By Lucy Halverson
The South Dakota pheasant hunting season came to a close Sunday, January 1 and while no official numbers have been calculated to determine the number of hunters or birds harvested, many in the Presho and Kennebec area feel it has been a good season economically.
Todd Meier of Budget Host Motel at Kennebec and Heidi McClanahan of Hutch’s Motel agreed that thanks in part to the excellent fall weather and bird numbers, hunters continued to travel to the area to hunt right up until the end of the season.
"They (hunters) just keep coming," said McClanahan last Wednesday from the lobby of Hutch’s Motel. "We have eight or nine reservations already for the weekend."
"We had some new ones (hunters)," said Meier in reference to hunters staying at his motel, the Budget Host in Kennebec. "Ninety percent were probably repeats."
Sunday, Jan. 1 concluded the 2011 pheasant season which started Oct. 15th.
Despite the Game, Fish & Parks 2011 brood survey, that indicated the number of pheasants per mile (PPM) was down around much of the state, the central part of the state, including Lyman County still had a fair number of birds.
Of the 107, 30-mile routes surveyed, two of the top three routes with the highest PPM in the state were in Lyman County.
Lyman County’s Lyman GF&Ps Conservation Officer Dan Altman stated it’s been a busy year for him.
Altman stated he’s talked to a number of bird hunters in the Lyman County area this fall who normally hunt in eastern South Dakota. "The bird numbers brought them further west," said Altman.
Pictured: Pheasant hunters from left; Nick Auchly, Ed Ohlms, Earl Robinson and Ray Todd, standing Chris Fritz, gathered in the breakfast room at Budget Host Motel in Kennebec Thursday, Dec. 29 prior to their last hunt of the season.