Pheasant habitat the focus for Game, Fish and Parks Department

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The rich 100 year history of pheasant hunting in South Dakota has thrived off of the birds having a great year round habitat.

Over the years one thing has held true.

"We often see a very cyclical and parallel connection between landscape habitat programs in relation to pheasant numbers," Tom Kirschenmann, Wildlife Division Deputy Director.

Land owners have always maintained prime hunting grounds, and they know what pheasants need all year round.

"Plenty of bugs in the grass, the main thing that the pheasants eat is insects, so they need a good population of insects," Eric Pulis, Assistant Professor of Biology at NSU.

In her State of the State address, Governor Kristi Noem acknowledged the importance of preserving pheasant country for the next hundred years.

Eric Pulis is an avid pheasant hunter and biology professor with NSU, he told me how important it is for land owners to maintain a healthy habitat.

"If you have plenty of habitat spread out all over the place, you have plenty of pheasants spread out, but when you lose that habitat, it's not like they go somewhere else, they just can't survive there and die," said Pulis.

The Game, Fish, and Parks Department is working on two new ways to expand the Hunt for Habitat program.

"We're going to provide tags out there, sell them through a raffle, and we're throwing the other idea out there that the Governor used in her state of the state is a conservation license plate," Kelly Hepler, Secretary of South Dakota Game Fish and Parks.

Both ideas are being worked on to help the pheasant habitat improve in the future, without raising taxes.

Governor Kristi Noem recognized that a healthy habitat needs to be maintained if pheasant hunting is going to thrive in the state.