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Groups partner to expand accessible game habitats in South Dakota

Two parcels of land, one in Stanley County and one in Day County along Bitter Lake, are transitioning from private land to public assess land.

Pheasants Forever acted as a broker in the Stanley County land acquisition.

Jake Hanson is the regional development officer for Pheasants Forever. He said his organization brought individuals and organizations together to buy the land.

“The landowners that owned this property, it's about 560 acres, they approached the local Pheasants Forever chapter in the Pierre/Ft. Pierre area and said, ‘This has been enrolled in walk-in access for many years, we are thinking about selling it, and we would like to permanently protect this property. What could Pheasants Forever do as a partner?’ And we put together a fundraising effort to purchase that 560-acre property in Stanley County,” said Hanson.  

Pheasants Forever is donating the land to GFP this summer.

The Bitter Lake area parcel of 320 acres is being purchased by GFP from the family of William B. and Florence Davis.

The Davis family is selling the acreage to the state at one-tenth of the appraised price. The Bitter Lake parcel includes 298 acres of water and 22 separate acres of island offering prime locations for waterfowl hunters.

The state will manage and pay property taxes on both parcels of land.

Tom Kirschenmann is the Director of Wildlife for South Dakota Game Fish and Parks. He said even though most of the land in this acquisition was donated, GFP wants to follow all proper procedures.

“Even in the case of this, as a donation, we will take those same steps to make people aware of it, that you are considering that and we will take formal action by you the commission. Giving the acceptance and approval to go through that process in acquiring that property even though it's gonna be a hundred percent donation to the agencies,” said Kirschenmann.  

The donated properties will connect other GFP game-production areas and offer an increase in public land for hunting this season.

Evan Walton is an SDPB reporter based in Sioux Falls. Evan holds a Master’s in English Literature from Southern New Hampshire University and was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 2015, where he served for five years as an infantryman.