Redfield will celebrate 100 years of Pheasant hunting on October 30th, 2019. On Oct.30th, 1919, the state’s first one-day pheasant hunting season was held in Spink County.
“According to the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks, there was heavy snow cover that morning, and rain later in the day, and not many hunters braved the inclement weather for the state’s first pheasant season,” states a Redfield Chamber of Commerce Pheasant Festival brochure from 1994. “Wardens estimated that not more than 200 pheasants were bagged during that first one-day season in Spink County, a rather inauspicious start for what was to become South Dakota’s number one hunting season.”
In 1908, pheasants first began to establish a foothold in South Dakota, according to the brochure. Three Redfield men purchased ringnecks and released them on a farm north of town on the James River. During that same year, 25 pheasants were also released on a ranch south of Frankfort. Later, the Redfield Chamber of Commerce made the first large release of pheasants in the area.
“Between 1914 and 1917, 7,000 birds were released. Over the years, Redfield became known far and wide as the Pheasant Capital of the Nation,” states the 1994 report.
For Redfield’s October 30th, 2019 Pheasantennial Celebration, 50 state and local leaders have been invited to Redfield for a one-day hunt. A catered brunch will be held that morning at the Chicago and Northwestern Depot for the hunters.
“For those that are invited that do not want to do a pheasant hunt, we are planning a tour of Spink County,” said Grow Spink executive director, Gianna Lantero. “We will provide information and history. It will be about a three-hour tour all around the county.”
Later, between 12 and 1p.m., the Redfield Pheasantennial Committee has planned a pheasant release. After the pheasant release and pheasant hunt, the Pheasantennial Banquet social hour will begin at 6p.m. at Shanty Haven (1223 West 5th Street, Redfield). A prime rib meal will be served at 7p.m.
“For that, we have 400 tickets available to anyone in the public to attend,” said Lantero.
Tickets are currently available at City Hall, the Chicago and Northwestern Depot, and both of the Appel gas stations in Redfield.
“It is going to be a great weekend. Hopefully, we will have a few guest speakers after the meal,” said Lantero.
A gun raffle will also be held at the end of the meal. Anyone present at the banquet can enter to win the commemorative Beretta 12 gauge A400 donated by the Redfield Ringneck Association.
Meanwhile, Spink County residents are encouraged to bring pheasant hunting memories, photos, and stories to Shelly Wipf at City Hall in the days leading up to the banquet. The stories and photos will be included in a powerpoint presentation during the meal and a program booklet to take home.
“They can turn in any short little memory or hunting experience here. We want tons of pictures to fill up the power point,” said Lantero.
For more information, contact Lantero at Grow Spink (605-450-8755).
Watch future issues of the press for more on this story.