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18

His yellow coat may have been soaking, and he was probably cold, but the loyal hunting dog Ole still worked his way across the bank that surrounded a cattle watering pond. Along the border were small tufts of cattails.

It had been a few days since he and his owner, Eric Morken, had started their hunting trip but despite the fatigue, the chance for another flush pushed them on through the thick snow.

Roosters were in abundant numbers in this part of South Dakota and during the first few days of hunting, the group had already harvested seven. Now Ole pointed at a spot where the cattails met the grass. Eric and his father moved into position while their hunting friend, Steve Leitch, watched from an opening below in a dry basin.

As Ole faced the bird, he didn’t flinch until the pheasant couldn’t take it any longer and decided to flush. Eric shot the bird and Ole retrieved it. And that was the end to another perfect hunting trip in South Dakota as Eric Morken stated.

Pheasant numbers aren’t as high as they were 10 years ago, especially near Clark where Eric and his group were hunting. A decade ago, flocks of pheasants could number in the hundreds and would seem to erupt from the cattails. Now the numbers are much lower at 20-30 birds in a large flock. However, despite the reduction, a good hunter can have an excellent hunting trip.

Numbers this year also seem to be higher than the past two years, Eric reports, and numbers are much better than they are in Minnesota. This could be because of a good, mild winter and a highly favorable nesting season.

The success over the three days was apparent for the group. According to Eric, on the first day they harvested seven birds, with six on the second and eight during the first three hours of the final day. Eric also stated that they might have got closer to their limits had they not missed a few shots that should have hit home on any other day.

How were your hunting trips over the holidays? What was your harvest?

Let us know your stories below.


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