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That Time of the Year Being Thankful By Gary Howey

  The holiday season and especially Christmas is a time to reflect back and truly appreciate all we have, our families, friends, the many opportunities available to us because we live where we do, and for those that have given up so much for us as they serve in our military.

  We should be thankful for so many things, especially our families, our husbands and wives, children, and grandchildren and for those who have been around longer than I have your great-grand kids. Our families, who may have sometimes wondered about us, have been there and who have supported us throughout life, through thick and thin.

  We should be especially thankful for their support over the year and for me, especially the support of a wife, “who has kept the home fires burning” while I was away.

  On my journey, I’ve traveled many miles, yes I was fishing and hunting, but as my good friend Tony Dean once said, “It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it.” 

  For those friends, old, new, some we have lost and those friends we may not yet have meet, those we think of from time-to-time.

Those, whom we may have spent time with in the blinds, peering in the air for the waterfowl flights that may not appear, in the fields walking those many miles in search of pheasants, quail and prairie chicken, on the water waiting for that next bite, those who helped us to create our own outdoor adventures.

  We should be thankful for time spent with friends and family who have passed, remembering those good times we had with them.

  I’m also thankful for the wildlife we have on earth, those animals, birds and fish that have fed and clothed early Americans and for those in the wild today.  These wildlife species aren’t there just for hunters to enjoy, but also hikers, bird watchers, wildlife photographers and nature lovers. Many of these species increase in numbers because of the efforts of hunters and the dollars aid by them in excise taxes on their equipment and their permits.

  Then there’s our Team Outdoorsmen Adventures members who keep us advised on the outdoors in their areas and furnish their time and equipment to put us on the fish and game when things get hot.

  To those who have spent long hours with us, supervising our journey, helping us to get to where we are today, we all should be thankful for.  

  For me, it would be the newspaper editors who’ve had to work with me, the videographers, editors and radio co-hosts who made sense of what I did, wrote and say.

  Then there are the opportunities given in life, the direction our lives have went, where we live and the decisions we’ve made in life.

  We should be thankful for the opportunities we’ve received, in putting our lives together, our occupations, our families,  the people we’ve met and where we’ve ended up in life. [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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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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Veterans, Pheasants and South Dakota A winning combination Gary Howey

Its fall, the time of the years when trees, shrubs and grasses change from their summer colors to their beautiful fall coloration.

The orange, yellows and reds are not the only colors appearing in the fields in October, as you will see rows of hunters orange color as thousands of hunters, hit the field for the South Dakota pheasant season.

It was the second week of the season as wildlife artist Mark Anderson, Sioux Falls, South Dakota and I made our way north up Highway 281 heading for Aberdeen, up into Brown County, the home of excellent habitat and good bird numbers.

Good friend Casey Weismantel, Aberdeen C.V.B. had invited us to take part in a veteran’s hunt held out of the Half Cocked Lodge on Mina Lake west of Aberdeen.

The event sponsored Wounded Warrior Guide Service, Aberdeen C.V.B., HuntFish SD.com and the Half Cocked Lodge brought veterans from WW 2 Viet Nam and Iraq-Afghanistan together to pheasant hunt.

It was close to noon, as we loaded up and making our way out to the fields to begin our hunt; with our group opening our season in one of the many unpicked cornfields in the area.

As the veterans debarked the bus, team leader Dave Usselman went over the game plan as to how best to hunt the field. [Read more…]