100 pheasants released in Brown Co. worth $100-$1M

October 18, 2013 at 06:55 PM
ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) — Besides the joy of bagging a pheasant, some northeast South Dakota hunters might get cash — up to $1 million if they're really lucky.

The Aberdeen Convention and Visitors Bureau has released 100 pheasants in Brown County as part of the Million Dollar Pheasant Contest.

The Aberdeen American News reports (http://bit.ly/1aunAH7 ) that each rooster has a metal band on its leg with a number. Hunters can turn the band into the Convention and Visitors Bureau. Depending on the number, the hunter will receive $100, $250 or $500 plus a chance to be in a drawing for $1 million.

The locations of the released birds are a secret, but they're being released on public and private land in random parts of the county.

Last year, hunters turned in 58 of the bands. In the two previous years, 49 and 41 bands were submitted. There has yet to be a $1 million winner, but it could happen, said Casey Weismantel, who works for the visitors bureau.

One band is selected each year. If that number matches a pre-selected number, the $1 million is awarded.

The Aberdeen Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Aberdeen Hotel Alliance have insurance to pay for the big reward if the drawn number and prize winning number matches. The winner would receive payments of $25,000 a year for 40 years.

While there might be pheasants with bands from previous years, they have never been turned in, Weismantel said. The average life span of a pheasant in the wild is only about one year, according to Pheasants Forever. The maximum life span of a pheasant is eight years.

Brown County has 208,930 acres of public land for hunting and 114,000 acres of private hunting land, according to the visitors bureau.

The pheasant hunting season opens Saturday for out-of-state hunters. It ends Jan. 5. The drawing for the $1 million pheasant is Jan. 10.

The pheasants are raised at Gisi Pheasant Farm in Ipswich.


Information from: Aberdeen American News, http://www.aberdeennews.com

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.