South Dakota Pheasant Hunting
It's not about the hunt. It's about 'getting ready, getting there, then talking about it.'
I think my grandpa Jake said it best. Even though he might not have said it just like that, it's what I picked up from him.
I remember the white early 60's Impala. I remember him hitting the brakes and deftly jumping out of the vehicle and dropping a couple of pheasants one afternoon south of Presho. I remember getting to wring the necks of the pheasant, maybe even getting a little blood on my hands that day. To this day, when I pick up a freshly fired shotgun shell and smell the gunpowder, I'm back in that grassy field, just on the other side of the fence.
I remember him setting up a cleaning station in his basement garage. I can still remember the way the house smelled when grandma fried 'em up on the stove in their small kitchen.
Thing is, I'll bet you can see it too. And smell it. Your story. Your time. Your place.
That's just 'my' story. There are thousands just like it that will be told over and over again this coming weekend. There are many small kids that will be making their first 'bird dog walk' with mom or dad. There are many kids who will be carrying a real firearm for the first time this weekend. There are many older folks who will be making their final walk, some of them making their final ride in a pickup just to watch the action, or the dogs working.
The smell of the grass. Listening to the Huskers or Vikings or Packers on the radio. Snacks out of coolers while the dogs drink. It's electric.
There are too many things to write about what I love about pheasant hunting so I'll go back to the beginning of the story.
What I love, and I did say LOVE about pheasant hunting is remembering. Whether it's my Grandpa Jake or Uncle Ron riding around with my Dad Harold, that's who I hunt with today. Yes, they are gone now, but I can be in a hunting party of 18 in Armour, or a smaller Kennebec group. When I'm off by myself, and it's me and the gun and the wind...I bring them along.
They still tell me stories.
They taught me how to hunt and enjoy the outdoors. They taught me how to tell a good story at the end of a 1/2 mile walk. I miss them all. And I look forward to walking with them again this fall and particularly this weekend.
South Dakota's Center Stage Time is This Weekend! The Pheasant Opener.
Note: There's been a lot of talk about pheasant numbers being down this year. There's a reason. Last year we were in one of the worst droughts you could imagine. In case you've forgot, click the story below.