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South Dakota Sojourn
Unread 01-24-2023, 07:21 PM   #1
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Default South Dakota Sojourn

Sometimes the hardest part about a hunting trip is just making the commitment to go. I'm still kicking myself for not making the second trip back up to the UP in December. We knew that it could be iffy weather in SoDak, and a conversation with Dean Weber confirmed that. But, after perusing weather and snow depth charts, we found that the area we were going to had not been hit as hard as Dean's locale in Sioux Falls, or just south of us in Mitchell--Mitchell got another foot of snow our second day there, while we got nothing 30 miles from there. Still alot of snow in our area and heavy drifting, at times the snowplows had left snowbanks higher than the roof of my truck. we often broke thru up to our crotch in snow. No sense hunting grass lands, the grass was either under snow, or had been emergency hayed in the fall. Shelterbelts and cattail sloughs were the objects of our attention, but finding a place to even pull off the road was tough. The WPA and GPA parking areas were often plowed shut , and alot of secondary roads were impassable. I managed to get the Ford stuck the first evening trying to park in a GPA lot, luckily, I was able to flag down a big Dodge dualie, and I always carry a tow strap, so he pulled us out. We had to slog 3/4 mile back in, but the birds were there. Trouble is, they could hear you coming thru the crusty snow and literally a hundred birds got up out of range. But they are always a few tail end charlies, and I managed a big cock bird with a Sterly 16 and Boss non tox shot. Had a wonderful retrieve by Doodle. Terry manged another with his lab.
The weather was quite cold, but winds had moderated, making it fairly comfortable.
The second day found us in a big WPA, the lake was of course frozen, but the birds were in the cattails big time. I too k 2 over Doodle, and suddenly she was gone. She is not a big runner, doesnt chase deer, but only weighs 35 lbs and is always skinny as a rail. She is a great retrieving setter--maybe the best I've ever had. I had a locater beeper on her, but couldnt hear anything when I hit the button. She recalls very well to the beeper and to the silent vibration mode. I was panicked, almost in tears, walking around and calling until well after dark.I got back to the truck around 8pm--gets dark by 5. I left her crate and food. There was one house in that area, and a young couple answered the door. I asked them to keep a lookout for her around their barns. I later found that they went out looking for her that night--wonderful people.
I barely slept that night, and we were headed back well before daylight. Her crate and food were untouched and it was 3 degrees. We walked back down into where I last heard/saw her and saw a set of fresh tracks paralelling my boot prints from the night before. Suddenly Terry hollored, "I see her" and ther she was at the edge of the cattails. She was afraid and ran from us but slowly seemed to recognize me. I had brought her mother Fancy with me, and turned her loose, and she went right up to her. Cold, starving, but OK, I could care less about the rest of the trip. Got her back to the truck, warmed and fed her .
Since we were there, we waited until 10:00 am--starting time in SD. Terry went on to kill 3 birds in a row, while I never got a shot all day--and couldnt care less.
The rest of the trip was good, both of us shooting birds every day, but the conditions were so tough on both man and beast, that we called it after 5 days. We drove the 1150 miles straight thru yesterday--and we will be back up next January!
( I will post pictures from my Phone)
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Unread 01-24-2023, 07:28 PM   #2
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SoDak
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Unread 01-24-2023, 07:29 PM   #3
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Unread 01-24-2023, 07:34 PM   #4
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Unread 01-24-2023, 07:50 PM   #5
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Willie is the B&W setter in the first picture.
My hunting buddy since grade school, Terry. Terry is a diehard old Beretta fan. He loves BL 4's, esp in 20 ga, and shoots an old SO 3 with double triggers on pheasant.
Doodle is the little white setter.
The hoar frost was with us all week, beautiful. Never got warm enough to melt, and the air so dry we really didnt get wet.
If you think that is a strange looking Parker in my hand you are right. It is a FAIR Rizzini 600 OU with double triggers and choke tubes, a great pheasant gun. We hunted all Waterfowl Production Areas and Game Production Areas, thus shooting all non tox bismuth Boss .
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Unread 01-24-2023, 07:58 PM   #6
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Unread 01-24-2023, 08:07 PM   #7
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Harold, glad to read you had a successful trip and, most of all, that you found your lost pup. What a horrible feeling to lose a dog. I've had it happen several times and there is nothing quite like the anxiety you feel.

But...we go again and again, every chance we can...
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Unread 01-24-2023, 08:08 PM   #8
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Harold,

I still have a second 5-day license for SD. My buddy up there goes out and comes back in an hour saying he can’t get to any place the pheasants are due to the drifts. I keep wanting to go but after your pictures I must have gotten soft. I have no desire to use my last 5 days!��

Looks like some great shooting.

Ken
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Unread 01-24-2023, 09:42 PM   #9
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Harold,
Glad everything ended well with Doodle, I’m sure that was a long night. I lost my Brittany while grouse hunting for about 4 hrs, I can’t imagine trying to sleep.

Thanks for all the pictures, those hoar frost pics are beautiful!

Stan
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Unread 01-25-2023, 01:54 AM   #10
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Harold that looks like a rather comfy lodge and glad your setter was okay ! But that white stuff all over the ground kinda kills it for me
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