Businesses in Finney County, Kansas, are trying to woo pheasant hunters into their area, and they’re doing a great job of it. Local leaders partnered to have 50 pheasants banded and released just before bird season began in 2017 as part of a “Million Dollar Bird” contest. According to contest info, the banded pheasants offer hunters undisclosed “immediate rewards,” with one bird bringing a hunter a chance at $1 million.
The event is officially known as Samy’s Million Dollar Bird, named for local eatery Samy’s Spirits and Steak House. It and the local Clarion Inn, Sleep Inn, and Finney County Convention and Tourism Bureau teamed up to fund the contest as a way to give hunters “a shot at not only filling their freezers, but also their wallets.” Hunters could register between October 30 and November 30, then hunt for the birds throughout the season.
But despite being two months into the season and the closing day coming in just a few weeks (January 31), no one has taken the big-money bird yet. In fact, according to The Garden City Telegram, only seven of the 50 have been turned in so far. Some have no doubt been lost to predation, but the golden goose—er, pheasant—could still be out there waiting for a hunter to come along and collect the massive payout.
It’s not quite as simple as shooting a ringneck and reporting its band à la duck hunting, though. If the bird is still alive, it must be killed in Finney County to qualify for the reward. The successful hunter must then appear February 6, 2018, for a special party in his or her honor. During the event, the hunter will spin a Wheel of Fortune-esque wheel with 250 envelopes attached. Each contains a reward, with one holding the $1 million prize. Not quite a guaranteed payday, but when was the last time you won $1 million for going hunting?
The Million Dollar Bird event is an added incentive to a larger six-county affair known as the Rooster Roundup, now in its fourth year. Three hundred birds were banded and released in Finney, Ford, Grant, Seward, Stevens, and Hodgeman Counties, with hunters able to win up to $500. Unlike the Million Dollar Bird, however, hunters can still enter that contest, which also runs through the season closer. More info on both events can be found at the Finney County Convention and Visitors Bureau’s website.