I recently returned from my very first South Dakota pheasant hunt. I really wasn’t sure what to expect when my boss, Gordy Krahn, asked if I would be interested in this hunt. Gordy did tell me this: “You’ll like the amenities at R&R Pheasant Hunting and there will be lots of birds.” All I could think was, Lots of birds means different things to different people, so I went into the hunt without extremely high expectations. After our first walk through a sorghum field, I quickly realized I had drastically underestimated the amount of birds I would see on this hunt.
Superior Guides Make A Difference
Hard-working Labs and German shorthairs were flushing rooster after rooster, to the point that I might have seen more pheasants in our first half-hour of the hunt than I have ever seen in my lifetime of Minnesota pheasant hunts. Our guides, Chris Hull and R&R Owner Sal Roseland, worked the dogs, keeping constant verbal contact with them while holding conversations with us. Chris and Sal kept us safe by first yelling “Rooster!” or “Hen!” as a bird flushed, or by yelling “Don’t shoot!” if a bird didn’t get enough elevation for a safe shot.
Practice Builds Confidence
I wasn’t shooting as well as I would have liked during the first morning of the hunt, so after lunch I hit up the trap range. With the help of Winchester’s AA TrAAckers, I was able to see that I was leading my targets a bit more than I should. The TrAAckers really cut down the time I needed to get back on top of my targets. Not only were on-lookers able to tell me how far I was off target, but I was also able to see how my adjustments affected each shot.
Good Shells = More birds
It’s no secret that Winchester’s Blind Side does major damage to ducks and pheasants, but seeing it in person will make you believe, beyond a doubt, they are a cut above other steel shotshells; it’s probably due to the unique shape of the pellets and Winchester’s proprietary Diamond Cut wad. One thing I didn’t expect was the added range. I started noticing others in my group consistently dropping ringnecks at 50-plus yards, and by the final day I was feeling confident enough to start doing the same—definitely a difference maker.
A Classy Shotgun Makes A Classy Hunt
The only double-barreled shotgun I’d ever shot before this hunt was my grandpa’s side-by-side, so I’m not completely qualified to compare the Browning Citori 725 to other guns in its class. But the addition of the Citori to our hunt was, to say the least, awesome. This over-and-under double barrel performed flawlessly. The only thing it left me wishing for was, on numerous occasions, the ability to chamber more shells because of all the pheasants flushing on each push. Browning got it right—from the recoil pad to ergonomics of the gun, ease of use and even the finish and etching on the metal. In my opinion, this shotgun will make any shooting experience better.
Comfort Is A Must
If there’s one thing that’s a necessity on a pheasant hunt—behind your gun and shells of course—it’s good boots. I brought two pairs along on the trip: Danner High Ground boots for the dry days, and LaCrosse AeroHeads for if it decided to rain. The first two mornings were dry, so I used the High Ground boots. After hours of walking, my feet were very comfortable and didn’t hurt at all. It rained throughout the night after our second day of hunting. Figuring it was going to be wet, I put the AeroHeads on the next morning. I walked in comfort all day and stayed completely dry from the knees down.
If you follow these five steps, you will undoubtedly have a fun and successful bird hunt the next time you visit South Dakota.