Posts Tagged ‘South Dakota’

And then, there was thawing out in Alabama at Dream Ranch.

And then, there was thawing out in Alabama at Dream Ranch.

It’s all over but the shouting. If one shouts at the end of bird season, that is.

Several thousand road miles, a lot of new friends, some new country and a ton of birds … tired dogs and a bunch of oil changes in unfamiliar towns. Every day was an adventure and gratifying in its own way (after all, it was hunting). While you’re reading about some of my peak experiences, re-live your own.

A pair of doubles on Huns in Montana with 6X Outfitters’ Al Gadoury. The dynamic is markedly different when you hunt without TV cameras. Both good, but different. Considering how I shot, I kinda wish there was a crew there.

Passing on the only ringneck anyone saw on opening day at a nearby wildlife refuge because I mis-read the regulations. Aaagh!

Hunting generally northward while a stranger hunted generally southward – toward me. When it turned out to be a training/hunting buddy, all was well in the world … again.

Hunting what can only be described as an American Serengeti at South Dakota’s Warne Ranches. Waves of birds rising from the grass, and on camera!

A chance – after 25 years – to share a field with my dogs’ veterinarian, and have both Manny and Buddy make epic retrieves across fields and raging creeks.

The coldest night I’ve ever spent in chukar country, minus 12 degrees. Warm enough during the day to enjoy, along with bighorns and a great friend. And the realization that for 72 hours we hadn’t heard a train, plane, truck or other hunter.

Horseback hunting with some great kids and their mom, out west for the first time. The wonder of the wide open spaces was clear on their faces. Introducing them to our sport was incredible.

Anyway, you get the idea. Now, what about yours?

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Interior shot at Cheyenne Ridge Signature Lodge … location for our “Take Your Kid Hunting” episode.

You want variety, you got it! With the conclusion of the Olympics, Wingshooting USA returns to NBC Sports Fridays, 10 a.m. Eastern time. Many of you can now watch two different episodes each week.

This week, here is the program lineup:

Pursuit: Dish Network (Ch. 240 “HUNT” on the program guide) and DirecTV (Ch. 604 “PRST” on program guide). Wingshooting USA will air Monday 7:00 p.m.,  Monday 6:30 a.m. and Friday 7:30 a.m. Eastern. This episode airs on all the other networks as well:

A father-daughter team join Scott at Cheyenne Ridge Signature Lodge in South Dakota where a youngster named Hunter lives up to her moniker. Hunter downs her first ringneck and her experience should serve as inspiration for every hunting parent.

And on NBC Sports Group, Fridays 10 a.m. (Eastern)

Crops, shelterbelts and surrounding scrub at Western Wings preserve in Idaho challenge a mother-daughter brace of Labs. It’s rough-and-tumble hunting in the shadow of dramatic mountains flanking Yellowstone National Park.

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Congratulations Hunter Luksa and dad Frank. First pheasant! And what better place than Cheyenne Ridge Signature Lodge. Staff is great, very oriented to customer service and going the extra mile. You folks rock!

Hunter’s first bird came at the end of a long drive through stunted corn and some CRP … a hard right-left crosser that dad missed … she sealed the deal in a cloud of feathers. Great job!

You’ll see the whole story next season on Wingshooting USA! Thanks to the National Shooting Sports Foundation for sponsoring the Take Your Kid Hunting promotion, and this trip.

Setting up for the "hero shot."

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Okay, we can finally spill the beans on the upcoming season of Wingshooting USA. I hope you have lots of DVR space, and plenty to eat and drink while you watch – there is a lot in store!

Starting October 1 and every Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. Eastern, you can watch the show on VERSUS. In January, you can also watch on the Pursuit Channel Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. If you’re stuck in the seventies and watching via digital “rabbit ears” on your local TV station, check for AMGTV Sundays 1 p.m. or TUFF TV Saturdays 10 a.m. or 4:30 p.m.

Bring plenty of ammo and dog food – we’ve got an incredible lineup of destinations: Idaho pheasants, Montana huns, North and South Dakota sharpies and pheasants … California pheasants and quail, Oregon valley quail and pheasants and more!

In addition to the hunting, Wingshooting USA is loaded with fun, educational and motivational feature segments:

– “Buddy & Me” sponsored by TruckVault is our continuing adventure as my wirehair and I learn how to teach and learn from each other. Watch sample here:

– TriTronics “Young Hunters Afield”  encourages families to get outside together, rewarding those who send photos of kids with their dogs with a chance at a TriTronics e-collar. Watch here:

– Native Performance Dog Food’s “Conservation Showcase” raises funds for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. Learn how you can help, here:

– ZoomDog’s BuddyCam provides a fascinating look (literally) at a dog’s perspective in the field and at home. Watch here:

– And carrying on our tradition, the National Shooting Sports Foundation offers parents  and children a chance to win a hunting trip on the show with me in their “Take YOUR kid hunting” sweepstakes.” 

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Buddy’s tail quivered, eyes locked on a nondescript patch of grass along an unnamed North Dakota creek. I kicked the grass and a rooster erupted. One, two, three, and my shot dropped the ringneck. As I turned to my partner to gloat, he asked if I’d shot. 

Alright, so who gets credit when you're part of an all-star cast?


He had too. The shots were so well synchronized, neither of us knew the other had also drawn down on the bird. 

I write because it’s more than a rare occurence. In the last couple seasons, I’ve shared credit with Ted Turner, winemaker Jerry Lohr, Gov. Mike Rounds of South Dakota, the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Permanent Ambassador to the United Nations for the Republic of Iraq, and a bunch of regular guys who mean just as much to me in the field as those big shots. Some happened in front of the Wingshooting USA cameras, so you’ll see them next season. Others, well, they were just for fun and you’ll have to take my word for it. 

Has this happened to you? What then? Who takes credit for the shot? And who takes home the bird? We generally have a laugh, pet the dog, and get on with the hunt. But what if you’re in a big group, including strangers. Or if one of your party is a well, game hog. 

What now? What would you do?

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Rivett’s Refuge Preserve near Mina, SD: When you hear ringnecks cackling from the front porch, you know it’s just going to be a great day. Founder Ron Rivett brought his high school friends (class of who-knows-when) for a hunt at the refuge and preserve bearing his name.

Standing corn can drive a semi-claustrophobe like me frantic, but the prospect of flying roosters kept the mania under control. Dogs, hunters and pheasants darted among the rows, and as usual, what Hell there was broke out at the end of the walk. This writer was glad to move to grass and sorghum, where at least you can see everyone, and sometimes the dogs.

The joy of a place like Rivett’s is the variety of covers, so no matter what the weather, condition of the ground, even wind direction, we could hunt with confidence. Beautifully planned shelterbelts were the most fun … dogs coursing the trees, the scream from Buddy’s beeper signaling point after point. Birds erupted from the ground, tangling then disengaging from the tree branches with a clatter. I connected with one bird in spite of the branches between us. Another towered above the trees for a clear shot and fall into a small pond right into the frame of camera operator Lynn Berland. Of course, Buddy tiptoed around the water rather than through it for the retrieve.

Our walk to the bus yielded the brightest of many spots in the day: all aboard but Mike, camera operator Tad Newberry and I, almost tripped over Buddy locked solidly in a tangle of grass mere yards form the bus. Tad rolled, Mike ducked and I kicked out what has since become known in these parts as the “bus bird.” Awesome!

As the commercials go, “but wait, there’s more.” And there was, as we walked back to the lodge through trees, grass and bean fields. Incredible finds, solid points, and a bird for Jason that will soon occupy a place on the wall – inch-long spurs and a body tinged in pastel colors, lighter than any bird short of albino I’ve seen.

It’s a lot easier after a couple days like this to be grateful. And I am. Watch for it next season on Wingshooting USA.

Please remember to vote NOW for your favorite dog, non-profit, and breed and help them and possibly yourself in our Wingshooting  USA features …

www.wingshootingusa.org … Take one of your kids hunting on the show next season. Click on the “Win a Shot on the Show” icon.

www.blackswingandclay.com… Cash for your conservation group, Cabela’s gear for you! Click on the “Hot Dog” icon.

www.nativedogfood.com … a TON of food for a hunting dog rescue club. Click on the “”Win a Ton” icon in the upper left corner.]

Thanks sponsors: Black’s Wing & Clay Waterfowl, Irish Setter, TriTronics and NSFF/www.wingshootingusa.org. Leave a comment, you might win a pair of Irish Setter boots and hunting jacket!

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Fueled up? Yes. Dog in truck? Uh huh. Ammo purchased? Yep (ouch!). Must be time for the second leg of the Awesome Upland Road Trip. We’ll be making TV shows across the West, for next season’s Wingshooting USA.

New friends and old, some fresh scenery, and lots of birds are some of the highlights of this trip, which starts at Double Barrel Ranch near Spokane, Wash. Ron Olmstead is a sensitive dog trainer and great host and this is a repeat visit (we made some Cast & Blast episodes there about five years ago). Strong dog work (except when Buddy’s on the ground) is a given on the rolling hills and coulees of eastern Washington

From Spokane we vector toward Havre, Montana and a new outfit, Sage Safaris … interesting concept for an upland hunting operation. Sara and Jake have outfitted their place a la’ luxury African safari camps – floored tents, real beds, wood stoves, etc. Should be interesting.

Dog is my co-pilot: Buddy always wears his seat belt.

Dog is my co-pilot: Buddy always wears his seat belt.

From Montana we head to beautiful downtown Mott, North Dakota. It’s been on my list since a friend here in town bought a place there just for pheasant hunting. We’ll be just down the road from Larry (there aren’t that many in Mott), at Tailfeather Inn, and hunting ringnecks and a few sharptails on nearby farms. Tailfeather promises an interesting stay: part of it is a restored convent (no smart remarks you former altar boys). Looks like the bird numbers are strong in this part of North Dakota, so we are pumped! Thanks to everyone at North Dakota’s tourism department for logistical support, especially Mark Zimmerman.

Then, it’s back to my favorite state, South Dakota. Ever had this thought? If there was a Nordstrom nearby, I’d try convincing my wife to move there! I’m hunting near Aberdeen, where I’ll help out at the Camp Gilbert Celebrity Hunt there, raising money for that great operation that supports kids with diabetes.

If they’re not sick of me and the crew after the celeb hunt, we will hunt the area for a couple more days, basing out of Rivett Refuge Preserve. Trees, water, sounds like a good time.

And in what’s becoming an Awesome Upland Road Trip tradition, we conclude again at Ravenwood Lodge near Topeka, Kansas. Ken and Bev Corbet run a beautiful place, full of history and incredible habitat. It’s like a tailor-made hunting amusement park, with a little of everything plus sporting clays! Want a preview? Go here and see some snaps and a report from last year.

Watch for the rig, give a honk or stop by and say hello! And safe travels on your own Awesome Upland Road Trip. Let the dog ride up front.

[Thanks to road trip sponsors National Shooting Sports Foundation and www.wingshootingusa.org, TriTronics, Irish Setter and Black’s Wing & Clay Waterfowl.] Speaking of which, leave a comment and you might win a pair of Irish Setter boots and hunting jacket!

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