Growing up in Murdo, South Dakota, the heart of upland game bird country, bird hunting has long been a tradition for South Dakota Senator John Thune. Today, it is still one of his favorite outdoor activities, one he shares each year with family and friends. Thune is not alone with his passion for hunting, as South Dakota has been dubbed the “Pheasant Capitol of the World.” Pheasant hunting alone generates, on average, $200 million a year to bolster the South Dakota economy. Overall, hunting and angling contributed $1.04 billion to the South Dakota economy in 2011.
Hunting and fishing are not just big business for South Dakota; they are part of the culture and a way of life for many residents. As Co-Chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus during the 113th Congress and a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, Senator Thune has been a champion of policies that have increased conservation programs and practices. He continues working tirelessly to protect South Dakota’s prairie grasslands and to keep its diverse landscape productive for farmers, ranchers, wildlife, and outdoor recreationists.
Senator Thune made certain strong conservation practices were included in the 2014 Farm Bill, including the Conservation Reserve Program, a common-sense policy linking eligibility for crop insurance premium subsidies to conservation compliance, and a sodsaver provision. Sodsaver limits crop insurance subsidies and indemnities on crops grown on newly converted sod throughout the Prairie Pothole Region, encouraging the protection of native grasslands.
Senator Thune is also a cosponsor of the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act, which includes his proposed legislation, the Hunting, Fishing, and Recreational Shooting Protection Act. This legislation would exclude ammunition and fishing tackle from being regulated by the federal government, leaving the regulation to state fish and game agencies and the fish and wildlife service.
“Hunting and fishing continue to be a strong South Dakota legacy and a source of pride for many of us. I am proud to be a Co-Chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus and am proud of the good work we have accomplished to support and advance legislation promoting the interests of sportsmen and women across the country.”
Senator Thune enjoys a day of pheasant hunting near White Lake, SD
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- Improve hunter and target shooter involvement in regulatory and legislative processes. (12.80%)
- Enact or expand temporary hunter education deferral programs (apprentice license programs, multiyear options, programs for all first-time hunters regardless of age, and programs promoting hunting of multiple game species). (10.40%)
- Offer shooting sports and hunter education as school activities and recreation programs. (61.60%)
- Link existing programming into family-oriented organizations (such as churches and home-school groups) where participants will have the social support to continue. (15.20%)