USA: South Dakota 2021 Report

PARA45

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Here is my South Dakota 2021 hunt report, 12 - 21 Nov. This year, I was after deer, pheasant & fishing walleye.

My trip started with a shuttle ride from my town of Bonaire, GA to Atlanta Airport. The 2 hour ride was uneventful, and I arrived at the airport with plenty of time to check in. I was scheduled to fly with Delta, with a direct flight from Atlanta, GA, to Sioux Falls, SD. Checking in with Delta was uneventful, and checking my gun case with easy as well. No issues what's so ever. I was a bit hesitant that my flight to SD would be cancelled due to high winds in 60 MPH range, but thankfully the winds died down to about 25 MPH, and my flt was on time. Flight to SD was uneventful, but a bit bumpy on approach, and the Delta Capt was a good stick, and we landed without any issue, considering the Capt was an Army pilot on his previous life. I paid him a compliment on his good flying abilities, even thought he was not an Air Force pilot. :ROFLMAO:

Arrived in SD at 7:45 PM, my bags arrived and I was in business. My ride was already outside waiting for me, and we were ready for our 3 hour ride to the lodge. I arrived at the lodge at 1105 PM, and I was welcome by some of the usual suspects and a good bowl of Gumbo. I found a bunk, and got ready for deer hunting in the morning, followed by pheasant hunting the rest of the day.

A bit of background about this place. This area is located in Winner, South Dakota, and it belongs to my former OIC (Officer in Charge) who worked with me, and we became best of friends during the time we worked together. He owns about 1000 acres, and it's divided by three different areas. I've been hunting there since 2000, and was a regular until I moved to GA, and work kept me away since 2014. This year I was lucky to draw two tags (buck & doe), and the usual pheasant hunting and fishing. I had never fished in SD, and I had never fished for walleye either, so I was excited about fishing for them. I grew up deep sea fishing, so this was a bit of a treat and something different :)

Here is a picture of what will be my home for the next week or so.

A-Frame.jpg


A-Frame 2.jpg


Deer hunting consisted of hunting in two different areas, and this morning we were hunting on the south side of Tripp County. The typical hunt here was the usual park and glass this massive land with hope of a stalk on a deer. We got to see deer, but they never came into our land, and all we could do was to watch them from a distance hoping they jump the fence in our area. The rut was in full swing, and the bucks were chasing does in estrus hoping to score. For the first time in my life I got to see two young bucks fight for the love of a watching doe. What a beautiful experience, and something I will always remember. The morning hunt ended with no shots fired, and we went home for a well deserved breakfast of eggs, bacon, hash brown, toast, and coffee.

I had forgotten how beautiful the sunrises and sunsets are in the Mid-West Plains.

Sunrise.jpg


Sunset 2.jpg


Sunset.jpg


More to follow. :)
 

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Good start. Eagerly awaiting the rest.
Bruce
 

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Smoked a nice Camacho Corojo while reading the opening installment. Can’t wait for more, and got plenty of cigars so lets get rolling. By the way, bad ass cigar selfie photo on the cigar thread!
 

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Pheasant hunting;

Well, pheasant hunting this year was not what I was used to. The rumor around town was that the pheasant population was down drastically, and there were numerous speculations to what caused this drastic decline in the pheasant population. Some say it was last year's drought, other's blamed a bad hail storm, too much Roundup used on the fields, faster Combines not giving the chicks a chance to run, farmers farming up to the fence line and not leaving enough cover for the birds, and bad winters. Ah and of course too many predators (coyotes, possum, skunks, coons & the air attacks from all the raptors). Regardless of which theory we chose, the birds were down in an area where seeing thousands of birds take flight was not an uncommon sighting. If I had not experienced it, I would have never believed it. Even the cotton tails and jack rabbits were almost non-existent. I saw a handful of cotton tails, and not a single jack rabbit during my stay. Hopefully the pheasant population will bounce back to what it used to be. BTW, this is in no way a criticism to the state of SD, their wonderful people, or their wild life management. This is my experience based on previous years of hunting this same land. Please don't take this the wrong way.

The owner of the farm is doing his part by creating habitat for the birds, and planted food plots this year to help the birds survive the winter. Hopefully the pheasant population will bounce back to what it used to be.

During my 5 days of bird hunting, I was able to bag 5 birds, and 2-3 in which another hunter and I hit the same bird. Our group did our part in predator reduction, by shooting 3 coyotes, and two skunks. :)

Here is a picture of hunt. Seems like a good day's worth of hunting, but not when you consider that there were about 20 of us hunting this day. This was the best day, all other days we were lucky to get 1-2 birds per push. Some days the wind didn't help our cause, and some days we would push a field and not see a single pheasant take flight. I want to believe that these birds got smart since they've been shot at, and snuck behind us and fooled our dogs instead of taking flight. LOL!!!!

Birds (2).jpg


A picture of my Weatherby Athena with a bird I shot. :)

Athena 2.jpg


Hunting 2.jpg


Pheasant hunting.jpg


My local friend had his puppy (Rio) in training with him. He shot at a bird and missed, and since he missed, his puppy in training retrieved the empty shell to remind him of his miss and to ad insult to his pride. I think the puppy was telling him to get on with the program and not miss again. This was the highlight of this day's hunt, and we laughed all day about it :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO: A priceless moment that will live in our minds for days to come. :)

Puppy in Training.jpg


More to follow. Fishing is next. :)
 

Brent in Az

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That puppy dog will certainly put a smile on you. Amazing color on those birds. As fickle as wild Pheasant populations can be at times, they are certainly a blast to hunt.
 

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Tough hunting. Sounds like you guys had some fun.
 

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Fishing.

My local friend had a fishing day all scheduled out for me on this day. We hunted deer in the morning, and came home empty handed. Hunted pheasant after deer hunting (can't hunt pheasant until after 1030 AM in SD), and I got nothing. 2 for 2 on this day. :( The wind was blowing a bit (a rare occurrence in SD.....NOT!), and that didn't help my shooting. So after a great lunch, the plan was set to fish a pond on the Tripp County Buttes, (I need to find out the names of these Buttes), and all small fish were going to be relocated to another deeper pond. My friend said that this pond was not deep enough and that it would freeze solid during the winter, killing all the fish. So, our job was to catch as many fish (Bass & Crappy) this afternoon and relocate them.

Fishing was very slow with the wind blowing, we couldn't cast our jigs far enough (fishing from the bank), and the fish were not biting at all. We moved to another pond that feeds this one pond, and each one caught one small bass each. Since this was a deeper pond, we threw them back. The wind died down to nothing, and we started catching fish after almost each cast. The total for the day was 45 bass, and 3 crappy, not counting the ones that got away as we pulled them into the bank. LOL!!! My friend decided to bet me that he would catch more fish than me, and I said game on. I ended catching 2 fish for ever one he caught, including 3 crappy that were worth double. LOL!!!! We kept a few of the bigger ones, and released the smaller one at this deeper and bigger pond.

This is where I was going fishing that afternoon.

Buttes.jpg



Pond.jpg


We decided to try our luck and go after deer again in the Buttes, and managed to see some nice prospects, but as usual they were on the other side of the barb wire. We drove around this one small Butte, and we saw some does running. I got out of the car, and went prone on the ground. There was one buck standing broadside, and I asked my friend to range him. He whispered 309 yds, and gave me the green light to take him. I replied back got it, and settled behind the cross hair. The deer moved a bit, and I continue to follow him, and once he stopped, I set the cross hair on the tip of his should. I was solid, and fired. I did not hear the impact, and noticed the deer running like nothing. I asked my friend (spotter) if he had seen the bullet impact, and stated no. Hmmmm.

So now, I'm thinking what could have gone wrong, and I had wondered if my rifle scope and zero somehow got messed up from riding on the back seat, or was it the shooter behind the rifle. :unsure::unsure: Now, I'm second guessing myself and doubting if my rifle scope zero was true or not. I had checked my zero the day after I first arrived and it was good to go. Our hunt was over for this afternoon, and now we were going to go night fishing for walleye on the Missouri River . :)

Went home to drop off the hunting gear and to pick up our fishing tackle. On the way to the river we stopped by the Tripp County Buttes and picked up the owner of the property we were fishing and hunting this afternoon. A great guy who gave permission to this out of state hunter to hunt his land thanks to my good local friend. I couldn't thank him enough for this great opportunity.

It was about an hour long drive to the river, so I took advantage and took a little combat nap. :) An hour later we arrived at Ft Thompson Damn, and this would be the place where we would be fishing for the next several hours. I'm glad I packed all my cold gear because it was freezing, the wind was blowing from the other side of the river, and it was very cold. Fishing consisted of taking a Rapala lure and casting it to the wall of the damn, and retrieving it. We tried this for about 1/2 hour without any luck.

BTW, I am petrified of dark water, and specially at night. I've done night dives in the ocean, and had no issue, but for some strange reason, rivers & lakes scare the crap out of me. So, here we are next to this damn, one of the turbines is on, and the water is moving every which way.

My new friend hands me a white jig, and tells me to drop it next to the wall, and bounce it on the river bottom. WHAT?? That means I need to get on the edge of this wall (no rail) and fish? They didn't know and I didn't tell them how petrified I was just being 3 ft away from this ledge. LOL. So, I dropped the jig, and within 5 min or so, the first strike. Fish on, my first ever walleye was landed. We measured the fish, and it measured 16 1/2" a legal fish. I was super excited, and all fear of this dark turbulent water went out the window. Within the next two hours, I landed a total 5 fish, one of them being too short, one was 19", two 18"s, and the 16 1/2" I had caught earlier. I had managed to catch my limit of Walleye, and beat the two local boys :) I was happy and had to bust their chops a bit. LMAO!!!!! We got to the damn around 8 PM, and we were done fishing by 10 PM, not too bad for two hours of fishing. :)

Fishing.jpg


Here is the catch of the night, with the four biggest fish from the bottom up were caught by yours truly. :)

Walleye.jpg


The next day my friend cooked some walleyes, and we had walleye sandwich for breakfast. :) WOW!!!!!

sandwich.jpg


BTW this was my first time ever fishing for walleye, and I had a blast considering the conditions. I was expecting the fish to put up a better fight, but their lack of fighting was shadowed by the delicious taste of this fresh water fish. Walleye fishing....check!

More to follow.
 

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Here are some additional pictures of the pond I was fishing, the Missouri River, and the Buttes I hunted.

Pond 2.jpg


M  River.jpg


MR.jpg


Buttes 2.jpg


This picture would make any GMC truck owner proud, another beautiful sunrise in the Plains of South Dakota. :)

GMC.jpg


Final chapter tomorrow.
 

Brent in Az

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Fishing.

My local friend had a fishing day all scheduled out for me on this day. We hunted deer in the morning, and came home empty handed. Hunted pheasant after deer hunting (can't hunt pheasant until after 1030 AM in SD), and I got nothing. 2 for 2 on this day. :( The wind was blowing a bit (a rare occurrence in SD.....NOT!), and that didn't help my shooting. So after a great lunch, the plan was set to fish a pond on the Tripp County Buttes, (I need to find out the names of these Buttes), and all small fish were going to be relocated to another deeper pond. My friend said that this pond was not deep enough and that it would freeze solid during the winter, killing all the fish. So, our job was to catch as many fish (Bass & Crappy) this afternoon and relocate them.

Fishing was very slow with the wind blowing, we couldn't cast our jigs far enough (fishing from the bank), and the fish were not biting at all. We moved to another pond that feeds this one pond, and each one caught one small bass each. Since this was a deeper pond, we threw them back. The wind died down to nothing, and we started catching fish after almost each cast. The total for the day was 45 bass, and 3 crappy, not counting the ones that got away as we pulled them into the bank. LOL!!! My friend decided to bet me that he would catch more fish than me, and I said game on. I ended catching 2 fish for ever one he caught, including 3 crappy that were worth double. LOL!!!! We kept a few of the bigger ones, and released the smaller one at this deeper and bigger pond.

This is where I was going fishing that afternoon.

View attachment 438786


View attachment 438778

We decided to try our luck and go after deer again in the Buttes, and managed to see some nice prospects, but as usual they were on the other side of the barb wire. We drove around this one small Butte, and we saw some does running. I got out of the car, and went prone on the ground. There was one buck standing broadside, and I asked my friend to range him. He whispered 309 yds, and gave me the green light to take him. I replied back got it, and settled behind the cross hair. The deer moved a bit, and I continue to follow him, and once he stopped, I set the cross hair on the tip of his should. I was solid, and fired. I did not hear the impact, and noticed the deer running like nothing. I asked my friend (spotter) if he had seen the bullet impact, and stated no. Hmmmm.

So now, I'm thinking what could have gone wrong, and I had wondered if my rifle scope and zero somehow got messed up from riding on the back seat, or was it the shooter behind the rifle. :unsure::unsure: Now, I'm second guessing myself and doubting if my rifle scope zero was true or not. I had checked my zero the day after I first arrived and it was good to go. Our hunt was over for this afternoon, and now we were going to go night fishing for walleye on the Missouri River . :)

Went home to drop off the hunting gear and to pick up our fishing tackle. On the way to the river we stopped by the Tripp County Buttes and picked up the owner of the property we were fishing and hunting this afternoon. A great guy who gave permission to this out of state hunter to hunt his land thanks to my good local friend. I couldn't thank him enough for this great opportunity.

It was about an hour long drive to the river, so I took advantage and took a little combat nap. :) An hour later we arrived at Ft Thompson Damn, and this would be the place where we would be fishing for the next several hours. I'm glad I packed all my cold gear because it was freezing, the wind was blowing from the other side of the river, and it was very cold. Fishing consisted of taking a Rapala lure and casting it to the wall of the damn, and retrieving it. We tried this for about 1/2 hour without any luck.

BTW, I am petrified of dark water, and specially at night. I've done night dives in the ocean, and had no issue, but for some strange reason, rivers & lakes scare the crap out of me. So, here we are next to this damn, one of the turbines is on, and the water is moving every which way.

My new friend hands me a white jig, and tells me to drop it next to the wall, and bounce it on the river bottom. WHAT?? That means I need to get on the edge of this wall (no rail) and fish? They didn't know and I didn't tell them how petrified I was just being 3 ft away from this ledge. LOL. So, I dropped the jig, and within 5 min or so, the first strike. Fish on, my first ever walleye was landed. We measured the fish, and it measured 16 1/2" a legal fish. I was super excited, and all fear of this dark turbulent water went out the window. Within the next two hours, I landed a total 5 fish, one of them being too short, one was 19", two 18"s, and the 16 1/2" I had caught earlier. I had managed to catch my limit of Walleye, and beat the two local boys :) I was happy and had to bust their chops a bit. LMAO!!!!! We got to the damn around 8 PM, and we were done fishing by 10 PM, not too bad for two hours of fishing. :)

View attachment 438787

Here is the catch of the night, with the four biggest fish from the bottom up were caught by yours truly. :)

View attachment 438788

The next day my friend cooked some walleyes, and we had walleye sandwich for breakfast. :) WOW!!!!!

View attachment 438790

BTW this was my first time ever fishing for walleye, and I had a blast considering the conditions. I was expecting the fish to put up a better fight, but their lack of fighting was shadowed by the delicious taste of this fresh water fish. Walleye fishing....check!

More to follow.
Back in Minnesota when I was a kid, Grandma would make beer batter Walleye. Good eating!

Thats a decent fish haul. I imagine the water temps are getting pretty low.
 

PARA45

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Deer hunting.

After my disappointing miss, I had make sure that my rifle was good, and that it was the shooter to blame. :) We set up a target at 200 yds, and settled behind the rifle on this bench, and fired. Sure it enough, the rifle & scope were dead on at 200 yds, and it was the shooter all along. :(

Deer hunting was fairly tough, either the deer were on the wrong the side of the fence, too small, too far, or the shooter didn't do his job. LOL!!!!! We hunted three different properties, and got to see deer almost every day, with some exceptions. I could have filled my doe tag any time, but it seem like the ones around were yearlings, and we were not after yearlings. Now, these yearlings make our GA yearlings look tiny. These yearlings were in the 110-130 lbs. range, but we decided to let them go and focus on old mature does.

One day we got to see a young 4x4 chasing a doe on the neighbors property. Out of nowhere this 5x5 buck gets up from this small patch of grass. What, he'd been there all along, and we had not seen him. Wow, the way these guys camouflage themselves anywhere. Well, this big boy was not having anything from this young buck, and he bowed up like a tough guy with ears back, and came down this hill to let the young buck know he was in charge here. The young buck stayed back, and didn't bother to challenge this stud. LOL. We decided that if they jumped the bard wire, we would put a stalk on this guy. Well, the doe jumps the wire, and he follows her. We had a deep draw about 50 yds from the truck, and we used it to our advantage, the wind was good, everything looked good. The doe went into this thicket, and the buck followed her. Perfect, we have them bedded down, and they can't see us. We get to within 80 yds or so from the thicket, and the wind shifts a bit, and the doe got wind of us and takes off. Now, where is Mr. Buck? He is not moving, we glass trying to see if we can see him, and nothing. My friend suggest he'll walk up to the thicket and see if he can flush him out. I didn't like this idea, and I said to him to leave the area and come back in the evening. He still wanted to see if he could push the deer out. :( Well, sure enough, the buck jumps out and takes off running away from me up this hill. My friend yells at me to shoot, and I took a pop shot at a running away from me and up hill. Not smart and I was not happy with myself for taking the shot. A complete miss.

This buck never showed up again on his property, and I knew that would be the case. We talked about it, and we both agreed that it was a dumb thing to do, and that we should have gone back in the afternoon. Oh well, live and learn. This was my second miss. Ugh!

Fast forward to the last day of the hunt. We are hunting a different property this time, and some nice bucks were taken from here. We are sitting half way up this hill, looking into this deep draw with trees, a CRP with trees, and a corn field. Perfect day, no wind, and temps were in the mid 30s. We sat there and glassed with nothing moving, not even pheasants. WTF over???? At this time I was staying with another friend, who was going to take me to the airport the next day. I would call him not a very patient man, he had the radio going and he was smoking. LOL!!!!! How can we see anything with this going on. Well, with about 20-25 min left, he wanted to drive around, and I said not until the fat lady sings, and I have not heard a fat lady sing yet. We laughed, and I picked up my binos to see a deer moving with a purpose along the tree line, he was some 850 yds or so away according to my range finder. I see antlers, and we decided to take him. I get out of the truck, walk to the draw and try to cut the distance between this guy and me. I ranged him again, and he is 309 yds away, but decides to move again, and he wouldn't stop. I literarily had to yelled "hey" at him for him to stop. By this time, he was almost at the end of the property on this low part next to a pond, and I was in a clearing coming up from the draw. I had a log (shocked to find one in SD LOL), and used it as a rest. I fired and didn't hear an impact at all. I looked through my scope, and to my surprise he is still standing there. WTF, really. I chambered another round, took my time and squeezed the trigger and fired. I heard the thump of the bullet impacting flesh, and knew I had it. I stood up and looked through my binos and couldn't see anything. I looked at my friend who was still up the hill in his truck and he gave the thumb down. My heart sank that I had missed twice again on the same deer. How can this be possible, I figure the range to be tween 340-350 yds when I stopped him?

I collected my thoughts, and started walking to where he was previously standing. I was upset with my shooting, and couldn't believe that I was going to go home without a deer. Ugh!!!! What a terrible feeling. As I walk closer to where he was standing last, I noticed blood all over the grass. I couldn't see the deer since the grass was close to 24-30 inches tall. My mood changed completely, and knew that if there was blood, he had to be near by. I kept on walking in a faster pace, and saw the deer dead where he stood last. Perfect shot right through the heart, and he never took a step. Success!!!!!

Buck 2.jpg


Not the biggest deer I've taken from there, but it will do and beggars can't be choosy. Seems like this deer got his rear end kicked by a bigger buck, he had two tines from each side broken off. By now I was waving at my friend to bring the truck over. We took some not so good pictures, and loaded him up and took him to be processed. I'll be getting some regular summer sausage, summer sausage with cheddar & jalapenos, breakfast sausage, honey teriyaki sausage, and the back straps and tenderloins hole. :)

Not the best picture, my friend shakes a bit, and he couldn't get down to take the picture. So, I took a picture of the buck without me in the picture. Oh well.

Overall, this hunting trip was filled with challenges, but over all a successful hunt. Seeing old friends, hanging out telling all military stories (most of us are retired military), and enjoying being away from work was very rewarding. I didn't get the biggest buck, or limit out on pheasants, but the camaraderie and bonding with old friends has no price and that is how I measure a successful hunt. South Dakota is a beautiful state, very gun friendly, the people there are amazing, and I am looking forward to next year's hunt. Until then.
 

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Excellent trip and report my friend! Looks like you had a great trip. Nice that you were able to get in a bit of everything in SD. Congrats on connecting with that buck!
 

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Excellent trip and report my friend! Looks like you had a great trip. Nice that you were able to get in a bit of everything in SD. Congrats on connecting with that buck!

Thank you brother, some tough hunting for sure, but a blast overall. Already making plans for next year, that is if my son and I don’t go on an elk hunt in Oregon. :)
 

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Thank you brother, some tough hunting for sure, but a blast overall. Already making plans for next year, that is if my son and I don’t go on an elk hunt in Oregon. :)
That's a tough decision - Oregon is some of my old stomping grounds! Either way you choose, good to get out with your son and do some hunting together.
Aren't you headed to Africa next year as well? and you'll be going on another trip? Lucky dog, you!!
 

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That's a tough decision - Oregon is some of my old stomping grounds! Either way you choose, good to get out with your son and do some hunting together.
Aren't you headed to Africa next year as well? and you'll be going on another trip? Lucky dog, you!!

that is the plan. I turn 60 in Jan and I will start receiving my military retirement, so I’m using that, plus what I’ve saved up to do all these trips. Now, don’t ask me how I’ll pay for the taxidermist bill from Gizmo. LOL!!!
 

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SA: Eastern Cape, US: CO, ID, MT, NY, OR, VA, WA, WY
that is the plan. I turn 60 in Jan and I will start receiving my military retirement, so I’m using that, plus what I’ve saved up to do all these trips. Now, don’t ask me how I’ll pay for the taxidermist bill from Gizmo. LOL!!!
Haha - Good problems to have! That's a nice present for yourself for retirement ;)
 

gillettehunter

AH legend
Joined
Sep 10, 2009
Messages
4,033
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5,063
Location
WYOMING
Media
109
Hunting reports
Africa
7
USA/Canada
6
Asia/M.East
2
Australia/NZ
1
Hunted
Namibia, Kyrgyzstan(2) South Africa(4) New Zealand Zambia(2)
Good job on your buck. Congrats
Bruce
 

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Latest profile posts

trstallone wrote on HUNTROMANIA's profile.
I've Hunted So.Africa, love to try Romania
Clifford Johnson wrote on Mark A Ouellette's profile.
Mark, How did your hunt go with Wayne in Zimbabwe?
Cliff
Spartan2473 wrote on tnshooter's profile.
Hey buddy,
Have a great hunt in West TN. Looking forward to planning this next safari with you.

we’ll talk soon!
Hello thanks for acceptance to the group, I live on baffin island. Anyone ever hunt in the Arctic?
 
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