Pheasant Hunting Boosts Local Economy

Eric Rabinowitz moves carefully across a plain of tall grass. One wrong step and he'll be in for a surprise.

"A couple times you'll step on [a pheasant] and it comes right up on your feet," Rabinowitz said about staying alert during hunting. "Get the gun up and shoot it."

Rabinowitz is pheasant hunting for the fifth time in Stratford. He came with a group of hunters from the San Antonio area. They drove more than ten hours for the start of the pheasant hunting season in Stratford.

"People from all over the state and even the Tri-state area come to Stratford to rekindle old friendships on an annual basis," said Tim Wheldon from the Stratford Lion's Club.

And they come in large numbers. On a good day, each hunter will bag three birds.

"It is a team sport and your opportunity for success goes up with more people," said Steve Lindner, who is hunting for the first time in Stratford.

It's a sport the people of Stratford depend on to help boost their economy.

"We're somewhat limited with our motel space in Stratford. But they'll stay in Amarillo, Dalhart, Dumas, Guymon." Wheldon said. "So, yes, economically it's a big boom. Sure is."

Every year, the Lion's Club raises nearly $2,000 from hunter's membership fees and an annual breakfast. Wheldon says a large amount of that money stays in our area.

"Throughout the course of the year, the Lion's Club distributes that money to various charities within the community and county and so it's a good fund-raiser for the Lion's Club of Stratford," he said.

Wheldon says the economic impact is the greatest at the start of the season in December. Several local businesses say this is their busiest time of the year. But it is short-lived. Pheasant hunting season ends on Jan 4.