blhunter3 wrote:I was actually seeing more pheasants this spring then I have in the last two springs. It was looking promising, but this last blizzard didn't get them out at all. I think the good ol days of pheasant hunting are past us now.
Until the rules of CRP are changed, or the commodity prices stay low again, look forward to very little CRP.
Yep, between that and the drain tilers going right through wetlands and people cutting trenches with absolutely nobody watching. I can go straight to the USFW wetland mapper and pretty much lay out about 50 percent of the drain tile going in the last couple years and it is right through wetlands. The sloughs are the only cover left and they will be gone before we know it. Heck I can drive 10 sections directly adjacent where I live in the country and in under an hour find 20 wetlands from the roadways that no longer exist in wet years that 15 years ago were wetlands year round every year. These are mapped out wetlands recognized by USFW and USGS mapping.
And all along we made it easy for them. In the 80's the counties in south dakota fought and fought for, and finally got the legislature to hand over all authority on drainage to local county drainage boards. Then when we got super wet in the late 90's and 2000's everyone was ticked at either drainage projects they were approving or when the country drainage boards told people they had to do drainage studies prior to draining their lands onto their neighbors or into major drainage's to assure they weren't affecting anyone downstream of them. Since these drainage boards were almost exclusively county commissioners it didn't take long for them to piss enough people off that all the drainage boards dissolved in fear of being voted out.
Now if your neighbor drains all his water on you the only recourse in south dakota is to sue him. The only other entity trying at all is the NRCS but they may "catch" one wetland drainer a year, and that would be a lot as I have only heard of 2 in a 10 county area being caught and prosecuted in the last 10 years.
For upwards of 10 years I listened to the county commissions and farmers claim there wasn't any draining going on but you can look at google maps and see the ditches that have been cut. The Hefty brothers on TV on sundays claiming how great drain tile is and that it's better than the system mother nature worked out all by itself that naturally cleared the water, produced our ecological system and recharged shallow aquifers. Watching the largest sloughs expand and expand turning into lakes while all the small sloughs slowly disappear, finally resulting in the owner of the largest slough to cut a channel to the nearest stream or river.
We are doing exactly what MN, Kansas, Iowa and other states did in the past to kill off their pheasants, upland game, ducks and destroy their water quality. I get it, farmers got to make money and it isn't their job to raise wildlife for us all, it's just really sad to see and it is 100 percent illegal when it comes to draining wetlands.
Soon only the preserves will have pheasant hunting here and the steady decline of nonresident pheasant hunters will only speed up as they figure it out and just hunt the preserves close to home vs coming here to shoot pen raised birds.