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October 23, 2017 09:59 PM

Hunters Fly Home After Successful Opener

Even though pheasant numbers in South Dakota are down this year by 45 percent, a lot of hunters are still enjoying success.  

KELOLAND News caught up with a couple out-of-staters at the airport, who were getting ready to board their plane for home. 

They came.  They saw.  They shot, a lot. 

The pheasant opener in South Dakota got off with a bang. 

Now it's time to go home for some. 

Jack Petrando is flying to Phoenix after a great three days of hunting near Pierre.  

"Yeah, we got a lot of birds.  I shot six myself; shot more than I would have like to have.  Little rusty.  It's been awhile, but it was a good hunt," Petrando said. 

Fred Toney is from Denver.  He hunted with a group of 20 people near White Lake.

"A lot of wind, but you know it was a great challenge.  First day was a little bit chilly, but we limited out.  Sunday was a little warmer," Toney said. 

The birds aren't the only reason so many hunters keep coming back year after year.  For Petrando, this was his second time here. 

"I like being outside.  I like being outdoors.  Nice clean air.  Gets some exercise; walk around," Petrando said. 

For Toney, it was his third hunt in South Dakota. 

"The camaraderie and the hunting is great.  We've never failed to find lots of birds out here," Toney said. 

That's why most say no matter how many pheasants there are in South Dakota, as long as the birds are flying here, they'll keep flying here too. 

Airport officials say Tuesday and Wednesday will be the two busiest days of the week with hunters flying back home. 

The pheasant season doesn't end until January 7.

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