A pheasant outing in South Dakota

Published 8:00 pm Wednesday, November 13, 2019

For years, I have been fortunate to travel to Pierre, South Dakota to reunite with a gracious and hospitable friend, Homer Harding, who was successful in the military, business and politics.  

He is always a genial host and is well connected when it comes to pheasant hunting options.

He is one of several nonagenarians with whom I often interact, making one conclude that while none are likely to rival Methuselah, there are many who keep right on enjoying life each passing year.  They never carp about aging. 

They live life judiciously with an accent on moderation.  In the corn and grain fields, Homer’s eyesight remains keen. He usually takes home his limit of pheasant.

Homer has a measured walk, which reflects that he doesn’t get up tight about anything.  

He has a kind word for everybody and has been one of the most popular and respected citizens in Pierre for decades.

For years he worked as a guide for several farmers who enhance their income by offering hunting opportunity to out-of-state hunters who not only enjoy the thrill of the hunt, but marvel at the varied and rustic landscape.

Seeing pheasant congregate by a rusting piece of old farm equipment is a fitting setting for an artist.   

As you might suspect, pheasant art abounds in South Dakota.

The wily cock pheasant prefers to run on the ground to avoid detection, but when this most beautiful of game birds decides to take flight, he explodes upwards, helicopter-like, and cackles loudly as he gets underway.  

Even so, you better take aim quickly or he will have lived to cackle another day. 

When the day is done, you have a nice steak waiting for you somewhere. Good restaurants are plentiful here.  

The hearty natives will laugh at you if you advance the notion that red meat is not healthy.  

Take a look at my friend Homer and you will likely be motivated to take the short drive out to Cattleman’s Club Steakhouse, a few miles out of town on state route 34, and order a sizzlin’ sirloin.

More than 70,000 South Dakota residents like Homer take to the fields annually during the season while more than 80,000 non-residents join them.  

Collectively they harvest, on average, almost a million and a half birds each year which translates into nearly $700 million dollars for the state’s economy. 

Pheasant hunting supports 9,000 jobs in South Dakota.

Go anywhere you like and be impressed. 

Be moved to high praise if you like, but my guess is you won’t find the pheasant hospitality that there is in South Dakota.

After all, there’s but one Homer Harding.