Dennis Jones wants to use pheasants to help raise money for charitable organizations.
On Jan. 2, he and his neighbors will give access to prime South Dakota pheasant hunting to people who make a donation to their favorite charity.
Those who donate are invited to his farm near Bath on Jan. 2 from noon to 4 p.m. They will be taken to land in the Bath, Columbia and Westport areas.
As many as 10 landowners will open up their land for the inaugural charity hunt. Jones is hoping for at least 100 participants.
According to Jones, the sloughs around here are full of roosters that need to be harvested for the health of the bird population. By thinning the roosters down, more hens will survive the winter.
The idea of a fundraising hunt was inspired by jackrabbit hunts from days gone by. Years ago, churches and organizations used to have jackrabbit drives to raise money for a good cause, Jones said. This is sort of the same concept except this time it's pheasants.
There are many deserving charities, Jones said. He suggests that people donate $100, but any amount is acceptable.
We all know there is a number of charities and foundations that carry a tremendous load on their backs for our community and our country. Jones continued, Almost every hunter I know is very civic-minded. This is why we are asking hunters to once more pull the shotgun out of the closet and tramp through the snow and rushes one more time and contribute what you can to a cause of your choice.
He hopes the hunt will generate $10,000 to $20,000 for area nonprofit organizations.
Hunters don't have to come just from this area. I wouldn't mind it if people from Sioux Falls drove up, he said.
People may make their donations on Jan. 2, or they may do it beforehand. Jones will not handle the money. Representatives of area banks will be on hand at the charity hunt.
Help is being provided by US Bank and First State Bank of Claremont locations in Claremont, Groton and Columbia.
For the most part, South Dakotans are in good shape. If you've got a heated house, running water, food in the refrigerator, a little money in the checking account, a shotgun and a box of shells, you're one of the luckiest 5 percent of the people in the world, Jones said.
He hopes an organization will take on the hunt in the future. I'd like to have somebody else carry the load next year and I'd be the host for it, he said.
It is essential that people make reservations beforehand, Jones said. To do so, call any of the people below. They are either land owners or people who have agreed to help.
They are Larry Gillies at 605-229-1739, Sterling Jones at 605-380-4455, Gabe Dutenhoeffer at 605-228-6894, Jim Sperry at 605-225-0493, John Lindquist at 320-815-9406, Larry Wheeting at 605-397-8111, John West at 605-886-1900, John Fogerty at 605-225-0521, Charlie Rea at 605-380-6047, Jeff Stohr at 605-397-2711, Marty Weismantel at 605-396-2341, Christy Martin at 605-226-4101 and Marty Micko at 605-294-5211.
From the Bath corner on U.S. Highway 12, Jones lives three miles north, one mile east and a half-mile north. His address is 12954 396th Ave.
Farmers who would like to donate the use of their land should call Jones at (605) 225-5427.