A few weeks back my dad came up with a plan to take a long weekend trip to South Dakota to pheasant hunt. Ever since my dad did a few of these trips when I was in grade school, I have always wanted to experience South Dakota pheasant. We had a great trip. We had a great group of guys that made hunting safe and enjoyable and were lots of fun once the hunting was done for the day. Check below to see the rest of trip.
We flew into Sioux Falls, SD. Sioux Falls was small WWII military town with an airfield. These days it is substantially bigger. It is always fun visiting these sporting “bucket list” spots; like Montauk for stripers. Almost as soon as we stepped off the jet bridge, a huge sign welcoming hunters, covered the wall. Once we got down to baggage claim I began to really understand. Any baggage claim with bird dogs standing around and the walls decorated with all kinds of pheasant artwork gives a hunter a certain feel. As if there was any doubt left in my mind, our gun case was in line behind about 45 other gun cases.
We took a short drive and stopped in Mitchell, SD for shotgun shells and groceries. The first spot we stopped was a local outfitter shop. The front wall was covered with antique shotgun shell boxes. It was a pretty impressive display. The gun racks were loaded with all kinds of shotguns, mostly the heavy 12 gauges the folks out there really like. We picked up a few boxes of 2 3/4″ and 3″ 20 gauge #5’s before we continued west to our destination in Plankington, SD.
We stayed at a local farmers house. We called him as we drove towards town, he told us he was having some fence trouble with cows and wouldn’t be home till after dark. With that said, he gave us directions, let us know the house was open and to make ourselves at home. It was dark when we arrived and we weren’t sure it was the right place but soon our minds were at ease as we noticed hunter orange hats scattered on hooks, loose shotgun shells on the washer, and a mounted Pheasant on the wall. Shortly after our host, Bill Folan, stepped in and welcomed us.
Bill owns farmland that belonged to his parents and grandparents. He runs a few hundred head of cattle and farms the land with the Pheasants and Pheasant hunters in mind. My dad and I arrived a day before the rest of the group so the plan was to hunt the fence lines, tree lines, and creeks before the rest group arrived. We really couldn’t hunt the productive crop strips effectively without many more people. Before we hunted Bill had a few chores to accomplish. We were more than happy the help with anything we could. My dad a had a great time driving a tractor he grew up with and helping Bill out a bit.
While they were busy with that I climbed a big pile of silage and looked out over the crop rows. In the distance I could hear Pheasants cackling as they fed in the morning. Eventually, towards the corner of one row I noticed several roosters feeding and moving about in the early morning sunlight.
|The dark spots just up and to the right of the fence post are Roosters|
The next few days were a ton of fun and I learned a lot as my dad and the other guys taught me about this style of hunting and about wild Pheasants.
Two-three guys would stay at the end of each crop row (blockers) while the rest of the guys would work their way down the crop rows. Out of those who were walking, one guy on each side would stay about 30 yards up and 25 yards out from the rest of the line. These “wings” got a lot of shooting. Shots were often tough and fast. All the positioning takes advantage of Pheasant escape habits. At the end of each drive, Bill had a small bus he uses to transport us back to the other end of the field. Rows were several hundred yards long.
We had great food and thoroughly enjoyed the group. These trips are as much about the people we get to meet and a seeing new places. Here are a few more pictures from the weekend.