Despite Decrease in Birds, Hunters Enjoy Pheasant Season Opener

EMERY, S.D.- Thousands of hunters from all over the country are in South Dakota, also known as the “Pheasant Capital of the World”. Despite the decrease in the number of birds this year, hunters are optimistic to go home with a feathered prize.

“If it flies, it dies; if it’s brown, it’s down,” says Arizona resident Gary Marcum.

It’s that time of year again, where out of state hunters from all over like Gary Marcum flock to South Dakota. All after one thing.

“Pheasants however are very nervous, they are very nervous because they have heard that I have arrived,” says Marcum. “It’s going to be a big deal,”

With every bird they score comes excitement.

“This is Christmas in October. In fact, I don’t think we are even going to celebrate Christmas this year, this is it,” says Marcum.

For the past 6 years, Gary has been stepping into the fields of A1 Al’s Pheasant Ranch and this year he brought his friend and son to share the experience with.

“South Dakota is considered the “Capital of Pheasant Hunting” in the United States, it’s very good, “says Marcum’s friend and Iowa resident, Kirk Petersen.

Despite their being a 45 percent decline in birds compared to last year. Owners of A1 Al’s Pheasant Ranch in Emery say they are not worried.

“I think we are pretty fortunate around here as far as the moisture we got throughout the summer,” says Owner of A1 Al’s Pheasant Ranch, Brady Terveen.

Neither are the hunters.

“I’ve been hunting in South Dakota many times before and I have had really good success,” says Petersen. “So I am looking forward to comradery with friends,”

As the weekend continues, the owners say they hope the hunters enjoy themselves and leave feeling the South Dakota hospitality.

“Cause everybody has birds; if you are good to people, have a nice clean place, and good food, they’ll come back,” says Terveen.

A1 Al’s Pheasant Ranch is hosting around 40 hunters from the South, Midwest and East coast. Pheasant open season will run October 21st through January 7th.

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