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Small Towns Prepare For Hunting Season

October 9, 2012, 10:00 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Small Towns Prepare For Hunting Season

The state is approaching the time of year when small-town South Dakota sees an economic boost thanks to hunters visiting the state.

For some, it's one of their only chances to cash in on the state's tourism industry. Many of them prepare now to cash in once the hunters come.

Sitting south of Aberdeen, the small town of Mellette isn't tagged as a tourist destination. But come hunting season, the community does what it can.

"We make sure we have the beverages, the snacks. We have hunting apparel; we also have shotgun shells," Mellette Travel Center employee Zina Shepherd said.

The gas station and convenience store Shepherd works for sees plenty of hunters. It hangs signs to help make that happen.

The small business sees surges in traffic other times during the year as well, but pheasant season is certainly one of them. And it is just one small-town business that'll benefit come hunting season.

"Oh they spend a lot of money," Terry Akin said.

Akin owns a lodge in Mellette, which hosts anywhere from 45 to 60 hunters on a given year. He says their spending trail starts in Aberdeen when they get off the plane and continues into Mellette and surrounding communities.

The bar and grill in Mellette sees triple the business for a month and a half during hunting.

"About anything you'd use on a day-to-day basis, they get locally," Akin said.

"We have a lot of out-of-state people that come through and locals," Shepherd said.

In addition to local advertising, some small-town businesses will work with the Aberdeen Convention and Visitors Bureau to help draw hunters.

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