By GEORGE ROBERTSON, M.D.
My neighbor and friend Tommy invited me on his annual hunting trip to South Dakota this year. For the past eight years, their business group and family members had congregated near Kimble, S.D. to chase pheasant and renew old acquaintances. The FedEx bunch had grown to a group of 15 in years past, but this year would be an even dozen people including three father and son teams of hunters.
On a beautiful November morning, we walked into the chilling northwest air dressed in our bright orange hats and vests en route to a cafeteria-style breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and pineapple upside down cake.
After filling up at the family owned restaurant at the Horseshoe K Ranch, we boarded a four-wheel drive bus being sure we had all of our hunting paraphernalia. We had to share the bus with a lively Labrador retriever named Boomer who would be bringing back our downed birds for the next couple of hours.
When we arrived at the first 50-acre cornfield, scattered out over the flat landscape we could see the end of the plot in the distance where the blockers would be placed courtesy of the old school bus.
Our guide then lined up the hunters in the corn rows to walk the half-mile route toward the blockers at the end of the field. Suddenly from the depths of the corn stubble, three beautiful roosters boiled into the crisp morning air and the chase was on.
The Lab jumped into action to retrieve the downed birds as expectant hunters eagerly tapped the safety on their guns hoping to be the next shooter.
The scene was repeated again and again the next two days wit the limit of three birds per hunter being reached in two to three hours of walking through the grass fields and Milo patches over a 10,000-acre spread. The combines were harvesting corn and reducing the cover for the pheasants even as we blanketed the surrounding fields.
We were blessed with fine weather the duration of the hunt and used the evening hours recounting hits and misses.
It was enjoyable to get to be included in the mix of friends and family members, each with his own story and reason for showing up at the annual pilgrimage.
Editor’s Note: Robertson is a physician with Family Medical Associates, PC, in Lebanon.