Posts Tagged ‘Fort Pierre Grasslands’

My Five Bird Hunts before The Rapture

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Moments before The Rapture

You may have heard California’s Rapture-predicting preacher has revised his math.  It turns out the world is going to end on October 21st instead of May 21st as originally warned.  What’s that mean to a bird hunting fanatic like me?  With some bird hunting seasons opening up in mid September, I estimate to have about five bird hunting weekends left before the planet explodes. 

Here are the five hunts I’d like to make happen before the coming autumn Rapture.

1) Yooper Grouse Opener: It’s a family tradition to return back home to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to open the ruffed grouse season with Dad & Mom.  If the world is coming to an end, this one is the most important for me to squeeze in one more time.

2) Hells Canyon: While I hope to be headed north, not south, following The Rapture, I have to chase birds in Hells Canyon one time before I die.  While I’ve never been there, I’ve read about and been told stories of magical days in which hunters have shot pheasants, quail, grouse, chukar and Huns all in a single day.

3) Fort Pierre Prairie Grouse: In the last two seasons, I have fallen in love with the Fort Pierre National Grasslands.  Although my pup has had close encounters with rattle snakes and porcupines, I have experienced some of my most memorable days afield in search of prairie chickens and sharp-tailed grouse. 

4) Pheasant Opener: It has become a treasured tradition to open the Minnesota pheasant season at the cabin of FAN Outdoors radio host’s Billy Hildebrand in central Minnesota. 

5) A Walk Alone: I enjoy time spent afield with others; however, given my druthers, my most treasured hunts are alone behind my shorthair.  It seems that if the world is going to end, I’d find peace walking a patch of prairie with my pup Trammell. 


Knowing the world is coming to an end early this fall’s hunting season, what will be your final five hunts? 

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre.

Rooster Road Trip – South Dakota Preview

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

A ring-necked pheasant is on the South Dakota quarter.

When I’m asked how important pheasants are to South Dakota, I immediately think of one fact:

A ring-necked pheasant is on the South Dakota quarter. 


A pheasant on money; I think that tells you how intertwined South Dakota’s culture is with ringnecks.

Next Wednesday, our Rooster Road Trip will be joining Ben Bigalke, Pheasants Forever’s regional wildlife biologist, in the nation’s undisputed capital of pheasants.  We’ll be hunting public lands near Ben’s home in Huron.  Our hunting will be focused on some of the state’s 1.2 million acres of Walk-In lands, which are privately owned lands that have been opened to the public for hunting. 

On Thursday, we’re going to make our way west for a quick visit to the Fort Pierre National Grasslands as we attempt to add a greater prairie chicken and/or a sharp-tailed grouse to our bag full of roosters before we point the truck toward Nebraska. 

South Dakota Snip-its

  • South Dakota hunters annually harvest double the amount of roosters as the second place state.
  • A non-resident small game license costs $114.00 and is good for two 5-day periods.  Hunters have to purchase multiple licenses to hunt more than 10 days in the state.
  • Redfield, South Dakota has trademarked the slogan “Pheasant Capital of the World.”
  • Huron, South Dakota is home to a pheasant statue known as the world’s largest pheasant.
  • The daily bag limit is 3 roosters.
  • Pheasant hunting opens at noon daily for the first week of the season.  On October 23rd, hunters can begin hunting at 10AM.  Daily pheasant hunting closes at sunset all season.
  • South Dakota does not allow “party hunting” for pheasants, meaning a rooster harvested counts in the daily bag for only the individual who shot it.  Unlike in Minnesota, I will not be allowed to kill Anthony & Andrew’s roosters.
  • South Dakota has 1.1 million acres enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).  More than 450,000 of those acres’ contracts are set to expire in the next three years.


Boyt's Wax Canvas Chaps

Road Trip Recommendation

Boyt’s Wax Canvas Chaps: I go back and forth between field pants and chaps.  If there is any rain in the forecast, then these are the babies I throw on.  I like the weight of these in particular.  They are sturdier than a typical nylon pair of chaps, but not overly heavy like some other versions.

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.

The Bird Hunter’s Suitcase; Everything but Underwear

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

The Wing Works Vest comfortably carries water for the bird dog during an early season ruffed grouse hunt in the northwoods or chicken hunting in the grasslands.

Last evening, I packed for a trip to South Dakota’s Fort Pierre Grasslands.  This will be my second visit to the grasslands in search of my first greater prairie chicken, some sharp-tailed grouse, and hopefully a few coveys of Huns.  I wrote about my first visit last December in a blog titled “Chicken Walking.”  FYI – pheasants aren’t open till the middle of next month in SoDak.

 As I was packing, I thought it may be interesting to document the gear I’m taking with me for this three day trip.  Obviously, this is an early season hunt.  The temps are expected to be in the 70s and there isn’t any rain in the forecast.  That being said, here’s a list of the laundry I plan to get dirty.

  • Danner Santiam Boots: In this guy’s view, a good comfortable pair of hunting boots is the most important piece of gear you own.  Santiams are a bit toasty for early season (800 grain), but I love this particular model so much that I own two pairs and don’t own anything lighter for early season.  Besides, up in the “North Country,” early season lasts two weeks max anyway.  Unfortunately, you won’t find Santiam’s on the shelves of any retailer as the model is currently discontinued.  However, I’ve been told direct from Danner that they plan on bringing the Santiam model back in November. 


  • PF’s Rooster Shadow Cap: I’m a hat guy.  In fact, I own upwards of four dozen hats.  Two dozen are Pheasants Forever hats and two dozen are Detroit Tigers hats.  Of my PF hats, this particular one is my favorite.  It’s a flex fit, so it’s ultra comfortable and has a pretty darn cool design, in my humble opinion.


  • Wing Works Vest: It’s going to be hot this weekend, so I need to carry water.  When it comes to an early season hunting vest, there’s no better option than this Wing Works Vest featuring the PF logo.  It fits like a backpack, has sizeable pockets and can carry lots of water.  The only downside to this vest comes in ruffed grouse hunting.  The game bag is pretty open, so it does collect a lot of leaves and twigs.  Outside of that, this one’s a winner for early season walking.


  • L.L. Bean Upland Blue Jeans: I own a great pair of Filson chaps, but I’m opting for some classic denim for this early season walk.  Unfortunately, L.L. Bean has discontinued this product.  They are now selling a Wrangler version.  I bought a pair of the Wranglers, but have yet to give them a go, so I’m sticking with my favorites on this trip.





  • Scent-Lok Socks: My name is Bob and I’m a sock addict.  Key for me is a pair that DOESN’T slide down my calf.  These fit the bill.


  • PF’s Mud River Dog Bag: I carry a lot of gear for my German shorthair pointer and it all fits in this multi-pocketed, affordably priced vet bag.


  • Native Performance Dog Food: As the official dog food of Pheasants Forever and specially formulated for canine athletes, Native is the only food my pup has ever eaten.


  • SportDOG 1850 eCollar with Beeper: SportDOG is also a national sponsor of Pheasants Forever.  The 1850 is easy to use, yet offers a wide array of training options, “on point” sounds, and levels of tone. 



I’ve also packed “Captain” Billy Hildebrand’s de-skunking formula and a pair of needle nose pliers just in case we have another porcupine encounter in the grasslands.  Well, before I start talking about my undies, let’s just call this particular hunter’s checklist “complete.”

A Bird Dog’s Life List

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Me & Tram after putting a checkmark next to ruffed grouse on her life list.

Over the holiday weekend, I caught up on some reading.  An article in the most recent issue of The Pointing Dog Journal particularly caught my attention.  The piece titled “My Bucket List” was written by Tom Davis, also a contributor to the Pheasants Forever Journal.  As the name implies, Tom writes about the hunting adventures he’d like to have before he passes on.  It was an interesting read and likely follows thoughts many of us have this time of year as we review our calendars, health, and dog power for the coming autumn.  I wrote a similar blog post a year ago titled “My Bird Hunting Bucket List.” 

However, what really grabbed my attention was Tom’s tally of the wild upland game bird species shot over his bird dog.  Turns out, this sort of “Bird Dog Life List” is fairly common.  A couple of guys; Joseph A. Augustine (English Setters) and the renowned Ben O. Williams (Brittany) have even penned bird dog hunting books on the topic.  The consensus is twenty different North American upland game birds constitute a “Grand Slam.”    

So as I look toward my own German shorthaired pointer’s fourth season, I have taken inventory on Trammell’s own bird hunting life list.  Here is Tram’s current tally: a) species I successfully shot over her point, b) the year it occurred and c) the state in which it took place.

  1. Ruffed Grouse, 2007, Michigan
  2. Pheasant, 2007, Minnesota
  3. Timberdoodle, 2007, Michigan
  4. Hungarian Partridge, 2008, Montana
  5. Sharp-tailed Grouse, 2008, Montana

In some respects, I look at that list and feel guilty.  There’s the greater prairie chicken I missed in South Dakota’s Fort Pierre Grasslands last year.  And there’s the doggy plane ticket to Georgia I couldn’t afford preventing bobwhite quail from hitting her list. 

On the other hand, three seasons with Tram have been the best three seasons of my hunting career.  And if you consider the dozens of states and subspecies necessary to reach double digits, a guy could go broke chasing this list.  Plus, I’ll be in the Fort Pierre Grasslands in three weeks and I smell redemption.  Come to think of it, I’ll be in Nebraska (bobwhite quail) and Kansas (lesser prairie chickens) in November too.  Hunting season is here and things are looking up!

In the comment section below, post the following: a) your dog’s breed, b) your dog’s name, c) your dog’s age, and d) how many birds on his/her life list so far?