Pheasants Forever growing and crowing with chapter start in South Dakota

Farm Forum

Armour, S.D. – Pheasant hunters and conservationists in South Dakota have formed the newest chapter of Pheasants Forever in the country. Officially named the Fort Randall Chapter of Pheasants Forever, the volunteer committee has plans to positively influence wildlife habitat in Douglas County while providing valuable outdoor educational experiences for area youth.

“We’re very excited to establish a new volunteer chapter in the heart of South Dakota’s pheasant country,” said Kendall Strand, treasurer of the Fort Randall Chapter of Pheasants Forever. “Douglas County has a long-standing tradition of upland hunting and a wide variety of landscapes which are conducive to growing ring-necked pheasants. We look forward to hosting a successful membership fundraiser this fall which will enable our chapter to preserve wildlife habitat, as well as these important traditions for future generations.”

Widely known as the world’s premier hunting destination for pheasants, establishment of the Fort Randall Chapter of Pheasants Forever follows positive news of mild weather conditions for the state’s ring-necked population throughout the 2014-2015 winter seasons. South Dakota had a “very mild winter,” according to Travis Runia, lead pheasant biologist for the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks. Most of the state’s primary pheasant range, he said, received less than 20 inches of snow through mid-March, and seasonal spring rains have added moisture to a drought-stricken landscape – good news for nesting hen pheasants.

“Pheasants Forever chapters can play a pivotal role for the protection and prosperity of South Dakota, a fact that is not lost on volunteers of the Fort Randall chapter,” said Mike Stephenson, Pheasants Forever’s regional representative in South Dakota. “The Fort Randall Chapter of Pheasants Forever is an assembly of business owners and upland hunters who recognize the importance of pheasant hunting in their local communities. I look forward to working with these individuals to contribute lasting positive impacts in Douglas County.”

Pheasants Forever and state officials have taken steps in recent months to safeguard South Dakota’s world-class pheasant population. Following recommendations of the Pheasant Habitat Work Group, the South Dakota Conservation Fund was established as a funding mechanism for habitat improvements throughout the state’s pheasant range. In addition, Pheasants Forever is now offering landowners in South Dakota a new conservation program – the Honey Bee and Monarch Butterfly Partnership– designed specifically to create native wildflower and grassland plots that positively influence upland bird, bee and butterfly populations.