By Nick Buggia, Upper Midwestern States Manager
Recently, newly elected South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem joined the Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus (GSC), a bipartisan group of governors from across the country who are dedicated to their sportsmen and women constituents.
“South Dakota is deeply rooted in outdoor traditions. Hunting, trapping, and fishing have played a significant role in my life, and they’re part of what makes our state so special. As South Dakota’s Sportsman in Chief, I’m honored to be part of this caucus as we work to strengthen outdoor traditions across the nation.” Said Gov. Noem.
South Dakota is home to nearly half a million hunters and anglers who contribute over $43 million to fish and wildlife conservation each year.
Gov. Noem is joined by several other elected officials who are dedicated to providing a voice for South Dakota’s sportsmen and women, including Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) members Senator Mike Rounds and Senator John Thune, and South Dakota Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucuses Co-Chairs Senator Gary Cammack and Representative Herman Otten.
A lifelong farmer and rancher, Gov. Noem is passionate about protecting and advancing South Dakota’s outdoor traditions. For years, Noem’s family owned and operated a hunting lodge in northeastern South Dakota, and her family farm has long participated in federal Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). A devoted hunter, Noem has called the opening day of pheasant hunting season an “unofficial holiday” for her family.
Formerly South Dakota’s U.S. Representative at-large, Noem fought for sodsaver protections in the 2014 Farm Bill, which helped save the region’s native grasslands. In 2018 Farm Bill negotiations, she was an avid proponent of CRP enhancement and expanded habitat preservation.
As governor, Noem has worked to increase resources for habitat management in order to protect the future of pheasant hunting in South Dakota. As the self-proclaimed Sportsman-in-Chief, she is working to bring new business to hunting lodges and agritourist attractions across the state.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?