South Dakota 2011 R&R

Every year Val and I make the trip back home in the fall for some R&R. Track cars have been put away for the year, and it is a good opportunity around Thanksgiving and Christmas to head north for some hunting. This year I did something I have never done before on a vacation….I left my laptop at home. I did cheat a little with my blackberry, but most of the time when hunting I didn’t have a signal anyway, so that nipped that in the bud a little bit. We filled the cooler with pheasants, walleye, and deer and head back for home.

A limit of roosters. While Atikas were bred to hunt bear, the shop supervisor thinks she is a bird dog….well this year was more of a deer dog as she did take off once after a pair of whitetails while bird hunting. In 9 years, I have never seen her run for so long or so far, I wasn’t sure if she was going to come back. When she disappeared over a hill, I started getting a little nervous. Eventually she gave up the ghost and came back happy as could be. Hindsight being 20/20, after initially spotting the pair of whitetails, I probably shouldn’t have told Tia “those deer are going to steal your treats.”

Also being 9 years old, she can get a stubborn streak in her and need a talking with.

Normally Valerie gets stuck with the duties of dropping hunters off at one end of the field and picking them up at the other end. The last couple of years we have had her shooting clays, skeet, and sporting clays, and this year we decided to turn her loose on birds. Her first pheasant with her dad and Sunny.

And another one the following day. We tried to take a picture the day after this one was taken (in the same spot with a limit of birds) where there was 6 inches of snow on the ground, but the camera batteries were froze. I think the temps were about 9 degrees out, but the snow held the birds in tight. Notice Tia refuses to acknowledge a “dog” is in the picture.

The landscape changes a little for deer hunting, and can be some tough hunting. We took a day off to ween the cattle at the ranch seen here. In the 3rd picture you can see some cows at the very top of the ridge. They get spread out over about 10-15 square miles of this terrain, so we used 4 wheelers and horses to round them up, bringing in about 180 steers/heifers that we sorted from the cows. If you aren’t careful, you come flying over a ridge with the 4 wheeler and find a sharp cliff ahead of you!

And now it is time to get back to it and catch up on work!

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