Hunters bring in money for small towns

GREAT BEND, Kan. (KSNW) — Small towns in central and Western Kansas expect to be bustling with people for the opening of pheasant and quail season.

Despite a low number of birds in past years, due to a drought, wildlife officials said this year is going to be different.

“There’s some great numbers of birds, and that gets people pretty excited,” said Curtis Wolf, the site manager for Kansas Wetlands Education Center.

Starting this weekend, thousands of hunters from all over the United States are expected to descend on Central Kansas, and they’ll be spending money.

Officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services reports about $400 million comes into the state each fall due to the increase in hunters.

“Economically, it is definitely a nice addition of funds to a lot of these small communities, especially,” Wolf said.

In Great Bend, hotels love this opening weekend.

“It brings lot of business to us, and we make a little more profit during that time,” said Travelodge manager, Kaushike Patel.

KSN’s Amanda Aguilar went around to some local hotels, and most of them said they’re booked full this weekend. Comfort Inn has 45 rooms and all of them are booked.

Restaurants also expect a lot of business, and they’re preparing for it. Perkins in Great Bend will open an hour early this weekend.

Aside from the money, these local businesses said they appreciate the relationships they form during hunting season, saying many of these visitors become loyal customers.