PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Department of Tourism and South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department are once again looking forward to communities “rolling out the orange carpet” in preparation for the upcoming pheasant hunting season.
The two departments have been promoting South Dakota as a pheasant hunting destination through a marketing campaign called “Hunt the Greatest” in addition to continued South Dakota community efforts known as “Rooster Rush.”
“When you combine world-class hospitality and world-class pheasant hunting, this is an experience worth talking about and coming back for,” said James Hagen, Secretary of the Department of Tourism. “Our outdoor recreation opportunities are second to none, and Americans are looking to travel to rural destinations for outdoor experiences and adventures. Hunters spend money at the local cafes, hotels, gas stations and hardware stores on main streets across the state. These visitors are critical to supporting small town businesses across rural South Dakota.”
In 2020, the Department of Game, Fish and Parks and the Department of Tourism entered a strategic partnership resulting in a robust strategy to market South Dakota as the greatest pheasant hunting destination in the world. The main priority of the campaign is to increase resident and nonresident participation in pheasant hunting. The partnership was spurred by Governor Kristi Noem’s Second Century Habitat Initiative, which focuses on conserving South Dakota’s outdoor tradition for future generations.
Department of Game, Fish and Parks Secretary Kevin Robling sees the campaign as a way to grow pheasant hunting – and habitat – for years to come. “Retaining hunters and generating new stewards of habitat in the fields provides us an opportunity to continue strengthening the relationship between families and the outdoors. Nowhere else can you experience something quite like the rush of the flush like you can in South Dakota. This campaign allows us to deepen these relationships now and into the years ahead.”
Last year’s strategic, multi-channel campaign generated over 31 million impressions across more than 16 states. The efforts led to $643,000 in license revenue, resulting in a $19.84 million impact. This year, the marketing tactics will reach key target audiences nationally, with an estimated reach of over 36 million impressions.
Due to a mild winter, the state’s predator control program, and enhanced habitat efforts, the outlook on the pheasant population is looking favorable. Hunters should expect to see both pheasant and grouse populations to be older with more experienced birds. Hunters who pay attention to details and adjust their tactics for the landscape conditions should find success in the field.