It’s that time of year, folks. The day has finally arrived when the skies darken with descending hordes of blaze orange vests and the resounding boom of shotgun fire fills the air. You guessed it; the pheasant season is here! And trust me, there’s no place to experience this feathery siege quite like South Dakota, touted globally as the crème de la crème of ring-neck hunting.
The sporty spectacle kicks off this Saturday, promising a carousel of excitement, camaraderie, and a non-stop chirp-fest. Drawing in over 130,000 enthusiasts from near and far, our humble fields are transforming into a festive battlefield, where terms of engagement are dictated by a feisty bird that’s remarkable for more than just its flashy feathers.
According to South Dakota’s Game, Fish and Parks Secretary, Kevin Robling, “We are the pheasant capital of the world,”. He announced this with the air of a seasoned diplomat who has grown accustomed to wielding the power of an aviary superpower.
The army of local and non-resident hunters is expected to surpass 55,000 and 80,000 respectively, setting the stage for some of the most riveting avian showdowns. In bird terms, it’s a Hitchcockian nightmare, with over a million roosters predicted to swap their cozy residences for a more…well, let’s just say they won’t be around for Christmas.
Nevertheless, every cloud has a silver lining. In this case, it’s an orange one. The bird blitz rattling South Dakota doesn’t just usher in the avian apocalypse, but it also hatches a golden goose for the state’s economy. With pheasant hunting pumping over $200 million into the retail sector and a further $111 million in salaries, it seems like a solid trade-off, no?
But let’s not forget the highlight of the season; the grand welcoming ceremony laid down by the folks at Sioux Falls. Picture this: a sea of eager hunters pouring into Sioux Falls Regional Airport, greeted by beaming host committees laden with swag, mugs, and a treasure trove of local information to boot. Talk about a warm welcome!
And don’t even get us started on Pierre, where the local Chamber of Commerce wastes no time in turning the town orange ahead of the pheasant extravaganza. Miranda Panzer, the tourism director, described the excitement in town as “huge.” We couldn’t agree more, Miranda.
We know, we know; the harsh winter had everyone – including Robling – biting their nails about the pheasant population. But the recent report from the resident-only hunting season has lifted spirits. Robling assures us that the bird count is looking “fantastic.” So grab your hunting gear and stake a claim to your own piece of this pheasant pie in the part of the state where things are “looking really good.”
For more thrilling news and updates about the ‘Orange Invasion,’ follow this link to The Dakota Scout. Acknowledgments to these fine folks for keeping everyone updated on all things pheasant. [Link](https://open.substack.com/pub/thedakotascout/p/south-dakota-rolls-out-orange-carpet)