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Pheasant Hunters Flock To KELOLAND

Pheasant hunters are already flocking to KELOLAND. Two days before the big opener, planes are landing at the Sioux Falls airport full of those eager to bag the ring neck pheasant. And this year, because there are more airlines flying into Sioux Falls, hunters have more options.

The lure of the pheasant draws 70,000 out of state hunters to South Dakota every year. A few hundred of them arrived in Sioux Falls this afternoon. It's estimated that out of staters dump $130 million into the South Dakota economy. And this year, because there are more airlines flying into Sioux Falls, there will likely be more hunters, spending even more money.

Paul Rankin, a hunter from Virginia, said, "There were other flights and other options. It wasn't hard for me to get here. Not at all."

This is Paul Rankin's third hunting trip to the state, but this is the first year the Virginia man's been able to fly Delta.

Rankin says, "Well, I have frequent flier miles with Delta and they recently opened up some flights here so that became a lot cheaper for me. That was a deciding factor for me was to use Delta."

Mike Marnach, the Sioux Falls Airport Director, says, "This is going to be a great weekend at the Sioux Falls Airport. We have more flights this year, in terms of more airlines, Delta in addition to Northwest, American, and United that are already here."

And those airlines will all have full planes landing in Sioux Falls all weekend long, which is another boost to the local economy.

Marnach says, "As you add flights and seats, you grow the business and airfares are more competitive. There are more options for the travelers coming in."

Tomorrow alone about 1800 passengers will fly into Sioux Falls. On a normal day, a thousand people land at the airport.

Stacy Bauer
© 2004 KELOLAND TV. All Rights Reserved.

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