You know it’s opening day when…

South Dakota’s 2012 pheasant hunting season starts tomorrow, noon. I’m sure folks are going bird crazy just thinking about it.

South Dakota's Pheasant Opener
South Dakota’s Pheasant Opener

I’ve hunted SD’s opener a handful of times. For me, the day always meant lots of birds, lots of shooting and experiences I’ll always remember (and the night meant lots of drinking). Regardless of how thing went, getting together with my brother and his folks & family was always the best part of the trip.

To what the opener means to other folks, check out this list, pinched from Andrew Vavra’s blog The Over/Under on Pheasants Forever:

-While you were physically at work last week, you’ve been mentally absent the past three days
-That quiet, little gas station in the Middle of Nowhere suddenly has more traffic than the Vegas Strip
-You find yourself rubbing dirt on your shiny new chaps just so no one can possibly confuse you for a rookie
-There’s so much unnecessary gear packed in the back of your truck, you had legitimate concern over suffocating the dogs
-Various blaze orange militias have been staking out properties so early in the morning that even duck hunters would blush

Read all of this post here.

Ghost grouse…

Happy 2012.

Well, another upland season has come to an end for me and Puck – our seventh season together. December was a good to us. We saw quite a few grouse each time we went out. Our last time out hunting was the day after Christmas. The weather was in the mid-30s and there was 2″ – 3″ of snow in my covers – not too much to put the birds off of feeding on the ground. We hit a couple spots and got into 6-8 birds.

But while the birds were there, they weren’t holding for points. I think some were on the ground and others were roosting/feeding right off the ground. Either way, they all flushed well before I made it to Puck. Here are some shots from the day. Enjoy.