South Dakota Pheasant Hunt, Day 2

A long day ends with a longer ride home.

Our second effort starts with a strategy session at breakfast. We will walk CRP fields along the crop side hoping to flush some roosting birds. The day will end back at the prairie field with each of us anxious for another opportunity at a mega flush.

The wind has shifted out of the north with a sharp bite making the three layers required yesterday a mere afterthought. The sky is completely overcast and we will see no sun.

We work edges of CRP fields hoping to catch some roosting birds. The fields are still filled with water and the previous day has left our legs feeling a bit more than tired.

Ranger sloshes back and forth, eventually flushing a nice rooster. The rest of the day is filled with sloshing through wet fields while the temperature continues to drop. We flush a few birds, but mid-afternoon finds us exhausted and holding only two pheasants.

We hold a skull session and conclude we go the prairie field and arrive with an hour of daylight remaining, compared to ten minutes the night before. We will enter the field from a greater distance then swing around to push the birds against the slue.

We enter the field like four ninjas dressed in orange. Execution goes exactly as planned, except for participation from the pheasant population. We reach the slue with about twenty minutes of daylight left and flush not a single bird.

Stunned, we return to our trucks and search for explanations. We reason that wind change could be a factor and begin to strongly suspect another group has some how found this remote area and completed a pass in the afternoon. The sun finishes setting as our four hunting scholars drink a beer and contemplate the fundamentals of pheasantology.

Then, just as the night before, the symphony from hundreds of roosting birds serenade us again. The birds have returned, but we were ahead of them. Unbelievable as it seems, a fraction of an hour made the difference between mega flush and mega bust.

A long day of hard walking for only two birds with no big flush at the end makes the ride back to Aberdeen long and quiet.

Continue to Day 3...

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