SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO)–The weather may be taking a turn into winter this week, but it’s not deterring pheasant hunters from flocking to the pheasant capital of the world.
Just how much traffic Cabela’s in Mitchell is seeing this first week of the season in tonight’s Your Money Matters.
“It is the biggest deal for us. It trumps our Black Friday sales and anything else we do here in Mitchell for our location,” Mitchell Cabela’s General Manager Ben Grenier said.
Cabela’s Pheasant Classic draws in a constant flow of traffic to Mitchell every October.
“It’s in the thousands in terms of transactions,” Grenier said.
“I see people with shotguns and pheasant feathers,” North Carolina hunter Jeff Hammond said.
You’ll find plenty of southern accents inside the central South Dakota store this time of year.
“I’m out here to try to kill some things called pheasants. I understand this right here, especially Mitchell, is the pheasant hunting capital of the world,” Hammond said.
That notoriety brings in all kinds of accents from all over the world.
“We get every state in the country, and we get a lot of foreign customers that come from Canada or from even Europe, and other countries like that, so it’s a national and even global atmosphere around here,” Grenier said.
It’s why Cabela’s in Mitchell makes sure their store is a one-stop shop for everything hunters visiting the region might need.
“We have our chamber out here, we have local businesses that come out and actually set up out here because we’re the hub of activities,” Grenier said.
“We’re going to take care of our out-of-state license and get some ammunition and hey, when you go to a store, what do most people do in the store? Got to shop a little bit, maybe buy a shotgun, buy some orange camo,” Hammond said.
Even though the forecast isn’t great this week, it still means a lot of business for people switching out that summer gear for more of the winter gear.
“It affects how they dress and what gear they take out in the field,” Grenier said. “Over the weekend we had a lot of sales of short-sleeved t-shirts and warmer weather gear. A lot of our customers now are looking for coats and gloves and hats and all that for the colder weather coming.”
Even though they may have to layer up a little more than opening weekend, visiting hunters are excited to get out and experience everything South Dakota has to offer this pheasant season.
“Right now things look a little bit gloomy, but you know what, no hill for a climber and if you’re a hunter, you’re ready for inclement weather, just hopefully it doesn’t hurt the hunting as far as I’m concerned,” Hammond said.
Even as winter moves in, Cabela’s in Mitchell says they continue to see a steady increase in pheasant hunting traffic for several months as local and visiting hunters take in the season that lasts through January.