Each fall, the governor of the great state of South Dakota hosts his Invitational Pheasant Hunt. This is meant to be a way to show off South Dakota’s state bird, their pride and joy, the wily pheasant.

It’s also a means of attracting some special guests from out-of-state to look into the possibilities of investing money and business into the state. Well, it worked. High rollers came from as far away as New York to celebrate and join the hunt.

Now, lots of these fellers were good hunters, but a lot (like yours truly) couldn’t hit a slow-moving freight train with a bucket of Pratt & Lambert.

They split us into teams. Mine was called Custer’s Last Chance and Bugle Corps. They hauled us out into the beautiful, rollin’ grain fields in Tripp County halfway between Dog Ear and Old Lodge Creek.

Very quickly, we formed into a cohesive family unit. If you’ve ever seen a troop of baboons high on bus fumes, you’ll be able to picture it. We lined up in a company front at the end of a milo field. It was as straight as a cracked windshield. At the signal from Wes, our team leader, we invaded the field with the precision and practiced skill of the Houston Oilers backfield coming ashore at the Bay of Pigs.


When we reached the end of the field, I caught up with Russ. Russ is a big, big feller. He had on camouflage pants, a fluorescent hunting jacket, rubber boots and a yellow cap. He looked like a whitewater raft. He was pointing out a Cadillac limousine parked out in the field.

One of the South Dakota hosts had brought a load of celebrity hunters down in it. We had been told each team had a Fish and Game guide, a paramedic and a radio-dispatched helicopter pilot standing by at our immediate service, so I didn’t think it unusual for a funeral director to be on call either.

I saw Superpheasant. Yes, friends, he burst out of the cover and flew directly across our firing line of 12 hunters. Thirteen explosions followed, the last one being the pheasant breaking the sound barrier on his way to North Dakota – untouched by man-made projectiles.

Wes was an experienced bird hunter and bagged a pheasant, a grouse and a prairie chicken. I was impressed. He said, “Now, if I can jes’ git a medda lark. I’ll have a Minnesota Grand Slam.”

I asked him how medda lark tasted. “Oh, “ he said, “about like an owl.”  end mark