South Dakota News Watch catches up with my notes on the happy face South Dakota state government is trying to put on the long-declining pheasant-hunting industry. In an unusually brief and anomalously byline-less article, SDNW compiles a variety of the points that counter the state’s marketing-driven cockfoolery:
- “[T]he state has no scientific data to support the claim” that Governor Kristi Noem’s much-ballyhooed Nest Predator Bounty Program has “positively influenced” duck and pheasant nest success.
- The number of pheasants killed peaked in 2007; the giving hunters 27 more days and two more hours every day to shoot birds in 2020 still produced a pheasant slaughter of about half of the 2007 peak and lower than 26 of the 39 shorter preceding seasons.
- The state sold 38% fewer hunting licenses in 2019 than in 2010.
- Conservation Reserve Program acreage has dropped from 1.8 million acres in 1994 to 1.1 million in 2019. If you want birds to shoot, you have to preserves places for birds to nest and grow.
Instead of spending money on baseless government propaganda and prizes for skunk tails, South Dakota should spend its money the way the federal government has, on the proven pheasant-boosting policy of habitat conservation.