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GFP News - May 25, 2016


Pheasant Hunters Spend Big Money in South Dakota

PIERRE, S.D. -The Ring-necked Pheasant means fun and memories for South Dakotans and its visitors, but it also means big money to main streets across the state.

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) statistics reveal 150,037 pheasant hunters spent over $170.1 million dollars in the state in 2015. A further breakdown reveals that 84,903 nonresident hunters spent $140.3 million, while 65,134 resident hunters spent approximately $29.8 million in 2015.

"South Dakota is a hunting destination for people across the country and the world," said GFP Secretary, Kelly Hepler. "Pheasant hunting plays a big part in our quality of life, and it continues to be an economic driver for businesses across the state."

The economic and harvest statistics by county can be found online at The counties with the highest hunter spending for 2015 were: Tripp, Brule, Brown, Lyman, Spink and Beadle.
“It is no accident that the places where the most money is spent by pheasant hunters are the places where large tracts of quality habitat exist," concluded Hepler. "Ag producers know that quality habitat means high pheasant numbers; which results in thousands of visitors wearing blaze orange."

These county-specific spending estimates were generated by applying mean per-hunter spending estimates to the number and distribution of pheasant hunters as derived from the 2015 GFP upland game harvest surveys.


Fort Sisseton Annual Historical Festival Approaching

PIERRE, S.D. - On June 3-5, Fort Sisseton will host its historical festival. The annual event expects a large turnout; previous years have brought in more than 15,000 visitors.
The festival charges a $5 admission fee or $25 per night to camp onsite for the event. The historical festival allows visitors to relive history in a re-enactment of frontier life.

The three day event stages scenes of early settlement when muzzleloaders, riflemen and more participate in a rendezvous gathering. The rendezvous is complete with fur traders and both military and teepee encampment sites. Rendezvous traders and campers will compete in Tomahawk throws and black powder shoots.

The event features food and craft vendors throughout the weekend. The historical festival offers activities to showcase frontier life such as fiddle music, period oriented dance instruction classes, arts and craft shows and a costume ball.

Please note that the melodrama originally scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on Saturday has been cancelled, and the 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday Gatling gun demonstration has been replaced with a cannon demonstration.

For the full schedule and other information, visit:

For camping reservations: or 1.800.710.2267.


McVicker Named Brook Brown Boating Officer of the Year

PIERRE, S.D. - The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators has named Bryce McVicker the 2016 Brook Brown Boating Officer of the Year. McVicker is a conservation officer for the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) and is stationed in Watertown.

"McVicker has done an outstanding job in the field of boating law enforcement and has been a consistent presence on the waters in and around the Watertown area," said Brandon Gust, GFP boating law administrator. "Duty stations, like that of Watertown, can be overwhelming at times and often require a lot of the officers.  McVicker has gone above and beyond in balancing the work that he does and has given special attention to his area lakes."

Gust acknowledged that McVicker has set forth a shining example of how boating  enforcement work should be done in this state and has made many contributions to the field that have not only made him a better officer, but also those that have had the opportunity to work with him.

"In addition to the normal duties of a conservation and boating law enforcement officer, McVicker serves as a department boating enforcement instructor and contributes much to the learning of his fellow officers in the area of boating enforcement," Gust added. "Amongst all that McVicker has contributed to the department, he has continued to ensure the boaters of South Dakota have a safe and enjoyable place to recreate and has done an outstanding job of preserving public safety for all."

About the Award: The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators' (NASBLA) award is presented annually to the boating law enforcement officer who has made outstanding contributions to the field of boating law enforcement.

The awards program consists of three levels: state, regional and national. State nominees are selected by the state boating law administrator. State nominees continue to regional competition, where they are reviewed, and one winner per region is selected by the three regional awards committees. Regional award winners are submitted to NASBLA’s Awards Committee for review and selection of the national award.

The South Dakota award was renamed to honor a previous recipient and GFP conservation officer, Brook Brown. Brown lost his battle with cancer during the summer of 2012 and was well known for his contributions to the state’s boating enforcement and education efforts


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