photo courtesy Getty Images

Gov. Dennis Daugaard  has announced  the members of a work group tasked with examining strategies for preserving and developing pheasant habitat in South Dakota.

In December the Governor hosted a meeting in Huron to discuss the declining bird numbers and the consequences of the loss of bird habitat. From that meeting a decision was made to spend more time and energy on solutions to the problem.


“Pheasant habitat and agriculture enjoy a symbiotic relationship in South Dakota,” Gov. Daugaard said. “The work group will look for practical ways we can solidify our status as the world’s greatest pheasant hunting destination while supporting agriculture – our number one industry.”


The thirteen pheasant habitat work group members are:


  • Pam Roberts, Pierre (Chair) – retired Secretary of SD Department of Labor and Regulation
  • Barry Dunn, Brookings – dean, College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences at South Dakota State University
  • Tim Kessler, Aberdeen – Pheasants Forever Board of Directors, former Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission chair
  • Mary Duvall, Pierre - District 24 state representative
  • Jason Frerichs, Wilmot – farmer, Senate Minority Leader, District 1 state senator
  • John Cooper, Pierre – GFP commissioner, former GFP Secretary
  • Steve Halverson, Kennebec – farmer, owner of Halverson Hunts
  • Jan Nicolay, Chester – former state representative, conservation advocate
  • Jeff Zimprich, Huron – USDA-NRCS state director
  • Doug Deiter, Faulkton – farmer
  • Jeff Vonk, Pierre – GFP Secretary
  • Lucas Lentsch, Pierre – SD Secretary of Agriculture
  • Nathan Sanderson, Pierre – Governor’s policy advisor for agriculture and GFP


The pheasant habitat work group will develop recommendations to the Governor focusing on practical solutions for maintaining and improving pheasant habitat.


The work group will meet periodically through June, with a final report completed in late summer 2014.


Members of the public may submit ideas for encouraging pheasant habitat development to All submissions will be considered by the work group.