Thursday, November 14, 2019

South Dakota- Sharptails, Prairie Chickens, and Ditch Birds

October and November are great times to be in the Dakotas! We made two hunts, this year, to South Dakota to chase the Sharptail and Prairie Chicken.  Our first outing was the week before the "Opener", which to anyone with a clue about bird hunting in South Dakota means the Pheasant Season Opening Day.

My wife, BJ, and me on a balmy day.
We were just in time for the first blizzard of the year.  They don't last long, but for a few days the cold and wind made us bundle up!

We hunted public land as well as Hunter-Walk-In-Area (private land that anyone can hunt).

BJ watching the dogs work.

Blue, my pup, with his first Prairie Chicken.

Sarah Gomes, BJ, Shelby Puckett

Shelby watching Cap and Ruby hit some Chickens

Shelby and Blue

Matthew and Major

Shack, me, Pearl and a Chicken

Cap and Chicken retrieve

Blue and another Chicken

Pearl pointing with Ruby as back up.

Gigi, Cap and an unlucky Pheasant

Prairie Rainbow


Me and a couple Sharps and Chickens

Jon, his two puppies, and a Sharp and Chicken

Cap standing in frozen Grits

Ruby, me, Pearl on a rare pointed double on Chickens!

Some prairie love on my little girl, Pearl!
It was a great hunt with great people.  We went through two blizzards, rain, temperatures up to 71 degs, and constant wind.  Good trips are worth the adversity. All the dogs showed me good work.  Of all my dogs, Pearl really came alive and stepped up.  One day, she pointed 3 separate coveys, but the rascals got up before we could get there each time.  She looked so good, standing tall in the grass! 

Gary and his son, Tristan.  Tristan's first wild bird!

On the last day of the hunt, Gary T., from Wyoming came up to hunt, with his son, Tristan.  I took them to a nice HWIA I knew about from years past.  We were standing on a stock dam, taking a breather, when a Sharptail jumped up at our feet.  "Shoot, shoot!" I yelled.  Tristan immediately pulled up and loosed a load of 6's at the retreating bird.  Miss!  He calmly let the bird get out another few heartbeats, then dropped it with the second shot.  Very deliberate and calm, he reacted like a much older and more experienced bird hunter, and put his first wild bird in his game bag.  It was a pleasure hunting with him.  I'm encouraged to see the younger generation coming along!  (Mom, notice the orange hat and the orange on his vest!)