The Dakota Wild® Story

Dad and Me
Dad and Me

During the 1960's a large chunk of my boyhood was spent in earnest pursuit of wild pheasants in the Amish country of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The hunting wasn't bad back then. A full day of serious walking behind a good dog during the early part of the season would usually produce a limit of two roosters, even with a few misses, which I was prone to do. Typically, my father and I would see 30 maybe 50 pheasants during a full day of hunting. As a kid I walked the pheasant fields with my father who taught me the upland bird hunting trade. Dad carried his old Parker Bros. DH Grade 12 gauge side by side, the same gun he had used as a kid. Back then I used a single shot H&R 20 bore hammer gun. Although the bird hunting in Pennsylvania has long since declined, my boyhood hunting experiences set the stage for what happened in South Dakota many years later.

Fast forward 30 years to 1992 and my cousin, Ed Brooks, and I first experienced the beautiful South Dakota prairie and the extraordinary population of wild ringneck pheasants that inhabit the seemingly endless fields of South Dakota prairie. Responding to a newspaper ad in the Seattle Times classifieds (of all places), we visited a farm in Presho, South Dakota for our first South Dakota Pheasant Hunt.

To put it bluntly, we were dumbstruck by the vast number of pheasants. We saw swarms of pheasants - sometimes we would see over a 1,000 wild birds a day. We had so much fun bird hunting in the prairies, we decided to make the South Dakota pheasant hunt an annual event. First impressions are often the most accurate and each visit to the farm in Presho rekindled our amazement at seeing so many wild pheasants.

Over the years, we became good friends with Mark, the farmer that owned and managed this great pheasant hunting property. When his brother decided to sell a portion of the farm that also happened to be the choicest piece of pheasant hunting property on his entire farm, I couldn't pass on the opportunity and my law partner, Ken Schubert and I purchased 480 acres. We had personally seen over a thousand pheasants just on those 480 acres in one afternoon of hunting and we had never even hunted opening day. Over the years I bought out my partner and purchased additional acreage and worked on numerous habitat projects to improve things. I own 1,000 acres and lease an additional 5,000 acres. We are fanatical about developing and maintaining habitat on our farm for wild pheasants and are always developing new habitat projects.