Senator John ThuneThe highly anticipated opening day of the 2010 pheasant hunting season has finally arrived. The bird dogs are trained and ready for their big day, the guns are clean, and hunters across South Dakota have nothing but bird hunting on the brain.
While bird hunting is the reason for the annual gatherings, many of us find the time spent with family, friends, and neighbors to be the true highlight of the fall hunts.
Growing up in Murdo-right in the heart of pheasant country-the start of October had all of the excitement and anticipation as the days leading up to Christmas. I have distinct memories of the food, laughter, and tall tale hunting stories from community gatherings before opening day. Opening weekend for the Thune family was a time to reunite with old high school friends, local business owners, and out-of-state family members.
I learned about responsibility and countless other life lessons out in those open fields across our state. That first opening weekend was a rite of passage for everyone.
Pheasant hunting is a distinct aspect of South Dakota life that has value far beyond those who take part in the outings.
The economic impact of hunting on our state can't be ignored. The tourism related to hunting, combined with the food, gas, and lodging that local and traveling hunters purchase, provides a vital economic boost to our communities each year.
Additionally, the money that hunting licensing brings in also helps to protect and conserve wildlife habitat in our state to ensure future generations have the same great opportunities to hunt as we all have.
I wish all hunters a safe and successful opening weekend.