Saturday is the pheasant season opener in South Dakota.
Many businesses are banking on the extra traffic that comes along with the tradition.
Hunters are in for a treat when they check in at Ramkota Hotel in Watertown.
Goodie bags are just one of the ways General Manager Deb Stanely and her staff roll out the orange carpet for hunters.
October will be a highlight for the hotel during what’s been a challenging year in the hospitality industry.
“We are so looking forward to being busy and having the business,” Watertown Ramkota Hotel General Manager Deb Stanley said.
The hotel is getting ready to welcome hunters from all over the country, including Texas and North Carolina.
The store manager of Runnings in Watertown says the business will start to see more hunters trickle in today and tomorrow.
“We’re always busy at Runnings, but we do see an uptick and it’s so important for us and all the other places in town too to get those people in there and provide them with a good service,” Watertown Runnings Store Manager Karla Whiting said.
The extra traffic will be especially important this year.
“We haven’t had as hard of a time as other states, but we definitely have had a big pivot in who we’re seeing, a lot of events cancelled and things like that. This is absolutely critical that we get the numbers we normally get to keep our fall and winter tax revenues up,” Watertown Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director Julie Knutson said.
That’s why Stanley and her staff are ready for the busy weekend to begin.
“We’re here to welcome those out-of-town guests. We’re here to welcome the in-state guests. We’re here to welcome everyone to Watertown,” Stanley said.
Watertown will be hosting events to welcome hunters on Friday and Saturday.
Both business we spoke with do have COVID-19 safety measures in place, including extra cleaning and making hand sanitizer available.