Pheasants aren't the only game in town

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

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With all the recent fuss about the pheasant population, South Dakota ducks have not been receiving the kind of exposure they deserve.


Local duck hunter and five-year past area chairman of the Kingsbury County Ducks Unlimited (DU) chapter James Girard said, “The duck population is doing quite well right now, but there is some concern with the decrease in the Conservation Reserve Program that habitat will go away.”


Like the governor’s select task force for pheasants, DU has as its primary goal the conservation and preservation of duck habitats. This benefits hunters, of course, but the local DU organization’s primary focus is not hunting, but fundraising for duck habitat restoration in the prairie pothole region.


“One of the misconceptions about DU is that we send all our locally raised money to national and then never see it again,” said Girard. “The truth is, national leverages those funds twelve-fold and then sends them back to South Dakota.”


Girard said he had no bitterness that pheasants are getting all the attention right now. “The habitat for ducks and pheasants is similar,” he said. That means that what is good for pheasants is good for ducks.


“Every species in South Dakota except humans spends a portion of its life in the swamp,” Girard said. “The only humans that rely on it are duck hunters.”


Girard said this area is part of the central flyway for migrating ducks. He doesn’t have to travel far to do his hunting — mostly within 15-20 miles of De Smet.


David Tritle


The De Smet News

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