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New CREP Walk In Opens 50,000 Acres to South Dakota Pheasant Hunters

Look for this South Dakota CREP sign, and you've found conserved habitat that's open for pheasant hunting. Photo courtesy South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks.

Who’s making a pheasant hunting trip to South Dakota this year? You’ll have a few more acres to hunt thanks to the hard work of the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Pheasants Forever.

Even in pheasant-filled South Dakota, protecting wildlife habitat and maintaining access for pheasant hunters is a challenge. But South Dakota’s new Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) will, by the time SoDak’s pheasant opener rolls around on October 15th, have preserved more than 50,000 acres of pheasant-friendly habitat while simultaneously making those areas open to public hunting along eastern South Dakota’s James River Valley.

Like other “walk in hunting areas,” CREP lands are owned by private individuals who have enrolled them in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and signed a lease agreement with South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks to provide public hunting and fishing access. Matt Morlock, a Pheasants Forever Farm Bill Biologist based in Brookings, South Dakota, reported that as of May 31st, 45,504 acres were enrolled in the program, and that 5,000 acres-worth had just been sent for final approval; additionally, 10,000 more acres are in process for enrollment to the program. Morlock and Pheasants Forever’s 5 other Farm Bill Biologist in South Dakota are helping farmers and landowners enroll in CREP thanks to Pheasants Forever’s unique partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Ultimately, the goal of South Dakota’s CREP is to enroll up to 100,000 acres of eligible agricultural land located in the James River Watershed, and Morlock expects the state will reach that number within the next year – good news already for pheasant hunters and October 2012.

Field Notes are written and compiled by Anthony Hauck Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor. Email Anthony at AHauck@pheasantsforever.org and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauck.

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One Response to “New CREP Walk In Opens 50,000 Acres to South Dakota Pheasant Hunters”

  1. Christopher Yang says:

    My name is Christopher Yang. I am from Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. I would like to get some information on public and CREP private land so that I can coming for pheasant hunting in South Dakota. Please assist with any information that is available and I would very much appreciate.

    Thank you

    Christopher Yang


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