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Pheasant Hunters Arrive In Sioux Empire

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Many are well aware this weekend is a big one for pheasant hunters, and at the Sioux Falls Regional Airport today; it was pretty hard to miss the slough of hunters that have started to arrive in the Sioux Empire.      


Saturday marks the opening day of pheasant season in South Dakota, and hunters from coast to coast are rolling into the Sioux Empire, ready for the big season opener.


“We’ve seen a few hundred come in this morning, but now this afternoon; it’s going to get very heavy. Then in the afternoon, it gets very very heavy,” says Teri Schmidt of the Sioux Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau.


Thursday afternoon, local businesses lined up at the gates to welcome them.


“They may fly in, then rent all kinds of vehicles. That’s a big business this time of year. You know, if they get here and they’re like, ‘you know the weather’s not what I expected,’ then they go buy clothing,” says Schmidt.  


Because of this, vendors are taking this opportunity to set up at the airport, ready to help the hunters with whatever they need; and in some cases, they enjoy seeing some familiar faces.


“Some of these people have come here for 50 years in a row, and a lot of them for 30 and 40 years. You get to visit with those people and you get to know them, so it’s kind of a big reunion,” says Schmidt.


That’s certainly the case for John Curry from Charleston, West Virginia. He just landed Thursday afternoon, making this his 34th hunting trip to Pukwana with his family.


“It started out with the great grandfather, grandfather, father, and now we’re on to grandchildren, probably,” says Curry.


That makes for a family tradition for many, and a tradition for all of us here in South Dakota.


Pheasant season will continue through the holidays before closing on January 6th.
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