RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - The spring turkey hunting season opened up for everyone last weekend with archers getting a head start the week before.
Big game hunting in South Dakota brings in more than $13,000 in state and local taxes and supports nearly 3,000 jobs. While deer are probably the most commonly hunted big game, the Black Hills has some of the best habitat in the state for turkeys.
The latest numbers from the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks shows the Black Hills have the largest number of turkeys harvested per square mile than any other region in South Dakota.
Turkeys don't draw the same massive crowds pheasants do, but one local family says, turkey hunting is a unique and under-appreciated experience.
"You know it's an adrenaline rush because you spend all day looking for this one bird. It has to be legal. It has to be in the right spot. Everything has to be set up perfectly for this moment to happen," said Maria Spilde. "Then it happens. It's always just a super cool experience once it all falls into place."
Maria took her first bird ever last weekend, but her husband, Tanner, says he's been hunting since he was a kid and encourages everyone to give it a try.
"To me, I look at it as it's all natural," Tanner Spilde said. "It grew up in the wild and died in the wild. I think that's best."
He says hunting is something that was passed down by his father and is something he will pass down to his children.
The spring turkey hunting season ends on May 31.