South Dakota Wild Turkey Strategic Plan Synopsis
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SOUTH DAKOTA — The National Wild Turkey Federation’s South Dakota State Chapter and the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks (SDGFP) have announced a plan that will further secure the future for wildlife in the Mount Rushmore State.
The plan, known as the North American Wild Turkey Management Plan (NAWTMP), helps ensure that wild turkey populations and habitats are managed in a way that benefits a broad spectrum of wildlife, not just the wild turkey.
In addition to specific habitat goals for South Dakota such as planting more than 30,000 shrubs in riparian (river-based) areas and establishing winter food sources for turkeys and other wildlife, the plan outlines other state goals for research, education, outreach and hunter access. The NWTF’s proactive, multi-tiered approach is already producing tangible benefits for outdoor enthusiasts in South Dakota.
Recently, the NWTF’s South Dakota Chapter joined the SDGFP and other partners in helping to purchase land for two public hunting areas – the new Lee Hofer Waterfowl Production Area near Humboldt, S.D., and the expanded Ryan Game Production Area near Elk Point, S.D.
“The South Dakota Chapter of the NWTF is pleased to help purchase these lands and make them available to the public for their enjoyment,” said Dean Schueler, NWTF South Dakota State Chapter president.
Jared McJunkin, NWTF’s South Dakota regional biologist, added that these recent land purchases are two perfect examples of how the NAWTMP meshes with the NWTF’s More Places To Hunt initiative.
“Hunters represent a very important part of wildlife management, and we’re proud to help provide more opportunities for people to experience South Dakota’s proud outdoor traditions,” noted McJunkin. “Wild turkeys, ring-neck pheasants, elk, white-tailed deer and small game animals will benefit from our efforts, but non-game species such as songbirds, woodpeckers and bald eagles will benefit from this as well.”
NWTF’s Senior Vice President of Conservation Programs, James Earl Kennamer, Ph.D, predicted more conservation triumphs for South Dakota and other areas across North America.
“By custom-tailoring our plans on a state, regional and national basis, we will make our teamwork as effective as possible and provide the most benefits for wildlife and outdoor enthusiasts alike,” said Kennamer. “The North American Wild Turkey Management Plan is our road map to conservation success.”
The NWTF will continue to work with state wildlife agencies, the USDA’s Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and numerous other partners to maintain wild turkey habitat on millions of acres of public and private properties across North America.
“The NWTF’s long-term relationships with these partners were key to the restoration of the wild turkey across the U.S., and having them on board is a blessing for the wild turkey’s future,” Kennamer said.