Many column readers are not hunters. Just how good the noses are of our South Dakota foxes, bobcats, coyotes, pronghorns, deer and elk may not be realized by non-hunter readers. In my Dec. 17 column, I wrote of my recent East River deer hunt. In describing the bean field we hunted, I talked about taking cover on the northwest corner, the north side and the west end. This all had to do with wind direction.
I mentioned in a recent column that my next read would be "John P. Williamson: A Brother to the Sioux" by his daughter Winifred W. Barton. I've since read the book. Because Williamson was instrumental in bringing Christianity to our local area Indian population, the book would be a fitting Christmas topic. If five readers wrote this report, we would have five different renditions. I've decided to discuss the things that stand out in my mind, and I took no notes as I read. In thinking about today's subject matter, I realize that I'm heavy on history and light on church organization.
Since October 1968, I've been privileged to hunt the same Corson County ranch. Land forms vary within the ranch's boundaries with cottonwoods embracing the Grand River bottom. Badlands hell's canyon formations, walls, rims, buttes, and cultivated land on the flats grace the remainder of the ranch. I've never before witnessed the abundance of wildlife we observed on our recent Corson County West River deer hunt.
As you read today's column, we are entering the very best part of our S.D. pheasant season. The crops are out of the fields, the birds are bunched up in heavier cover, permission to hunt is far easier to obtain and with snow cover, the downed birds are generally easier to find. This, of course, is my personal opinion. Though I'm an advocate for standard loads of six's or 7-1/2's on pheasants, these late birds have heavier feathers. The shots also tend to be longer. Because of this, one would do well to go with four or five shot while using a full-choked, single-barreled gun.
Deer season. We're in the midst of it right now. Our South Dakota seasons began Sept. 27 with archery, and will continue with various doe tags through Jan. 4. With deer in mind, the November 2014 issue of "Petersen's Hunting" threw out some facts on our deer that I found interesting. In 2013, we deer hunters spent more money on deer hunting than the combined total revenue of Cabela's and Bass Pro Shops for the same year. If deer hunting were a corporation, it would rank 95th on the Fortune 500 list placing it ahead of DIRECTV, Time-Warner Inc. and Nike. Today's U.S.
Last spring, while making final arrangements for Doug Koupal's and my coming August safari to Namibia Africa, I mentioned in this column that anyone interested in joining us should give me a call. I immediately heard from Jim Paulson of Mitchell. He wanted to go. Neither Doug nor I knew Jim, but we were confident that we would all get along. Perhaps we would have time to get to know each other or bond somewhere before our adventure began. It was late afternoon when we landed at New York City's JFK International. We made it off the plane and followed the crowd to the baggage claim area.
Today's Canadian fishing topic may seem unseasonal, but planning for next summer's fishing trip can start anytime. A few years ago, I did a column on Canadian fishing. I've traveled and fished Canada from the island of Newfoundland on the east to British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands on the west, and north to and including the territories. In that column, I stated there were two ways to get great fishing in Canada. Fly in to a remote lake, and be fussy about your choice, or pull your boat a long, long way. I'm not talking the slow to fair fishing in Lake of the Woods.
On Oct. 1, I described partner Doug Koupal's cape buffalo hunt in Namibia, and how his professional hunter, Karel Grunschloss, was nearly obliterated by a charging buff. At the end of the hunt, we realized Koupal's trophy bull was wounded and lost. Great news! Doug's buff carcass was found on an impenetrable island of reeds where it died -- probably within minutes of when it was shot. The skull has been recovered, and Doug will have it for his trophy room. Buy the right shotgun shells for pheasants I experienced some very difficult shopping the other day.
I expect today's column to generate a number of different opinions. The treating and preservation of wild game, even before it's on the ground, is a subject that most hunters feel that their way is best. I mentioned "even before it's on the ground" because I believe that an animal that dies under stressful circumstances, like being chased or being wounded, will yield meat that tends to be tough.
On our recent African hunt, I became acquainted with three Namibian cities — the capital city of Windhoek with its population of 240,000; the Zambezi River city of Katima Mulilo...