6″ x 12″
Oil on Wood
The Ring Necked Pheasant is a bit of an outlier. Though this immigrant is originally from Asia, most like me, are proud to call it an American. We are used to calling non-natives, like the zebra mussel, asian carp, tegu lizard, and lion fish by another name : invasive species – due to their negative effects on a foreign ecosystem. However, the Pheasant mostly eats bugs and grain, and doesn’t hurt anyone with it’s presence. Arguably, no other non-native species has indirectly done more for conservation in the United States than the Pheasant.
In South Dakota alone, where the Pheasant is the state bird and held in high regard, hunting for these birds generates 223 million in retail sales annually. Additionally, they generate a lot of jobs – putting 111 million in the pockets of South Dakotans every year. But what’s most impressive is what people do on behalf of Pheasant hunting. In 2014 alone, Pheasants Forever, a non-profit to perpetuate hunting of the species, raised over 82 million dollars – with over 90% of that going to protect 1.4 million acres of land and facilitate over 475,000 habitat projects. These projects not only help out pheasants, but are beneficial for other species like deer, fox, coyote, and countless others. All that being said, I think that we should give credit where credit is due. We should thank and support those who come from all around the world to help make America great. When it comes to people: Forget the travel ban. Forget the wall. Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Remember that we are a nation of immigrants who are striving for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.