SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota is the place to be this weekend. Thousands of out of state hunters arrived Friday for tomorrow’s pheasant opener.
As you’re about to see for a lot of them, pheasant hunting is all about family tradition.
The Sioux Falls Airport looked more like a hunting store today as out-of-state hunters arrived early before tomorrow’s pheasant opener. For a lot of these guys, it’s old hat.
“My first year was 1961”
91-year-old George Harvey from Virginia has been coming here to hunt for 57 years. Now he brings along his son and grandson.
He says hunting in South Dakota has changed over the years.
“Well, back in the 60’s there were so many birds, didn’t know what to do with them all, I remember waiting the first day that I came here waiting for the season open, and the birds were just sitting on the fence posts and on the fence all behind us, there were just everywhere birds” Harvey said.
The Game, Fish and Parks Department is here to greet the hunters with maps, information, and a little advice.
“I would definitely stay positive, we definitely do have some good bird numbers out there, you know we have a lot of our sloughs are full of water right now, yet you know across the state so don’t be afraid to check out some of them, you know, untraditional areas,” Jeremy Roe
But when it comes to tradition, Greg Johnson of Texas knows all about it.
“I started pheasant hunting when I was 11 years old, by Mitchell. Hunt with my father, didn’t carry a gun, but I walk down the center the slough to scare a bird for everyone else,” Johnson said.
For a lot of them who come here year after year, it’s about more than just hunting.
“The bird hunting is good, but the people are great the food has always been good and people treat us with kindness,” Harvey said.
But before they leave, they want at least one thing.
“One good ring neck with a long tail feathers,” Johnson said.
The pheasant opener begins at noon Saturday.