South Dakota is Dying: Here’s Your Chance to Help…

Pheasants Forever
Pheasants Forever

If you’ve read my posts about disappearing gamebird habitat in South Dakota (South Dakota is Dying & You’re Killing off SD’s Pheasants. See how.), you know that pheasants, ducks, and other wildlife are facing tough times across the state.

To try and tackle this problem, South Dakota’s Governor Dennis Daugaard is holding a Governor’s Pheasant Habitat Summit on December 6, 2013 in Huron. Find out more about it below, and if you care about what’s happening in SD, please attend. Unless action is taken soon, South Dakota will loose many more acres of prime habitat. As it does, more and more pheasants — and the great times, cherished memories, and big dollars they bring — will disappear.

Governor’s Pheasant Habitat Summit
PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard announced today that he will host a Pheasant Habitat Summit to discuss the future of pheasant habitat and hunting in South Dakota. The summit is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 6, at the Crossroads Convention Center in Huron.

“Pheasant hunting is extremely important to the culture and economic well-being of South Dakota,” Gov. Daugaard said. “South Dakota’s pheasant hunting experience is second to none and draws hunters from around the world. We want to do what we can now to ensure these opportunities for future generations.

The Governor’s Pheasant Habitat Summit will provide a forum for landowners, sportsmen, members of the tourism industry and other interested individuals to learn about the current state of pheasant habitat in South Dakota. The summit will include panel discussions and public input as a means to explore ways to maintain and enhance pheasant habitat.

The Governor’s Pheasant Summit is open to the public and pre-registration is required. Individuals may register online here. Information and registration is also available by calling the Game, Fish and Parks Department at 605.773.3387.

Save South Dakota: The crop insurance connection…

It's pretty simple: Loose the cover, loose the birds.
It’s pretty simple: Loose the cover, loose the birds.

If you read this post from yesterday, you know that you’re paying for a federal program that’s having a devastating impact on pheasants and other animals  across the midwest. The federal Crop Insurance Program encourages farmers to plant land they used to set aside for conservation, and as more acreage goes under the plow, there are less area where wildlife can thrive.

Part four of the Capital Journal’s excellent series on habit loss in South Dakota’s talks about this program, and lays out some pretty stunning info on what lies ahead for the state.

The Crop Insurance Connection by Allison Jarrell

“When Lyle Perman was younger, in a different era in farm policy, he and his father converted some of their grassland into crops.

Perman, now a Walworth County rancher and crop insurance agent, recalls government agencies assisting them with designing drainage ditches and blowing holes in wetlands.

“You have to understand that this is the environment that a lot of us were raised in,” Perman said. “We were raised draining wetlands. Farming and erosion were just part of the business. You didn’t like it, but it was just part of what you did.”

That grassland conversion is part of what made South Dakota what it is today. But researchers, ranchers and conservation organizations have found that high commodity prices are driving today’s farmers to plow land that yesterday’s farmers deemed unsuitable for planting….”

Read the entire piece now: The Crop Insurance Connection. Then ask yourself  a simple question: Is this something you and I should be paying for?

It’s a grouse salad…pass the vinaigrette…

I’ve always been told that grouse switch to Aspen buds as cold winter moves in and the ground freezes up. This string over at Upland Journal proves that that’s not the whole story. Some bird’s diets are a bit more diverse.

Ruffed Grouse crop, stuffed with ferns & buds
Ruffed Grouse crop, stuffed with ferns & buds

The bird was shot in late December. Check out the content of it’s crop (and just how full that crop is) to see what it has been eating.

I think that green, leafy stuff is Toothed Wood Fern.

Ferns & buds from a Ruffed Grouse's crop
Ferns & buds from a Ruffed Grouse's crop
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