South_dakota_1_116Today dawned cold and windy in Veblen, S.D., but even the worst day of winter-like weather around the cattail-choked prairie pot holes is better than making that trudge into New York City aboard a New Jersey Transit train.

I’m here at Prairie Sky Guest and Game Ranch as a guest of Polaris, Mossy Oak, Winchester and Browning with a group of outdoor and ATV writers. In bands of five, we departed into the predawn darkness bound for our hunt spots and the one I was at produced and produced big time. We saw ducks by the thousands (no kidding!) and had teal, gadwall and mallards dropping into our decoys from the first second of legal shooting time.

By the time the shooting cooled down like the butt-deep water we were standing in, we had 14 ducks and a Canada goose, six shy of our limit. No problem. Ducks had been dumping into a nearby hole several hundred yards away, and with a little sneak in the company of Kevin Howard, representing Winchester/Browning, Bill Sugg, president of Mossy Oak, Gary Koehler with Ducks Unlimited and our guide Paul, we slipped up on the birds, jumped them up and finished out our limit.

South_dakota_1_289In the afternoon, it was jump aboard the Polaris ATVs, take a spin out to a grassfield bisected with corn rows for a two-hour pheasant hunt. The group finished just short of its limit on the mostly released birds, but what a great time of shooting and watching Prairie Sky’s dogs work.

Tomorrow, we’ll be at it again, so look for my wrap-up on Wednesday after the trip concludes.

(A special thanks goes out to Jim Matthews for letting me use the pictures in this post.)