South Dakota Tourism Renews Commitment to Conservation as Pheasants Forever National Sponsor
Through this partnership, South Dakota is making a financial investment in Pheasants Forever’s habitat mission for the long-term health of the state’s pheasant hunting economy and traditions. Bird hunters visiting South Dakota this season look to find more success than last year with a forecasted 76 percent increase in the state’s pheasant population.
“There is no doubt last season was a down year for the type of pheasant hunting folks expect out of South Dakota. That being said, even a down year in South Dakota provides better bird hunting than any other state; there’s no place like it. This year, hunters will once again experience the type of pheasant hunting they can only dream about,” said Brad Heidel, Pheasants Forever’s Director of Corporate Sales.
To ensure South Dakota maintains its status as “The Pheasant Capital,” South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard has formed a Pheasant Habitat Work Group. According to a South Dakota State University study, 1.8 million acres of grassland and prairie habitat has been lost in the state since 2006. Those habitat losses, coupled with poor winter and spring weather conditions, resulted in a significant decline in bird numbers last season. The Governor’s Pheasant Habitat Work Group issued their habitat recommendations to the Governor on Tuesday, September 9th.
“South Dakota Tourism understands the importance of habitat conservation to the long-term sustainability of the state’s pheasant traditions. Our support of Pheasants Forever is a direct link between that understanding and the value pheasant hunting provides the state as an economic driver,” said James D. Hagen, South Dakota Secretary of Tourism. “We are thrilled to see pheasant numbers rebound for the fall hunting season and invite Pheasants Forever’s entire membership out to partake in our incredible hunting opportunities.”
The South Dakota Department of Tourism estimates pheasant hunting generates $223 million in retail economic impact annually and an additional $111 million in salaries annually. Those revenues are the result of 76,000 resident and 100,000 non-resident pheasant hunters purchasing licenses, fuel, food and lodging during the state’s three-month hunting season. The season’s opener is also acknowledged as the busiest weekend of the year at the Sioux Falls Regional Airport. In fact, the state estimates there are 4,500 jobs linked directly to the pheasant hunting industry and related tourism.
As part of the partnership, South Dakota Tourism will be a featured exhibitor and sponsor for the South Dakota Pavilion at Pheasants Forever’s National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic, which will be held February 20, 21 & 22, 2015, at the Iowa Events Center in downtown Des Moines, Iowa. Attendees will find valuable information within the South Dakota Pavilion for everything related to South Dakota; including, products, goods/services and outfitters throughout the state.
About Pheasants Forever
Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 140,000 members and 745 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent; the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure.