Every year, the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks gives an award for the Habitat Partner of the Year. Each year GFP works with hundreds of landowners and individuals conducting habitat work, providing assistance, and demonstrating innovative approaches to developing, managing, and enhancing wildlife habitat. Recently, Brady and Wendi Rinehart of rural Highmore were nominated and chosen as the 2012 SD GFP Habitat Partner of the Year in central South Dakota.
I congratulate them on receiving that award. The award is not only a recognition by the GF&P Department but also a big “Thank You” for going above and beyond for wildlife and all citizens to enjoy. Along with that award, the Rineharts were given some signs from Game, Fish and Parks to post around their property. Next time you see them please congratulate them on their award as Habitat Partner of the Year.
I am currently in the process of renewing Walk-In-Areas (WIA) and looking for new areas to sign up. WIAs are private land that is leased to the state of South Dakota on a yearly basis. WIA’s are signed up at $1 per acre with a $5-per-acre habitat bonus if there is permanent habitat left undisturbed on the landscape. There is no minimum or maximum amount of land that a landowner can enroll. Currently, around a million acres in South Dakota are enrolled in the WIA program. These areas are open for public hunting, and they are published in the Hunting Atlas that is put out by GFP each year.
The WIA program has been extremely successful in South Dakota over the last 20 + years, with new areas added each year. WIAs provide a valuable resource to sportsmen for a variety of hunting opportunities including pheasants, ducks, deer and antelope. If you are interested in enrolling some land into the program or would like more information on the program, please give me a call and we can set up a time to meet and discuss it.
A few application deadlines are fast approaching. Both the East River and West River special buck applications are due on April 19. All resident elk applications and the Gavins Point Dam paddlefish archery and snagging applications are due on May 20.
If you have any questions, concerns or comments feel free to contact my office at 853-3644. If you need to contact the state trapper please contact his office directly at 223-7645.
WILDLIFE CONSERVATION OFFICER, left, presents the GFP Central South Dakota Habitat Partner of the Year to Brady Rinehart, along with some signs to post around his property.
Rineharts receive ‘Dakota Habitat’ award