South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Honors Three Landowners for 25 Years of Hunting Access

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department is honoring four individuals who have taken part in the agency’s Walk-In Area program since its inception 25 years ago.

Access to land is an important part of hunting and the Walk-In Area program has played a major role in placing South Dakota among the nation’s best hunting locations. Under the program, private land is leased for public access and there are currently over one million acres of private land enrolled across the state.

The program started in 1988 with 26 South Dakota landowners taking part. Now, 25 years later, three of those original 26 contracts still have land leased for Walk-In Area.

The four individuals involved in the three original contracts – Bud Thorpe, Dwight and Harold Wookey, and Robert Weber – will be honored at the GFP Commission meeting on Aug. 1.

“Their participation in the Walk-In Area hunting access program has significantly contributed to South Dakota’s hunting heritage, culture, and economy,” SD GFP Secretary Jeff Vonk said.

“Every year over 200,000 people hunt in South Dakota to spend time with family and friends, enjoy the great outdoors and provide food for their tables.  Having a place to go hunting is a hunter’s primary concern, and these landowners have opened up opportunities for so many people,” Tony Leif, director of GFP’s Wildlife Division, said. “Thank you to Bud, Dwight, Harold, Robert and everyone else who has partnered with Game, Fish and Parks and our Walk-In Area program over the past 25 years. Your cooperation has helped make this program a model for many other states.”

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