March 11, 2020
NSSF Profile Q & A – Governor Kristi Noem (R – South Dakota)
Editor’s Note: We are pleased to post the latest of our occasional Q&A features with an elected official who supports hunting and the shooting sports. NSSF thanks South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R), for agreeing to talk with us.
Who introduced you to hunting/firearms, and at what age?
I grew up hunting. My dad took my siblings and me big-game hunting, and my Grandma Dorris made bird hunting a big part of our family heritage. Because we were introduced to hunting at such a young age, I’ve always understood the way guns fundamentally make us more safe, secure, and free. As we’ve passed along the love for hunting to our kids, my husband and I have instilled that respect for firearms in them, too. Because in South Dakota, the right to bear arms isn’t just an abstract right. It’s our way of life.
What was your most recent shooting sports/hunting experience? With whom?
Hunting is one of my family’s favorite past times, so we spend many weekends in the fields. Last fall, I had the opportunity to host my first Governor’s Pheasant Hunt, which brought dozens of business leaders from across the nation to South Dakota. It was a great experience to introduce them to my state’s booming business climate on the backdrop of one of my favorite outdoor activities.
Describe your favorite shooting sports/hunting activity. Which firearm? Where? What’d you shoot?
South Dakota is the only state that shoots its state bird (Ringneck Pheasant), and it’s something we certainly enjoy doing! My son, Booker, loves waterfowl hunting, and my brothers and I enjoy archery big game hunting. I love my time outdoors no matter what we’re going after. My shotgun is a 20 gauge Benelli, and I shoot a Mathews bow.
Which is a legislative accomplishment related to firearms that is important to you?
The first bill I signed into law when I became governor established Constitutional Carry in order to further protect the Second Amendment rights of South Dakotans. I firmly believe that the right to bear arms is just as important today as it was when it was penned into our Constitution, and this law further gives people in my state the freedom to choose the best method of carrying for them.
What do you see as the challenges and opportunities for hunters and shooting sports enthusiasts during the current SD legislative session, or maybe even during this Congressional session on the national level?
We recently celebrated 100 years of pheasant hunting in South Dakota, and I’ve made it a focus to protect and expand habitat so our hunting culture can stay strong for another century. Here in South Dakota, we are investing heavily in habitat and focusing on growing and preserving our reputation as a sportsman’s paradise and Pheasant Capitol of the World.
I was grateful for President Trump’s support of habitat through the 2018 Farm Bill that expanded CRP acres, creating more natural nesting places for pheasants and protective cover for farmland. At the state and federal levels, it is important to continue protecting the Second Amendment right and proactively pursuing programs that support our nation’s hunting culture and our South Dakota way of life.
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