ditches throughout the region.