No one could have asked for better weather for the opening weekend of pheasant season.
This Saturday and Sunday in state and out of state hunters enjoyed the sun and the chance to shoot some birds.
Warm weather, clear blue skies and some strong cover after recent moisture helped to make the opening day spectacularly beautiful and great for hunting.
Hunters who ate breakfast Sunday at the Tripp County 4-H Center were divided on the success of the opening day.
Many said it was great and they really appreciated the nice weather Tripp County dialed up for them.
There were some who said it was a difficult day. They love the outdoors but the birds were not easy to find.
That may be in part to the drought that killed off many chicks.
A television story on KELO talked about planes and pheasants in Winner.
Pheasant hunting season is a busy time at the airport.
“The majority is jets or turbo props,” said Tessa Howard of the airport traffic. She and her husband, Dave, have been the operators at the airport since 2014.
The Howards handle the airport operations including landing and department aircraft. They are also mechanics and can fix aircraft as needed.
“It can be challenging,” said Tessa. “It keeps you on your toes.”
Hunters fly all over the state but the area around Winner usually ranks fourth or fifth in pheasants harvested each season which makes it a consistently top place to hunt.
Tripp County had 3,598 nonresident pheasant hunters in 2020 according to the S.D. Department of Game, Fish and Parks. Those hunters harvested 32,361 pheasants.
Tripp County also had 989 resident hunters that harvested 11,294 birds in 2020.
Examples of those who benefit from pheasant hunting include landowners who may lease hunting land, hunting lodges, restaurants, motels and local businesses.
“Anytime hunting comes around there is an economic impact to the area,” said Chandra Phillips, city of Winner finance officer.
Wide open spaces, hospitality and friendly people keep these hunters coming back to this area year after year.