South Dakota airports are full of hunters in orange shirts and dogs in kennels in anticipation of the pheasant hunting season opener. Depending on their budget, some hunters are able to enjoy a very luxurious experience.
Stepping inside the main lodge of Torrey Lake, is when guests can immediately tell this will not be a typical hunting experience.
"We just don't expect anything mediocre and we make sure everything is top notch. Its expected and hunters won't come back if it wasn't that way," Said Darin Lewin, who owns Torrey Lake and specializes in showing customers a good time.
"We have a lot of doctors and lawyers, people who own their own businesses. it's a lot of professional people who don't have time out, basically they have a short time frame and when they get to some place, they want everything to go absolutely perfect," Said Lewin.
He prides himself on attention to detail in all aspects of the stay. His clients are picked up at the airport in a stretch hummer limousine and each room has a different guest's name on the door.
"Most have two beds, we got a dozen rooms with two beds, and most have a wild life print and all have a mounted pheasant in it and they all have their own bathroom," Said Lewin.
Hunters don't have to worry about cooking; all the meals are prepared by a full time chef.
"We spend a lot of time eating when we're out here and we eat pretty extravagant, basically the first night is a 22 ounce ribeye and it doesn't drop off from there," Said Lewin.
Guests can also use a gun from the lodge's large collection.
"Some people don't like to bring their own gun and travel with it, that's been a burden lately. So they'll come in here and choose a gun of their choice," Said Lewin.
His clientele keep a busy schedule.
"Eight a.m. is breakfast, then we hunt until noon. Then come back in and have lunch, then take a break, then back out to be field ready at two and hunt until five. Come in and serve hors d'oeuvres and eat at 7 o'clock and the rest of the evening is theirs to do with what they wish," Said Lewin.
Some take in a game of poker, or enjoy a drink from the stocked bar, which includes Torrey Lake's
own wine. But Lewin says most relax in the hot tub while they wait in line for the on-staff masseuse.
"Each hunter comes back here to get their massage and they absolutely love it, some get more than one and spend too much time back here," Said Lewin.
If you think the experience sounds a little over the top, you'll likely think the same thing about the price. All parties must have at least 12 hunters and each will spend $3,000 making a minimum package $36,000. But its a cost many say is worth every penny.
"That includes their license, including their guns. All ammunition is included, all the bird processing, the shipping to get the birds home to them, we give them a slideshow and send a dvd of everything that happened while they're here. Its all their food, its all the drink, its the cigars, its everything. They just need a comfortable pair of boots to walk in and we can take care of the rest," Said Lewin.
He wants his customers to enjoy every part of their stay from beginning to end.
"When we can walk them through the door and they say 'wow, its great.' And at the end of the hunt they say 'wow Darin, I had a great time.' Its very special and usually when they're walking out they say, 'I'll see you next year' and thats very good for me as well," Said Lewin.
And it shows roughing it doesn't have to be rough, if the price is right.
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