We left Monroe LA and it was a balmy 82 degrees with strong south winds. Once we arrived in South Dakota that was no longer the case. As soon as we landed I could feel the plane instantly getting colder. Once we stepped outside it was evident why. It was a brisk 32 degrees with a strong Northwest wind. To say I wasn’t prepared would be an understatement. We hit the ground running and went straight to Cabela’s to buy our licenses and for me to by a blaze orange vest. Being a waterfowl hunter I had 0 use to this point for such a vest and honestly felt silly for even buying it.
We then hit the road until we got to the small town of Armour. It is the true definition of small town USA and I loved it. We stayed at a lodge that I am certain had more stories to tell than even Si could come up with. That night we went for dinner at the one restaurant in the town called the Blue Moon. We had to make it snappy though because come 10 pm it was time to close.
After a good nights sleep we arose with excited anticipation. I woke up at daylight ready to hit the field. It was at this point I was informed we couldn’t hunt until 10am. We went for breakfast in a town 10 miles away and it was solid. It was the South Dakota version of a Waffle House so I was right at home. We then headed to Mill’s Pheasant hunt where were greeted by Wes, Marv and Travis. IT was COLD out. This LA boy hadn’t felt 24 degrees with a 20 mph wind in a long time. I had the new Under Armour wool clothing zipped up air tight! Oh by the way that stuff is awesome. No wind cutting it whatsoever!
We stopped at the first field and began walking a corn strip. Nothing. Not one. I was bummed. I thought man there is no way we walked this far and not see a bird. We walked over to the next strip and before we got started I saw a big rooster walking through the corn. I was fired up. We walked longer than I expected before I almost had my first pheasant heart attack. That sound was unmistakable. One shot, one kill. I walked over to inspect my very first pheasant and was in awe at what lay there. I always thought a wood duck was the prettiest thing you could see but that pheasant gives him a strong run for his money. The amount of colors on that bird was nothing short of spectacular.
We hunted most of the day to get our 33 birds. I have never walked so much in my life but it was an enjoyable walk for sure. We hunted food plots, corn strips, shelter belts, sloughs, draws, and anything else that looked like it would hold a pheasant.
The next day was nice weather wise. The wind laid down and the temperature warmed up nicely. We again walked and walked but we got our limit of birds. I almost stepped on several hens that day and they just thought they were scared of me. Each time they flushed I lost a year of my life. Who knew a single bird could make such a racket? And why would they let you basically step on them before they moved? Here is what I know for certain: a Benelli Super Black Eagle 3 and Hevi Metal pheasant loads are a lethal combo for these more than worthy adversaries. I sure hope the invitation comes up again because I assure you I will not hesitate to go this next time.