The Game, Fish and Parks Department has honored Jim Schaeffer, Jr. of Montrose as the GFP South Dakota Habitat Partner of the Year.

The Habitat Partner award is presented annually by GFP, and honors individuals in four separate regions who have worked in cooperation with GFP to provide quality habitat management practices on their land. Schaeffer was selected for the statewide Habitat Partner award from four regional landowners honored as habitat partners.

Besides Schaeffer, those honored on a regional level were Brady and Wendi Rinehart of Highmore, Richard Kovarik of Rapid City, and Larry Schuster of Eden.

Schaeffer was honored at the March GFP Commission meeting for land management practices, in particular the use of native grasses and food plots, on his land that have provided valuable wildlife habitat. He owns 160 acres of land in McCook County and another 160 acres in Lake County. He also manages 560 acres of land in McCook County for other landowners who have a desire to provide quality wildlife habitat.

“Jim’s love of wildlife is evident in the care he uses and proactive management practices he employs to maintain quality habitat,” GFP Wildlife Division Director Tony Leif said. “He provides timely haying, burning and chemical treatment to maintain a healthy mix of native grasses. He adds both traditional and non-traditional plantings in food plots to attract a variety of wildlife, and in particular deer.”

Schaeffer also hosted South Dakota State University wildlife and fisheries students who were enrolled in a habitat management course. The students were able to use some of his property for project areas to develop their skills and provide Schaeffer with ideas for further improving his properties.

“Area youth have further benefited from the bounty of wildlife on Jim’s property through youth hunting opportunities that he has provided,” Leif said. “Jim and habitat partners like him are the key to the future of wildlife and hunting in South Dakota, providing both habitat and hunting opportunity that adds to everyone’s quality of life.”

Logo courtesy South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks

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