When fall hits the calendar, the first thing I think of is pheasant hunting season. Which is strange since I'm not a hunter. I have absolutely not one thing against hunting, in fact, I came from a big hunting family. It just never, pardon the pun, 'tripped my trigger'.

But this time of year brings me back, back to the days I lived in Winner, South Dakota, and also back to the days when my kids and I would stay in Winner.

I lived in Winner, South Dakota from 1974 through the end of 1977. It was the beginning of what has become my historic broadcasting career...or is that hysteric broadcasting career? Well, either way there I was in Winner.

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And when that first fall hit, that first pheasant season in Winner, I found out one thing: This area is one great pheasant hunting area! I remember driving through the parking lots of the local motels just to see the license plates...Alabama, Wisconsin, Texas, Illinois, Louisiana. And the bars, the Peacock, Dicks and, yes, the Pheasant would fill up to the brim. At least that's what I was told. I, ahem, never went in them of course.

Fast forward several years later, it's the 1980's and '90's. I'm living in Brookings, then Rapid City and the two people I love most in the world are living in Burke, not far from Winner. My kids, Jeremy and Jessie, were a wee bit younger then, and every other weekend we would spend together at the Warrior Inn (They had an indoor pool, you see). But I found out something very quickly: Call Cheryl at the Warrior about a year in advance if you wanted a shot, not at a bird, but at a room. Sometimes we'd be lucky, sometimes not.

Come to think of it, kind of like hunting pheasant's I suppose.

I look back at those days with a warm and wonderful mist of memory. And though I haven't been back to Winner in quite some time, I'm bettin' the town is getting ready to 'fill-up' again soon. After all, the traditional pheasant opener is Saturday October 21.

So I'll raise a Grain Belt Longneck to the hunter's and say 'Best of luck!'

States with the most registered hunters

Stacker analyzed data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine which states have the most registered hunters. Read on to see how your state ranks on Stacker’s list.

Gallery Credit: Meagan Drillinger

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