South Dakota pheasant opener draws in hunters from all over the country

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Pheasant hunting season officially kicks off Saturday morning and hunters from all over the country are already making their way to South Dakota ahead of the big day.

Stroll through the Sioux Falls airport on Friday and you’ll see plenty of orange. Hunters are making their way from across the country to take in this season’s pheasant opener.

It’s something 87-year-old Earl Whaley has come from Tennessee to take part in.

“I’ve been coming here for 19 years, a friend of mine invited me to come, I’ve got my son, I’ve got my grandson with me, and we’ve been staying in Mitchell and hunt in Plankinton,” Earl Whaley said.

He says they typically go hunting in the Plankinton area.

“This year we’ve got 21 in our group that are meeting, several from all over the country, they’re friends of mine,” Whaley said.

Whaley isn’t the only one at the airport who has pheasant hunting as a tradition.

“In a row, I think 21 years, but prior to that I think it’s been on and off, but I have friends from 60 years ago I come see,” hunter that traveled from Arizona, Mark Dilly said.

While Dilly will be spending time hunting in the Faulkton area, it’s also a time for him to catch up with friends.

“The hunting is wonderful, I just love the country, clean air, people here are midwestern values and fun to be around, welcoming, and old friends, and have made a lot of new friends over the years hunting in this area,” Dilly said.

An experience that will keep these guys coming back for years to come.

“We appreciate your hospitality and enjoy coming back again,” Whaley said.

The pheasant opener starts at 10:00 a.m. Saturday morning.

For more information on hunting, including safety tips and the state pheasant population, click here.

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