Busy Time of Year for Pheasant Hunting Lodges and Preserves

FLANDREAU, S.D.- As you might expect, pheasant hunting lodges and preserves are about to see an uptick in customers. KDLT’s Miranda Paige visited a preserve in Flandreau to see how they’re feeling about this pheasant season. 

There are a lot of smiles and laughter at al’s dream hunting in Flandreau. Hunters come for the birds, but stay for the friendship.

“It’s a sport you can do with a group of friends and you can have a good day of hunting, making fun of your friends on those missed shots. So it’s a good time,” said Virginia Hunter Phil Mcdermott.

Pheasant hunting season is the best time of year for the Johnson family who runs Al’s Dream Pheasant Hunting. 

“There’s a lot of people that we have met and become good friends and we enjoy seeing them again the next year. So to my family, it’s a big thing,” said Pedro Johnson, Co-owner of Al’s Dream Pheasant Hunting.

Around 80 percent of their visitors come from out-of-state. Often times the same groups return each year like hunters from Virginia, who’ve been coming for around 8 years.

“We feel like we made friends years ago and we just look forward to coming back and being with our friends. They treat us so well,” said Virginia Hunter Tom Winfree.

“It was just so much fun and the birds were so plentiful and the Johnson’s were so hospitable,” said Virginia Hunter Mike Spraker.

This year will be a little different at Al’s. At least half the usual hunting grounds are still underwater from rain and flooding. So hunters have to hunt on new ground.

“With all the crops still in, not being able to get to a few places because there’s water,” said Spraker. 

However, they’re staying optimistic that it will be a good hunting season. Hunters were already out at Al’s since it’s a preserve. There are plenty of pheasants and they came back with an ATV full of birds. They can’t wait to get back out this weekend to shoot even more. 

According to the State Tourism Department, resident and non-resident hunters combined spent nearly $209 million dollars during the 2018 pheasant season.

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