Even as South Dakota loses thousands of acres of pheasant cover (South Dakota is Dying), there iss some good news to report. The states CREP program is conserving some land upland birds and other wildlife. The total amount of acreage preserved is small, but every bit helps.
The final part of the Capital Journal’s excellent series on habit loss in South Dakota’s talks about the state’s CREP program , and points out some ways it is helping hunters and wildlife.
“Even as the total number of habitat acres continues to decline in South Dakota, there are success stories of programs helping to stem the tide of conversion of grassland back to crops.
The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks accepted the first enrollments in 2010 in a plan that makes it more attractive for producers in a designated area to keep land in the federal Conservation Reserve Program. The program, called CREP, or Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, adds a portion of state dollars to enhance the payments landowners receive.
And hunters who prefer the flat fields of the James River Valley are among those who benefit, since the program requires that landowners allow hunter/angler access as part of the deal…”
If you read my post South Dakota is Dying, you know habit loss is leading to decline in pheasants and other wildlife species throughout the state. But here’s something you may not know: Crop Insurance Programs are behind some of this habitat loss. And who pays for these Crop Insurance Programs? You, me, and anyone else who pays taxes to the United States Federal Government.
A couple day ago, Bloomberg.com posted this eye-opening piece about the impact that Crop Insurance Programs are having across South Dakota and the western US. Check it out and learn more about how you’re paying to decimate wildlife numbers across America:
If you read my post South Dakota is Dying and would like find out more about what’s happening in South Dakota, I suggest you read this excellent five-part series in the Capital Journal in Pierre, SD. It outlines what’s at stake, what’s changing across the state, and what may lie ahead for pheasant and other birds species in South Dakota. Here’s part 2 of 5:
The story of South Dakota since the 1862 Homestead Act has been in large part the story of converting grassland into cropland. It’s nothing new to sow wheat or corn where there once was grass. Drive along any East River highway and you’ll spot rocks plucked from beds of prairie grass or water draining from rich, dark soil.
But scientists studying satellite images of the western edge of the Corn Belt say something different is happening now…
Thank you to everyone who checked out my post South Dakota is Dying. It’s a sad story, but here’s the first step in doing something about it: Learn more about just what’s happening in SD and how this is hurting pheasants and all wild animal populations.
The Capital Journal in Pierre, SD, published an excellent five-part series on what is at stake, what is changing, and what may lie ahead for pheasant and other birds species across the state. If you care about what’s happening in South Dakota, I encourage you to check it out. Here’s part 1 of 5:
This is a sad story. It kicks me in the gut and makes me want to scream.
Right now, one of the greatest places on earth to hunt wild game birds is dying.
Across South Dakota, the double blow of drought and vanishing cover is wiping out the pheasants, sharptails, and huns. I’m sure it’s having the same impact on waterfowl and other wildlife, too.
This report confirms my fears. It’s a first-hand account from a friend and one of the most disheartening things I’ve read in a long time.
October 26, Miller, SD — The pheasants are gone. We have hunted three farms that total over 22 sections for more than 20 years. There were 8 of us this year, all experienced hunters and two very good dogs, my 5 year old Lab and a 7 year old Golden. In 4 days of hunting from noon until dark we killed a grand total of 12 pheasants. I shot 3 shells and killed two. Two of the hunters did not get one bird. We talked to a group of 10 hunters from Ohio and Indiana Wednesday who hunted for three hours Tuesday before they even saw one hen. We were skunked Wednesday! We hunted from noon until dark and saw only two roosters and five hens. We did not see one Sharptail or Chicken the entire week.
Until this year there were a total of 4 sections on the farms in CRP. They are all in crops now. Five years ago there were no soybeans anywhere due to the low moisture of the soil. This year with new genetic modified seeds, there were five sections planted in beans. Of course the harvested fields looked like a paved parking lot and there were no birds anywhere around them.
To give you a perspective, one of our group has kept a detailed hunting log of every hunt, every day, for the past 21 years. Every year until last year the group averaged over 13 birds per hunter every year. Five years ago, in the third week of the season, 12 of us killed 36 pheasants in less than two and a half hours on the same farms.
I doubt if I will ever go back to hunt pheasants in South Dakota. Every hunter that we talked with this week had very similar experiences. We did not talk to anyone who had a good hunt. They have done the same things that essentially destroyed the pheasant hunting in Iowa.