After hours of driving through the pitch-black prairie of eastern South Dakota, finally I pulled into the gravel parking lot of Pheasant Phun Lodge. My road-strained brain was immediately awakened as Dave Olsen, owner of Pheasant Phun, greeted me at my pickup truck before I could even turn off my headlights. Olsen’s warm welcome and unforgettable chuckle cut through the cold air. I stepped into the lodge where a cozy fireplace burned and a fine selection of bourbon winked at me from a fully-stocked open bar.
More blaze-orange brothers rolled in as the evening unraveled, all equally excited about the fields of pheasants that awaited us for the next day’s hunt. No need to get up early—this gentlemanly shotgunning stroll would start at our leisure, well rested, after a longer-than-necessary night of telling lies and sipping brown water. However, as dawn struck the next morning, few could resist the allure of fresh-brewed coffee and an impeccable sunrise piercing the lodge windows.
We were up and at ’em as the roosters started to crow. Hundreds of roosters, all within a stone’s throw of the lodge.
Seventeen of us methodically pushed standing corn and CRP grass for 4 hours. Well-trained canines triggered flush after flush, load after load of Prairie Storm barked and bit. With a full limit of 51 ringnecks in the bag, it was time to strip the beautiful birds of their feathers, innards and other undesirables to expose their tasty upland flesh.
Olsen has killed and prepared thousands of roosters for table fare in his day. In this video, he reveals his favorite method of cleaning pheasants for legal transportation. Most importantly, cleaning your birds this way will allow you to preserve all the sumptuous edibles contained on a rooster’s frame—not just his breasts.