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Descendant of Redfield Pheasant Importer Suggests Habitat Policies to Boost Hunting

Tory Schalkle, the great-great grandson of one of the men who brought pheasants to Redfield 111 years ago, Henry J. Schalkle, writes from Minnesota to advise Governor Kristi Noem on what South Dakota might do to restore our imported ringneck population.

Contrary to what one might expect if one imbibed Governor Noem’s coonskin-cap propaganda at full gulp, Schalkle does not mention skunk, opossum, and other small predators as the cause of dwindling pheasant numbers. The cause, says Schalkle, is much bigger varmints:

There are fewer pheasants because 47 percent of pheasants’ home (“nesting habitat”) has been converted to cropland. And this nesting habitat has been decimated because the financial incentive (the Conservation Reserve Program, or “CRP”) for farmers to create nesting habitat has been slashed by Congress.

This, ultimately, is the root cause – farmers need more incentive and support to allow nesting habitat that benefits pheasants, which attracts hunters, who fund South Dakota. CRP also has enormous benefit to water and soil quality for all residents [T.J. “Tory” Schalkle, “Future for Pheasants in South Dakota,” Pierre Capital Journal, 2020.01.26].

Revitalizing CRP depends on federal action, and since South Dakota’s Congressional delegation lacks the voice and courage to convince the farmer-loathing White House to act in the genuine best interest of agriculture or the outdoors, Schalkle focuses on pro-farm and pro-pheasant actions South Dakota can take on its own. Again, Schalkle’s solutions say not one word about trapping:

I am requesting Governor Noem reconvene/form a permanent Pheasant Work Group to explore additional solutions, including:

  • Drastically increase prices for hunting licenses for out-of-state residents. Out-of-state hunters (70K each year) are 56 percent of SD’s pheasant hunters. Having them pay an extra $70 (the price of their baggage fee) would generate an extra $5 million.
  • …Fund stronger enforcement of CRP stipulations and hunting permits.
  • Pass state legislation to fund stronger SD Game, Fish, and Parks incentives for farmers to use off-season cropland as habitation
  • Add stipulations on any funding to require certain cover crops; disallow grazing, haying, and tilling; and prevent crop insurance from causing habitat conversion.
  • Use some existing state funds to buy and convert land to public wildlife refuge areas.
  • Have an outreach program so farmers know how to fully utilize CRP and wetland reserve easements in order to take advantage of habitat funding.
  • Manage existing public land in pheasant-encouraging ways. This can be as simple as changing what’s planted along certain roadways [Schalkle, 2020.01.23].

These wonky solutions don’t have the outdoorsy cachet Govenror Noem peddles of sending kids outside to get back to their pioneer roots by catching critters and whacking off their tails. But unlike the Snow Queen’s eye-catchers, these wonky solutions would work.


  1. Larry teuber 2020-02-02 11:21

    He has a few good ideas. However being a distant descendent of a dude who claims to have introduced the [pheasant] into the Redfield ecosystem gives him no more insight into a solution than the dude that sold me my last hunting rig

    There are 4 major stressors on the SD [pheasant] population:
    1. Decline amount of habitat
    2. Declining quality of habitat
    3. Human predation
    4. Bone heads on SD GF & P board

    The SD farmers , in large part , don’t care diddly squat about pheasant hunting and habitat . They tolerate only to the extent they can make a buck off it .

    Anything that enhances habit quality and quantity is good. And good always costs money .

    Increasing all pheasant hunting fees and earmarking for habitat – good idea

    Stop township and county yahoos from mowing ditches ( habitat )- good idea

    Beginning hunting at noon all year – reduces human predation- good idea

    Leave natural predators alone , use money for habitat – good idea

    Stopping to GF& P bone head idea of “ bird road counts” – the info is as worthless as a sight on an 870

    Reducing bag limit to 2 cock – everyone will get use to it . Folks don’t hunt to eat b1rds. They hunt to get away from the misery of their everyday lives , their work, boss, nagging woman – whatever .

    Place a surcharge on strippers over # 160 lbs – problem solved –

  2. Porter Lansing 2020-02-02 14:11

    Sure, you can raise non-resident license fees. It might just help your overall pheasant conservation model, too.
    My Story … A group of we ex-pat hunters used to come back and hunt for a week, every opening weekend. But, it got too expensive and the politics of the white male locals got too obstinate to make if fun, anymore. Now we hunt in Kansas. We can get a limit at sunrise, come back to the room and watch college football all afternoon, and go out and get another limit at sunset. Licenses, accommodations, gas, and welcoming farmers make it cheaper, closer to home, and just as fun. Just sayin’. I’m sure Watertown and Madison don’t miss us. Most of us come home for Thanksgiving, anyway and some will do a little road hunting. (You never see any game wardens after opening weekend, you know.) :)

  3. Mark 2020-02-02 17:16

    Well, This is some FREE advice from
    Minnesota that didn’t cost the state
    1.4 million dollars and could very well
    be worth considering.
    But you know as well as I that
    The Dope Queen of Delusion is just that.

  4. Debbo 2020-02-02 17:58

    The SDGOP can’t be bothered with those sound plans to take care of the land. They might get in the way of more CAFOs.

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-02-02 18:44

    Larry’s crudity and sexism reflect poorly on hunters and other people who enjoy the outdoors.

  6. mike from iowa 2020-02-02 19:18

    Acreage Cap & Allocation
    The 2014 Farm Bill reduced overall CRP acres from a cap of 36 million acres to 24 million acres. While there were several reasons for this reduction, NACD had concerns this reduction may have gone too far. In the fall of 2017, along with not having a national sign up for CRP general acres, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) stopped accepting applications for CRP continuous acres, noting the program was too near its 24 million acre cap to do so.

    NACD supported an increase to the CRP acreage cap and Congress agreed by establishing a new acreage cap at 27 million acres in the 2018 Farm Bill. Within this cap, however, there are several allocations that must be met by USDA. There is a continuous acreage “floor” that must be at least eight million acres in fiscal year 2019, rising to 8.6 million acres by the end of this farm bill. Additionally, two million acres must be allocated to the CRP Grasslands Program. On top of that, 60 percent of available acres for enrollment must be awarded using a proportional, historic allocation.

    NACD- National Association of Conservation Districts

  7. Larry Teuber 2020-02-02 19:38


    Let me put it this way :
    If you don’t like hunting , whiskey and strippers – don’t come . Wiley Cock Lodge
    “Push the Bush , Rock the Cock “

    And for the record , my great , great , greaterest grandad may have introduced the Wiley cock into North America

  8. Debbo 2020-02-02 20:27

    Hey Teuber, you cheap a$$ misogynist 2 bit tramp. Shut your disgusting face.

    Are Cory and I the only ones who find this knuckle dragging, dimwitted neanderthal an embarrassment to the great state of SD and the male of the species?

  9. Larry teuber 2020-02-02 20:39

    So Debbo

    Big words. You sound like a Trumpaggot

    Beyond that – What’s your point ?

  10. Clyde 2020-02-03 00:41

    Missed some points.

    No one grows small grains anymore and annual small grain crops were great nesting area’s. Oats, Spring wheat. Pheasants don’t nest in corn or soybean fields.

    Raptors. Like it or not raptors are mighty hard on pheasants. Back when pheasant hunting was good every hawk was a “chicken hawk” and people were not kind to them.

    Agree that as long as we are tearing out fence lines so that the tiny handful of farmers left can keep deluding themselves with the idea that if they can just get bigger they will be able to make money along with the current farm programs have done nothing for pheasant habitat or life in general in this state.

    When I was a kid and bored all I had to do to pass the day in the winter was to grab my shotgun and go out and walk some fence lines for pheasants or quail. Haven’t seen a bob white for many decades and can hardly find a pheasant anymore.

  11. Larry teuber 2020-02-03 06:54

    Roger that Clyde

    Tall wheat grass, switch grass , Kosha , the thick Cat tail margins of wetlands And in thick grass raid ditches is where the nesting is. A considerable amount of these areas are crop production areas. Therefore there is a landowner opportunity cost. Native grass works but is inferior

    Raptors circling a field always indicates one of 2 things to me. Either a farmer is pulling an implement or there are b1rds in the field . Aerial raptors are a natural part of the eco system. We shouldn’t interfere with that

    For one and 2 man hunts , with or without a dog you can’t beat a fence line . But they can be hard on poorly controlled dogs.

    As with most eco issues there are many factors however habitat – quantity and quality remains # 1 and I have said previously , it costs money .

  12. Korey Jackson 2020-02-03 09:39

    There is an interesting article in today’s Washington Post reporting that, across the United States, hunting (and fishing) is slowly dying off.

    Are Pittman-Robertson Act revenues to South Dakota appropriately distributed?

    Would raising the non-resident small game hunting fees from $121 to $171 not just cause many out-of-staters to question if pheasant hunting in South Dakota is still worth the cost? Aren’t most of South Dakota’s non-resident pheasant hunters from multi-generational middle class families, and are neither celebrities nor the nation’s 1 percenters?

  13. Clyde 2020-02-04 09:28

    Korey,hunting may be dying off but wacko’s buying guns hasn’t.

    Hunting dying as a form of recreation i would say is because of a limited opportunity to hunt!

    You are right that raising fees and cost’s to hunt won’t stop that trend. This past year was the first in decades that I didn’t buy a licence as a resident. I only have one place that I hunt that I would need one and that is at a friends by Mitchell. He only got half of his crop planted and couldn’t get his corn out because of saturated field’s. The pheasants he has are still doing fine but the numbers appear to be way down from, I imagine, the weather.

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