SoDak Sports – The Igloo of Aberdeen
If you’ve hunted in Aberdeen, you’ve likely seen the igloo. It’s hard to miss on the west side of Highway 281 as you enter Aberdeen from the southwest corner of town. Established in a basement in 1969, this gun/ammo/archery shop is there for the outdoor enthusiasts. The Igloo came along in the early 90’s based solely on finding a more efficient building, but has since turned into an iconic building that the hunting community has come to appreciate. AJ Hoffman, owner of SoDak Sports, has seen 17 fall pheasant season openings come and go from the inside of SoDak Sports. His appreciation for this time of year has a lot to do with the people that come through the SoDak Sports doors.
“I think the coolest part is the people that come back every year. There are some that have been coming back 30+ years. I’m on a first name basis with a lot of them. You get to see these people once a year and build on that friendship. Fall weather is upon us, people are coming in excited because it’s their passion and they share that with me. We get families, kids on their first hunt, and 70 year olds that have been through it all.”
While AJ loves all of the excitement and friendships that follow opening weekend like a shadow, he relishes those late-season opportunities as his own time to enjoy the great outdoors.
“Personally, I take the first weekend in December off and go out with my best friend from college. I just love getting out in late season when there’s snow on the ground, crops are out, fewer people around. Nice cold weather is good for the dogs too. That’s my tradition.”
So, with all the excitement around pheasant season and winter hunting months, is 2020 going to live up to the hype?
“That’s a loaded question. My expectation is that we’ll have great bird numbers. Crops should be out early and I expect a great climate for pheasant hunting. Will locals come out? Probably. Will out-of-staters travel? We’ll see. Traffic should be up. At the end of the day, I think we’re going to be busy. Waterfowl hunting is going to be phenomenal, and if the crops come out early and the birds are there, we’re going to have one of the best pheasant hunting seasons ever in Aberdeen.”