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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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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…]