South Dakota’s population went up tremendously over the weekend, for a 48-72 hour period anyway. Thousands of out-of- state hunters and in-state hunters flocked to their favorite place to shoot the Chinese Ringnecked Pheasant. Last year, South Dakota welcomed just shy of 97,000 out-of- state hunters, throw another 70,000 in-state hunters into the mix, and you soon realize how important that beautiful bird is to our economy. Pheasant hunting is a family tradition that dates back to 1908. It was in the small town of Redfield that it all started and it has being growing ever since.
My opening day started with a cup of coffee, one too many donuts and some socializing with my wife’s family as we gathered to start the day’s hunt near Presho. This chunk of land is dedicated to pheasant habitat and is graciously shared with friends and family.
It didn’t take long to get back in the swing of things. Shortly into the first field, the sounds of “HEN”, “ROOSTER” and the dreaded “STILL A ROOSTER” were hollered as a few pheasants escaped the first encounter of the year. For once, I can say that wasn’t me on our first walk. But not to worry, Federal Ammunition, my bird to shot-gun shell ratio wasn’t very good on this day! Opening day wasn’t as successful as years past. We harvested 23 roosters, as always it was a great time had by all. Unfortunately, I don’t I remember any of my brothers-in-law missing more birds than I, oh well some things will never change!