It's an event that Black Hills Pheasants Forever Vice President Terry Hulm looks forward to every year, and this year he thinks it'll be as big as ever.

The chapter is hosting it's annual banquet at the Rushmore Civic Center in LaCroix Hall on Friday. 

"It’s a faced past night, we really try to encourage people to bring their families because we have games and activities for families," Hulm said. "This is our one and only effort to raise funds; we put everything into it. We work really hard."

The efforts of that hard work will begin to show at 4 p.m. when the doors open. From 4-6 p.m. there will be raffles, games and snack items. From 6-7 p.m. will be the seven-course meal, and following that will be the live auction that begins at 7 p.m. Hulm said the chapter likes to have it wrapped up by 9:30 p.m.

From 4-6 p.m. there will also be a silent auction where Hulm said there will be 130 items. The live auction will consist of 30 items.

The cost for a banquet ticket is $60 which includes a year membership, can additional $25 for a spouse and $20 for a child under 16 which includes a membership as a ringneck.

In times like this, Hulm said the work the organization does is important. It is no secret South Dakota faced a very tough drought over the summer. The annual survey done by South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Aug. 25 showed a 45 percent decrease in the number of pheasants per-mile statewide from 2016.

The survey also showed that the number is the lowest pheasants-per-mile number since 1979.

"We have to remember that over 80 percent of South Dakota experienced some level of drought by mid-July," department secretary Kelley Hepler told the Mitchell Republic in late August. "During very severe drought conditions, pheasant nesting success and chick survival can be reduced due to less cover and a reduction in insects for chicks to feed on."

Still, Hulm said there are plenty of birds where he's been, and he thinks that the work of preserving those habitats is even more important once extreme weather strikes.

"There’s nothing we can do about the weather, so the one mediating factor irregardless of the weather is habitat, and that's why we call ourselves a habitat organization. we focus on development and restoration to help not just pheasants, but all animals," he said. "This isn’t the pheasant capital of South Dakota but there are some pretty compatible areas out here to the Eastern side of the state, so the money isn’t wasted."

Hulm said a small portion of the money raised by the chapter goes towards lobbying for farm bills and different legislation in Washington D.C. that the group thinks will be beneficial to pheasant hunting in South Dakota.

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The dinner will also take a look at a big step forward for all Pheasants Forever chapters in South Dakota. The large pheasant hunting convention Pheasant Fest will be in Sioux Falls in February, it will be the first time South Dakota is hosting the national convention.

"It’s a big deal, we’re trying to get everyone who is a Pheasant Forever member from South Dakota to attend," Hulm said.

Hulm said the dinner is more than just a way to raise funds, give away items and get people excited for the 2018 Pheasant Fest in Sioux Falls. It's a celebration.

It's a celebration of the bird that these hunters want to make sure is around for a long time.

"One of the big benefits is being able to hunt and enjoy them as a food resource, and the beauty of them," Hulm said. "Something about a cackling rooster at your feet, I’ll never get sick of that."

Contact Geoff Preston at geoffrey.preston@rapidcityjournal.com

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Sports Reporter

Sports reporter for the Rapid City Journal.