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Teach Kids Conservation, Not Killing

With state experts themselves agreeing that offering civilians $10 for every whacked-off tail won’t significantly reduce the number of varmints munching on pheasant eggs, Bob Wilson of Spearfish suggests there are more habitat-helpful ways to get kids outdoors:

How about having GF&P take those public dollars and work with school districts to have children develop and restore habitat, plant native trees, shrubs, and grasses, and improve water resources to the benefit of all species (including humans)? Not only is this a much healthier lesson to teach our young people, it also presents a much better face to the nation than Kristi’s cockeyed campaign of taxpayer funded animal abuse [Bob Wilson, letter to the editor, Mitchell Daily Republic, 2019.06.14].

Controlling the populations of certain species may have a place in conservation efforts, but the skills Wilson suggests we teach kids seem to offer more direct benefits for habitat protection. Plus, it’s harder to imagine any young person wantonly planting too many native plants than to imagine kids wantonly killing too many animals.


  1. Terry Grimlie 2019-06-15

    Maybe next year Kristi will propose a program so kids can get a free silencer we want to” enhance their kill excuse me ,hunt, and protect their hearing”

  2. Debbo 2019-06-15

    Bob Wilson’s idea is reasonable and good for all of SD. Of course it didn’t come from the SDGOP.

  3. Kathy Tyler 2019-06-15

    As I’m watching alfalfa fields being mowed or swathed or whatever this spring, I can only imagine the number of pheasant and ducks nests being destroyed. Just a thought….

  4. mike from iowa 2019-06-15

    Might want to say a prayer for fawns as well.

  5. Donald Pay 2019-06-15

    Yes. My district (Madison, WI) has a school forest. Many elementary schools have a small prairie plots with native grasses and/or a gardens with veggies. One school near a conservation park has turkeys that walk by all the time (also coyotes). It you work through the school districts, you get a lot more bang for the buck. Many more kids will be reached.

  6. grudznick 2019-06-15

    grudznick has seen too many green-thumbed “master gardeners” mess up the ecological balance of many places over my long span of being a conservative conservationist, where I serve as past president of several committees I would tell you to not move firewood or transplant weeds unless you are a licensed and professional botanist or ecological scientist. Like grudznick.

  7. John Dale 2019-06-16

    I just applied for my deer hunting license. I can’t wait to bag another delicious SD prairie cow. That said, I’m not really a fan of blowing away little critters for fun. I know a few folks who do that .. high powered rifles against prairie dogs. I guess it’s either that or they go spraying poison everywhere. Of course, running traps might be kind of efficient, to, but they still have to kill them somehow, and they are not a food product. Yet another conflict of public use/interest that doesn’t consider outside the box thinking. Maybe with a slightly larger wheel, we could use the overgrown hamsters to power Teslas until we can get enough rare Earth from the asteroid belt for solar panels.

  8. Paulette Callen 2019-06-17

    I am a fan of Bob Wilson. His letters to the editor (Aberdeen paper) usually express my opinion, only more succinctly and eloquently. This latest letter is no exception.

  9. happy camper 2019-06-21

    A federal conservation agent I spoke to recently agreed it is loss of habitat, two cold winters, and this program will have minimal impact. Not being in Noem’s chain of command they could be much more forthcoming we agreed why isn’t Noem consulting with experts in the state including her own. It was just survival of the fittest after the redrawing of wetland maps allowed massive tiling. On a positive note CRP is open and with what’s happening in agriculture should attract lots of acres although that’s no permanent solution either as the return of high commodity prices someday will drive those acres back into production. IMO the massive tiling in recent years is the biggest culprit.

  10. happy camper 2019-06-21

    My older relatives used to talk about pheasants nesting right next to a fence post in the ditch. What’s changed? Maybe in the 30s they didn’t mow the ditches like they do now. Probably not. Is it necessary to mow ditches maybe the grass would get too tall but couldn’t something be planted there useful to wildlife? You’re never gonna stop the competitive forces in ag production so there has to be a counterweight for conservation purposes like permanent CRP programs and best if the feds do their own maintenance.

  11. Porter Lansing 2019-06-21

    I hunt pheasants in Kansas. The corporate farming there has mostly eliminated road ditches. They farm right to the edge of the road.

  12. mike from iowa 2019-06-21

    Saw a single rooster pheasant this morning driving over to neighbor’s place to feed her cat. iowa gravel roads, when re-graded, the ditches are generally too steep for farmers to mow and bale. As the years go by the ditches gradually fill and can be easily mowed and baled.

    Unfortunately, many farmers are removing grassy waterways and fence lines. My present landlord maintains the pastures, the fence lines, the windbreaks to keep some nesting cover and shelter from harsh weather. I get the joy of seeing pheasants off and on in my yard, along with deer, ground hogs, coons, rabbits, an occasional fox and two stray dogs.

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