MITCHELL, SD -
Thousands of hunters are out in the fields this weekend enjoying the start of pheasant season. And these hunters are good for South Dakota's bottom line as businesses are also enjoying the money the pheasant hunt brings.
It's the best time of the year for Cabela's in Mitchell. While the numbers of pheasants are expected be down this year, the numbers for the store are exactly where they should to be.
"Business has been great, traffic has been up over last year which is absolutely wonderful," Retail Marketing Specialist Jen Johnston said.
The opening of pheasant season has been great to the outdoor recreation store, and the workers have given it a special name.
"We call it our Orange Friday as it is a bigger day here in Mitchell than our Black Friday is. So last Friday was our biggest day and throughout the weekend we call this our tan and blaze Christmas," Johnston said.
This weekend brings people in from all over the country, and by next weekend the store plans on having hunters from all 50 states. Ned Pierce is from Madison, Wisconsin, and has been hunting in South Dakota for part of six decades. The reason why he keeps coming back is simple.
"Well because of the pheasants of course, and I like South Dakota, the entire state, especially I like the western part of the state. In the intervening years when I wasn't in South Dakota I would hunt in Nebraska where my son lived, I also hunted in Iowa, but I prefer South Dakota," hunter Ned Pierce said.
When the hunters come into Cabela's some of the more popular products purchased are the upland apparel and ammunition, and Pierce said he usually goes straight to their gun library to add to his collection of 40 guns that he currently owns. Whatever brings people into their store, Johnston knows that pheasant hunting is a tradition that is not going away any time soon.
"People are still out hunting despite the bird numbers," Johnston said.
Director of the Mitchell Convention and Visitors Bureau Jacki Miskimins said that while the numbers are not official yet, the number of hunters that are visiting Mitchell are similar to last year at this time.
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