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MITCHELL, S.D.—Standing at the front of a Sioux Falls hotel conference room at a nationwide gathering, Pheasants Forever's top official told a collection of hunters to look around the room. "If those people look like you, you're not doing your job," said Howard Vincent, Pheasants Forever's president and CEO, during February's National Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic. Vincent then passionately described the need and importance to diversify the collection of people who go hunting.
BRIDGEWATER, S.D. — A four-day September rainstorm rolled through southeastern South Dakota this week, putting a damper on the start of what may have been an early harvest season. As of 3 p.m. Thursday, Mitchell received a total of 4.69 inches of rain since Monday, according to the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls. That includes a daily record for Sept. 19 of 2.12 inches, which fell Wednesday. Mitchell's previous Sept. 19 rainfall record was 1.6 inches. Charles Liesinger laughed when asked when he'll get back in the field to harvest.
MITCHELL, S.D.—Here's a bit of a rooster rush. The South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Department is reporting a 47 percent increase from last year in its annual pheasant brood survey, which was released Monday, Aug. 27. Officials are reporting a statewide count of 2.47 pheasants per mile, which is similar to 2014's survey at 2.68. That year, an estimated 1.2 million pheasants were harvested.
CHANCELLOR, S.D. — Jeff Spieler studies and teaches corn characteristics. He'll even refer to the plant as having blonde hair and blue eyes. "What I mean by that," he said, "is the traits we're looking for. Does it have yield potential, drought tolerance and disease tolerance?" On a recent muggy August morning, Spieler checked in at a training site, a plot of land near Chancellor, where rows of different types of his Asgrow corn are stretched tall.
PIERRE, S.D.—The search for South Dakota's pheasant population began this week. State officials got this year's annual pheasant brood survey routes started Wednesday, which continues for three weeks into mid-August. And, the state's top upland game biologist said the heavy amounts of rain that much of eastern South Dakota received this year spring will play a large role in the pheasant population.
JAMES RIVER — Splashed and speckled in mud, Dave Lucchesi jumped into action. He quickly stepped over the slow-moving James River, from one boat into another, to take control of the wheel as flathead catfish emerged one by one. For 30 years, Lucchesi has worked as a fisheries biologist for the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Department. During a recent morning, he maneuvered a boat back and forth near Kelly's Cove, northeast of Yankton, as his partner, B.J. Schall, netted and unhooked the whisker-faced creatures as a part of a two-year state study on catfish.
The look and follow-up question are almost always the same. "What do you think of that?" Two girls. Our second child, due May 19, is a little girl. She'll be just about four years younger than our first child, Grace. Yeah, we found out the sex of our soon-to-arrive child. We decided not to find out what we were having before Grace was born. The way I looked at it, there was one opportunity to have your first child be a complete surprise. The build-up and reveal were indescribable.
PIERRE, S.D.—One out of every five juvenile arrests last year in South Dakota was related to drugs, putting a somber outlook on a problem at the forefront of the state's law enforcement. There were 1,056 juvenile arrests for drugs, narcotics or drug paraphernalia last year in the state, according to the new Attorney General's Crime in South Dakota report released Wednesday. That's quite the jump from 2008 when there were 573 juvenile arrests for the same violations.
PIERRE — He's the state's non-meandered waters mediator. Kevin Robling was put on special assignment by the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Department last year to implement House Bill 1001, aka the non-meandered waters legislation enacted following a special session in June last year. His job puts him at the epicenter of what sometimes seems to be an insurmountable task — helping outdoor enthusiasts find common ground with South Dakota landowners to allow recreational opportunities such as fishing and hunting.
MITCHELL, S.D. — "Tale as old as time ... True as it can be ..." Could you hear Mrs. Potts? I don't even need to watch "Beauty and the Beast" to hear her motherly voice singing perfectly to the tune that almost every parent knows. In 1991, Disney came out with the animated version of "Beauty and the Beast" that was redone and released last year with human actors Emma Watson (Belle), Luke Evans (Gaston) and others.