Still, Opening Day has a fresh aura, especially in Gregory County where an autumn blue sky is beautifully framed by the muted, earthy colors of cornfields, grasslands and tree belts. Hunters regularly remark that they wouldn’t care if they never saw a pheasant, so lovely are the landscapes. (The orange-clad hunters will find pheasants; last year they harvested 44,337 in Gregory County, to be exact.)
Numbers don’t tell the story, however. “It’s more about the relationships and the camaraderie,” says Mike Karbo, who bought the funeral home in Burke 20 years ago and moved from Sioux Falls because he loved the outdoors. He says deer, turkey and walleye are also big draws.
And did we mention pancakes? “I’ve been using the same mix forever,” says Louise Truax, the Fairfax restaurateur. “It’s just milk and butter and the mix and you add water, but they sure like them.”
Then add syrup. “I always tell the kids that when the customer gets ready to pay, all you have to say is ‘have a good day,’” she says. “Some of them do and some don’t. But that’s OK, too.”
Who wouldn’t want to hunt in a place like this?