Hunters prepare for pheasant hunting season opener

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MITCHELL, S.D. (KSFY) - Pheasant hunting has a lot of hunters excited! The hunting season officially kicks off Saturday for those who are residents of South Dakota.

Hunters from all over the country will soon be flocking to South Dakota for the pheasant hunting season opener, but at Rooster Roost Ranch they're having problems driving their big trucks through their fields because of this year’s weather.

"We're the only state that allows people to hunt their state bird," Chamber and Convention Visitors Bureau Director, Sonya Moller said.

The orange carpet is rolled out in Mitchell for hunters all over the country anticipating a good pheasant hunting season.

"It’s a great time here in Mitchell. We have a really big influx of individuals who come to our community. They’ll start to come in this week and we'll really see them throughout our community next week Thursday, Friday, Saturday and then throughout the whole month of October and into November as well," Moller said.

Hundreds of hunters will fly in from out of state to rent lodges and hotel rooms making economic growth boom in Mitchell.

"Nearly 1,100 hotel rooms, over 20 pheasant lodges in the area and all of them are full next weekend," Moller said.

Rooster Roost Ranch is booked all the way through December as pheasant hunting is a big tradition for many throughout the state and beyond.

"They’ll show up Friday night. Generally, three-day hunts are what we have and sometimes we have a day in between, but sometimes we don't so it's kind of chaotic," Rooster Roost Ranch Owner, Roy Gruenewald said.

Gruenewald said keeping up with the hunting grounds hasn't been easy.

"This year's going to be a very different year because of the water. We can't get the vehicles around like we normally do so it'll be a very different experience for us," Gruenewald said.

But luckily in the businesses 15 years of operations, they’ve seen more birds than they have for years, but Gruenewald says you never know until you get out there.

Gruenewald said with all the water the best hunting will probably be around Christmas time.

"When things freeze over and you can get around a little better," Gruenewald said.

The owners at Rooster Roost Ranch say they're not going to let a little wet weather keep them from hunting their pheasants.

The season opener for out of state hunters will start next weekend.