How Noem and Jackley plan to boost the state's pheasant industry

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Sioux Falls, SD (KSFY) As the National Pheasant Fest comes to Sioux Falls, two candidates for South Dakota’s governor have released their own initiatives to help boost the pheasant hunting industry in the state.

“I put out a pheasant initiative because it is incredibly important to the state of South Dakota,” candidate Kristi Noem said.

“It’s important because $700 million flow into the state because of pheasant hunting. It’s important because 80 to 100 thousand guest come into South Dakota,” candidate Marty Jackley said.

Republican candidates Kristi Noem and Marty Jackley released details on how they plan to boost the state's pheasant hunting industry.

“I think that low numbers and seeing less people come into our state to enjoy our pheasant season is a big concern for a lot of people,” Noem said.

“With the drought and loss of a lot of habitat with CRP land, the pheasant numbers are down, they're down as much as 45 percent.” Jackley said.

Both candidates propose a focus on habitat to help bring pheasant numbers up.

“When it comes to habitat we have to focus on getting more opportunities out there for land owners to participate in programs and we need funding sources and I’m committed to not raising taxes,” Noem said.

Noem is proposing a sportsman's license plate program and premium hunting licenses to help fund new habitat programs.

She also plans to focus on eliminating predators that can impact the pheasant population.

“Skunks, raccoons, foxes ravage our nests in the spring. If we have a bounty, which is one of my proposals in my initiative, on those predators during that season, it can make a huge difference on the population of birds we see in the fall,” Noem said.

“Coming forth with a $10 voluntarily habitat stamp to help partner with private industry to strengthen pheasant numbers, to have a pheasant restoration project to release birds in certain areas of the state where the numbers are really down.” Jackley said.

Jackley’s proposal includes public-private partnerships to help with habitat funding; he's also targeting the next generation of hunters.

“Get the youth involved, that’s a big part of it. This is the year my daughter shot her first pheasant at age 11; we should do everything we can to get our youth involved in this tradition,” Jackley said.

Both candidates say they also plan to work with people from all over the state who are impacted by pheasant hunting to make a long term plan for the future of the industry.