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Throughout South Dakota the snow has arrived early and temperatures are decreasing faster than was expected. Yet many South Dakota hunting lodges are still fully booked for the holidays and many hunters are in the fields taking advantage of the improved population. Some are even finding they can bag their limits.

This can be a surprise as poor weather has previously put off even the most dedicated hunter. Yet this is not the case this year.

Paul Frauen and his family, who have travelled from Kansas City, certainly aren’t put off by the poor weather. This is their third straight year they’ve hunted in South Dakota and they’re enjoying every moment of it.

“I like it because you’re out, you’re moving around and covering a lot of miles,” he states. “Watching the dogs is by far my favourite part.”

During their visit Frauen and his family are based at Rooster River Hunting Lodge, Flandreau.

According to Matt Kitto, an employee of the lodge, business is good. "Our season has been going phenomenal,” is Kitto’s summary of the season so far. The lodge has seen a significant number of repeat customers but has also welcomed new customers. Kitto believes part of the success is the improved pheasant population that was supported by a good bird hatch. He has seen numerous young birds in the area.

Kitto has stated the lodge’s aim to add habitat to the site during the off-season has probably supported the pheasants this year. The land acquired help pheasants to find homes when they are losing habitat on state run land and through the decline of CRP land.

Kitto believes, that for the majority of hunters, it isn’t about achieving their bag limit or the pheasants, but about the memories and the experiences they gain with their friends and family.

Why do you go hunting? What is more important to you?

Let us know in the comments below.

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