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South Dakota Pheasantennial: 100 Years of Tradition

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PIERRE, S.D. – The fall season in South Dakota typically means one thing. The pheasants are flying and the hunters are flocking. This year is even more special as the South Dakota Office of Tourism is poised to present The South Dakota Pheasantennial: 100 Years of Tradition.

This year marks the 100-year anniversary of the successful introduction of the Chinese Ring-necked Pheasant into South Dakota, according to The History, Ecology and Management of the Ring-necked Pheasant in South Dakota by Carl G. Trautman.

"There are few things that truly express the traditions of South Dakota families better than pheasant hunting," said Governor Mike Rounds. "The combination of pheasant hunting’s impact on the economy of our state, mixed with how deeply ingrained it is in South Dakota’s culture, makes the 100 year anniversary of the pheasant an event worth celebrating."

The Pheasantennial will be a celebration that brings together South Dakotans, the tourism industry, local communities and outdoor enthusiasts who love nothing more than experiencing the best pheasant hunting in the world. Large celebrations will be encouraged in towns and communities across pheasant country.

The event itself won’t occur until after opening weekend of the pheasant hunting season. The South Dakota Office of Tourism will be the driving force behind the events, but will also be joined in their efforts by the Department of Game, Fish and Parks, as well as numerous tourism industry partners and business owners. Further details will be announced in the coming months.

"The Ring-necked Pheasant has put South Dakota on the national hunting map, and we support the celebration and camaraderie of Pheasantennial – a celebration around a sport that’s helped define and shape our land," said Jeff Vonk, secretary of the Department of Game, Fish and Parks. "We look forward to sharing our pheasant success story with the entire state, and across the nation."

Pheasant hunting is a time honored tradition in South Dakota and it also helps attract a large percentage of the state’s tourists. The pheasant hunting industry accounts for nearly $219 million of business for South Dakota.

"It’s incredible to think that Peter Norbeck’s vision of flying pheasants back in 1908 has spawned a $219 million dollar industry in our state," said Richard Benda, secretary of the Department of Tourism and State Development. "Pheasant hunting has been and continues to be one of our state’s best pastimes, family traditions and economic impact-makers."

The Pheasantennial promotion is part of the 2010 Initiative goal to double visitor spending.