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Officials report a strong opening weekend for pheasant season

George Vandel and his German wirehair Thena with a rooster
Kevin Woster
George Vandel and his German wirehair Thena with a rooster

Opening weekend of pheasant season provides an economic boom throughout the state. This year's opener remains on par with recent years, according to early reports.

State and city officials said this year’s pheasant opening weekend was a success.

South Dakota Game Fish and Parks Communications Manager Nick Harrington said opening weekend public land hunters reported an average of 1-2 birds harvested while private land hunters reported 1.5-2.5 birds per hunter.

Harrington said these numbers are comparable to the average reported on opening weekend in previous years.

Aberdeen Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Casey Weismantel said measuring the economic impact of opening weekend is difficult.  

“We really go off of our hotel occupancy. You know, we’re sitting with right around 900 rooms here in Aberdeen, and opening weekend we were full. I think there were a few straggling rooms here and there, but for the most part, having that good crowd coming in for opening weekend,” said Weismantel.  

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He said past economic figures prove the impact hunting has on the area’s economy.

“Hunting, in general, in our region, and we look at our region, the five counties, brings in anywhere from $12 to $16 million into the area,” said Weismantel.

Weismantel said he is proud of how much support the Aberdeen community extends to hunters during the season. He said community support is what contributes to bringing in millions of dollars to the area every year.

Traditional Pheasant season began on Oct. 21 and runs until Jan. 31, 2024.

Evan Walton is an SDPB reporter based in Sioux Falls. Evan holds a Master’s in English Literature from Southern New Hampshire University and was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 2015, where he served for five years as an infantryman.