Now we originally were supposed to have a guide and his dog for the two days of pheasant hunting, however this morning is Election Day (we mailed in our ballots) and our guide is working in Minnesota as voting “officer”. This however will not prevent or hinder this morning’s hunt. We’ll do it the “old fashioned way” and walk as a line in the partially mowed millet fields we have driven to. There are 4-5 strips of standing millet nearly a mile long each. We will walk into the wind, that is blowing 20-25 mph. When we stepped out of our car, the temperature read 26 degrees, so with windchill it had to be a brisk -4 degrees. Good thing we’ve been in worse and are actually going to be moving as opposed to sitting in these conditions.
Roy drops us at the east end of the crop rows where we spread out 5 yards apart and begin to wade westward into the wind through the mostly thigh high dried vegetation.
Who needs a dog when you’ve got the five of us. In no time, Paul literally kicks up a pheasant and brings it down with ease. Okay we think, at least we won’t be skunked. I run into the next two, who refuse to fly, so I take them where they sit. 15 more and we will all have our limit for the day. In South Dakota your daily bag limit is 3 pheasant, all of which must be roosters (males). As we are from out of state, we are allowed a total of 10 days of which we can hunt, divided into two 5 consecutive day periods during the season. The most we can have in our possession for this 5 day period would be 15 birds, but then we’d have to hunt here for 5 days. At the price we are being charged, that is NOT going to happen. Besides we don’t have that much freezer space. We finish the first row, with everyone having bagged at least one pheasant. Matt’s bird is actually 1/2 of one. When the bird flushed, it got caught up in a gust of wind that pushed it directly up and over the top of Matt. His shot (the pellets) had no time to disperse, and as such, literally blew the bird in half, the remains of which then rained down on my face. Thank goodness I was wearing shooting glasses! Once at the end of the row, Roy picks us up and transports us back to the east end once more for us to walk the next row. From the bed of the truck, the boys spy two more pheasant, which now completes Paul’s limit. Matt now has an intact bird. I spy another and fill my limit.
The next row, Kenny, Paul and I are the “bird dogs” and attempt to spot and flush birds for Matt and Brian. Brian fills his limit. On the drive back down to the next row, Matt got his last bird.
Not bad for 4 hours and about 3 miles of walking through millet fields.
Now time for Roy to go back to Ranch work and us (the boys) to clean the birds and bag them for the freezer.
Birds in the freezer, and time for us to thaw out…with some celebratory Whisky! Tomorrow’s hunt will include a guide and his dog, and even colder temperatures.