South Dakota Walk-In Area Program Turns 25
One of the nation’s most popular programs among pheasant hunters, South Dakota’s Walk-In Access, turns 25 this year. Walk-In Access has provided landowners with extra financial incentive to keep land in habitat, and pheasant hunters have utilized the program extensively, maintaining South Dakota’s perch as the top pheasant hunting destination in the country.
Under the program, private land is leased for public access and there are currently more than one million acres of private land enrolled across the state. The program started in 1988 with 26 South Dakota landowners taking part. Now, 25 years later, three of those original 26 contracts still have land leased for Walk-In Area. The four individuals involved in the three original contracts – Bud Thorpe, Dwight and Harold Wookey, and Robert Weber were recently honored by the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department for their involvement since the program’s inception.
In addition to protecting habitat and increasing hunting access, South Dakota’s Walk-Area program has become a model for other states to initiate similar programs.
All available Walk-In Area lands for the upcoming pheasant hunting season are mapped and marked South Dakota’s 2013 Public Hunting Atlas.
Have you ever hunted South Dakota Walk-In Area lands? Did you find pheasant hunting success?
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