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Memorial Pheasant Hunt, Tribute Gary Howey

 

  Veterans and those serving veterans have always been dear to me as the military tradition runs deep in my family, with my father, brother, uncles and cousins all serving in the military.

  My father, brother, uncles, cousin and I all served, some during World War Two and others during Viet Nam. I served in the Army with over-sea tours in Germany and Viet Nam and then in the Iowa and Nebraska National Guard.

  This is why, when the colors pass in review or our National Anthem played, I like others who served, remove our caps and place them our hands over my heart.

  Because I served and my pride in my country, any opportunity I have to thank or highlight veterans, I will be there.

  When asked to take part in the “Doug Brown” Memorial North Central chapter Paralyzed Veterans of America Pheasant Hunt it took me but a split second to say “Yes.”

   Doug served as the Veteran’s Representative at the Sioux Falls, South Dakota Veterans Administration serving veteran’s for many years.

   This annual event, held in his memory allows disabled veterans and individuals the opportunity to take part in a real South Dakota pheasant hunt.

  Friends and family of Brown, the North Central Paralyzed Veterans of America staff, volunteers from throughout the area and the folks at Top Gun Hunting Ranch near Howard, South Dakota all contribute to the success of this great annual event.

  The event starts out with a great breakfast, safety briefing and with the assistance of a special built trailer, that allowed wheel chair bound veterans and others to  load  into the back of the pickups that transferred them to the field and served as their shooting platforms.

   On our first field, the pickups carrying these hunters made their way to the end of each field where they would block while the walkers and I pushed through the crop fields, CRP and grasses.

  The excitement of the hunt started quickly when one of the numerous dogs working in front of the walkers went on point with those walkers stationed on that side moving up on the dog. [Read more…]

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The 15th Annual Paralyzed Veteran’s of America &Fireman’s Fishing event By Gary Howey

  What does it take to have the ability to take dozens of paralyzed veterans and other individuals fishing on the Missouri River? It’s a monumental task, which is pulled off each year in the Missouri River waters adjacent to Chamberlain/Oacoma, S.D.

  Our destination, Arrowwood, Cedar Shore Resort, which located on the west bank of the Missouri River near Oacoma and as  we pulled into the parking lot, there were vehicles from several states including; Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Colorado, North Dakota and Texas.

   The resort was the headquarters for the 2017 Firefighters Paralyzed Veterans of America North Central Chapter Joel Niemeyer Memorial Walleye Fishing event that was held May 25 and May 26.

  This event, the 15th annual would give disabled veterans and other individuals the opportunity to get out in a boat to do some fishing, for some; this would be their only opportunity of the year.

  Sponsored by numerous Fire fighters organizations, the North Central Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, local sponsors, several veterans groups, numerous volunteers, that included up to thirty boat commanders and first mates,  who’d volunteer their time, boats and equipment to take these folks out onto the river to fish. [Read more…]

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Looking Back at Another Year By Gary Howey

  It’s the time of the year, when temperatures are dropping and the northwest wind is making a visit to our part of the country.

  I’m in the office working with my computer, hating to think that I’ll have to head outside again, when I think about all the last year, 2016, which will be ending soon.

  Overall, it was a very good year, where Team members and I spent some time on the water and in the field with old friends as well as making some new ones along the way.

  We started out our year in Howard, S.D. on a late season hunt where Team member Josh Anderson and I filmed a pheasant hunt, on this trip; it was easy to see why South Dakota is the “Pheasant Capital of the World”.  This trip brought back memories, reminding me of how the pheasant hunting was when I was a boy growing up in Watertown, S.D.  

  Back then, they had a government program, the Soil Bank program with a potion of the farm left idle. This and the method they farmed back then, created thousands of acres of habitat, which help to create excellent pheasant numbers.

  Current pheasant numbers in our area are down, but I’m optimistic and looking forward to bird numbers improving. The new Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) will create thousands of acres of wildlife habitat, which gives birds a place to nest, roost, raise their chicks and help to protect the birds from predators.

  Following that trip, Team member Simon Fuller and I headed to the Aberdeen-Webster area to do some ice fishing. On the trip there were some big walleyes caught and returned into the icy depths of the Glacial Lake we were fishing. On that trip, I set a record for the most fish caught; unfortunately, they were minuscule, about the length of my hand and released, allowing them to grow up. It was a great trip as it gave us the opportunity to spend time on the ice with folks cut from the same cloth we were, spending time with others who loved to spend time in the outdoors, on the ice on a cold winter day. [Read more…]

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Doug Brown Memorial P.V.A. Pheasant Hunt-Veterans in the Field By Gary Howey

  South Dakota is the pheasant hunting capital of the nation and as I worked my way north I was looking forward to this, my first pheasant hunt of the year.

  As a youngster growing up in South Dakota, I was amazed at the number of birds in the Watertown area.  We lived just one block from the edge of town, where the Sioux River snaked through bottom and there were always birds in the sloughs and wet areas along the river.

  Another thing, which amazed me, was the fact that the bird that drew so many people to the state to hunt was the state’s bird, the Chinese Ring neck pheasant!

  It’s a great upland game bird and one that brings hunters from throughout the United States to take part in opening day.

  In South Dakota, hunters can bag three roosters per day and take home a possession limit of fifteen.

  On this hunt, I’d join members of the North Central Paralyzed Veterans of America to take part in the Doug Brown Memorial Pheasant hunt at Top Gun Hunting Ranch near Howard, S.D. 

  Doug Brown had served veterans for years as the Veteran’s Representative at the Sioux Falls, South Dakota  VA, with this annual event being held in his memory giving disabled veterans and individuals an opportunity to take part in a real South Dakota Pheasant hunt.

  Family members and friends of Brown as well as the North Central Paralyzed Veterans of America staff, volunteers from the area and the folks at Top Gun Hunting Ranch all help to make this 2016 event a great success.

  The event kicks off with a breakfast at Top Gun where generous proportions of eggs, biscuits and gravy, juice and coffee are served. [Read more…]

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14th Annual Joel Niemeyer Memorial Firefighters-North Central P.V.A. Fishing Event By Gary Howey

  As we drifted along one of the many shale bluffs on Lake Francis Case, the tip on Steve Thompson’s rod jerk violently  when  another walleye pounded the minnow at the end of his bottom bouncer rig.  Thompson, who was stationed in his wheel chair at the back of the boat, set the hook, bringing a chunky fifteen and a half walleye into the boat.

  Thompson was doing a commendable job of putting it to the brothers, as he was one walleye up on both of them.

  I was filming with Steve on a volunteer boat, captained by Bob and John Jarding of Sioux Falls. It was the second day of the event with the Jarding brothers’ boat being one of the forty-one boats volunteering to take part in the Firefighters North Central Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America and Joel Niemeyer Memorial fourteenth annual walleye-fishing event.

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Joel Niemeyer

  The first event  started out small with just six boats and six veterans and grown steadily into what it is today. This year’s event,  a memorial to Niemeyer, as he was one who truly cared about our veteran’s and was a strong advocate for them and was the executive director of the North Central P.V.A. for 15 years. 

  The event, was created after Niemeyer attended a “Fishing Has No Boundaries” event.  After that event, he felt a similar one would be an excellent project for the P.VA and with the help of firefighters and volunteers from the Tri-State areahe helped to create a similar event , giving some of the attendees their only opportunity to get out on the water to do some fishing.

  This year’s event included forty-one anglers comprised of P.V.A. members, veterans, firefighters and other individuals, many of them in wheel chairs as well as forty-four volunteers and their boats. Many of the boat captains have been with the event for many years, volunteering their time and their boats to give others an opportunity to spend time on the water and go fishing.

  The Chamberlain crew, volunteers, boat captains, their crews, veterans groups and regional firefighters from three states all worked together like a synchronized ballet.

  As those in wheelchairs arrived, a volunteer crew was on hand operating donated lifting equipment from R&R Gravel & Trucking and Cash Fees.  These lifts allowed those in wheel chairs to safely load and unload into the boats.  As each individual arrived, their wheel chairs were lifted into the boats, which then moved down to the docks to launch. This scenario was completed repeatedly until all those in wheel chairs were loaded.

  One of the volunteer boat captains, Kirk Klos, LeMars, IA.  would be fishing with the same individuals he had been with the year before. This individual had only had the use of his hands and fished by tapping on an electric reel, allowing him to reel in the fish. [Read more…]

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Platte P.V.A. Veterans Pheasant Hunt Those that asked little and gave a lot By Gary Howey

As a Veteran, I feel privileged to spend time with other veterans and this season, I’ve had several opportunities to spend time in the field with many of them.

On this trip, Platte, S.D. is our destination, where we join the North Central Paralyzed Veterans of America on the Platte American Legion 2015 P.V.A. Hunt. Platte, is a small community with a big heart, as the community, Platte American Legion, Platte Pheasants Forever and the East River Sportsmen worked together to make this event a success.

The event started with a meet and greet, get together at the American Legion Hall along with an evening meal prepared by the ladies of the Platte American Legion Auxiliary.

Each morning, before heading out to hunt, the Platte Pheasants Forever and the East River Sportsman put together a great breakfast for all those attending at the Platte Community Center.

Pic # 2-Platte PVA PhotoThe large group, made up with P.V.A. members and volunteers, required us to divide into two groups where we would be hunting with some of the local ranchers. After the meal, it was time to hit the field, one group going north while the other would head west.

I would be filming with the north group while Team Outdoorsmen Adventures member Scott Ulrich would be out with the west group.

Our group would hunt grassland, trees along with some cropland and were able to bag a few birds, as our birds were extremely wild, running ahead of the walkers, coming up well out of range of the walkers, between our walkers and the blockers.

Scott’s group, which would be in the field with hunting dogs, were able to find large number of birds, allowing their group to bag close to their limits.

The following day after breakfast, our two groups combined, hunting together, where we would hunt unpicked corn, sorghum and some grassland.

With the help of volunteers who walked the corn and the dogs, both pointers and flushers, the group would have an excellent hunt.

Some P.V.A. members would be hunting out of pickups, wheel chairs and in a specially developed 4-wheeler attachment invented by Todd Wesseling of Platte.

The attachment allowed a P.V.A. member to ride out in front of the 4-wheeler as Todd maneuvered it along the outside edge of field. This attachment was mounted to the front of the 4-wheeler and guided by Todd driving the 4-wheeler steering it electrically.

Early on, during this hunt, I would be filming with the walkers and later filming out of another 4-wheeler side-by-side, while Scott would try to catch the action at the end of the field.

The non-hunting volunteers and hunting dogs would slowly push their way through the fields. As they moved through the field, the plan was to push the birds in the direction of the blockers stationed along the edge and along the end of the field, allowing those in wheel chairs, on the ground and in pickup boxes to get an opportunity for a shot.

As we approached the end of the field, the hunters along the outside edge moved forward to set up with the blockers while the walkers paused, allowing the dogs’ to work the last 25 yards, forcing the birds in the air out in front of the P.V.A. members blocking.

The first bird erupted from the cover, then another and another, with birds exploding out in front and on either side, before long the sky filled with flushing pheasants as the hunters at the end of the field did their best to catch up with these high flying birds.

On each push through each field, the P.V.A. members had the opportunity, to spend time with friends, to shoot some birds and be a part of this great outdoor tradition, pheasant hunting in South Dakota.

Events like this, allow these veterans the opportunity to get out, join others and to enjoy the outdoors.

Without the support of people like those in Platte as well as the North Central Paralyzed Veterans of America, these veterans wouldn’t have the opportunity to be part of these events.

Our thanks to the people of Platte, South Dakota, the Platte American Legion and Auxiliary, Platte Pheasants Forever and the East River Sportsman for allowing our crew to take part in this event.

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Doug Brown Memorial P.V.A. Hunt One to Remember By Gary Howey

We have hunted pheasants hundreds of times in numerous states as well as at the Top Gun Hunting Ranch near Howard, South Dakota but have never have the opportunity to hunt on a more memorable hunt.

As we drove into the lodge, we were met by several vehicles park along the fence, their license plates indicating they traveled from Minnesota, Arizona, Louisiana, Florida and of course South Dakota to be part of this hunt.

The fourth annual Doug Brown Memorial Paralyzed Veterans of America Pheasant Hunt, is a memorial to Brown who served for years as the Veterans Benefits Representative at the Sioux Falls, South Dakota VA.

The Sioux Falls office of the North Central Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America put together the hunt, bringing in ten P.V.A. members for this hunt held at the Top Gun Hunting Ranch.

After a hearty breakfast, nine of the hunters in wheel chairs, with the help of the volunteers used a special trailer to lift them into the back of nine pickups, while another P.V.A. member would be hunting from a tracked wheelchair. [Read more…]