2010 Nov 28 | Thanksgiving in SD, hunting

My clinic group in our last day of pediatrics with hand puppets.

I didn't have enough bubble wrap to fill the box up, and I didn't want the items shifting around. Hmmm... this giant bag of Tostitos will work as a space filler, I guess.

The JPMorgan Chase Tower has an observation area on the 60th floor called the Sky Lobby, and I finally got around to checking it out.

Some fountains out front.

And a statue.

The observation area.

To the south.

Down a bit.

To the west.

A panoramic of the view.

One of my favorite things about the plains: big ol' sunsets.

I don't think nuts still in their shells are good for the dog.

Hunting when it's 60 out is pretty nice; this is less so. And actually, it's the wind that really makes it bad.

Pick your gun.

Headed out.

Bucks rubbing on the trees.

Deer trail and resting spot.

More rubbings.

A deer off in the distance.

Walking the railroad tracks.

Pick your hat, gloves, boots, etc.

Up before sunrise.



And the sun's up.

Walking for deer.

Where should we go next?

It really should say, "without permission" below.

Walking the trees.

Gotta wait for the train.

A deer off in the distance.

A few hours break in the early afternoon for lunch, resting, and of course, rummy.

Like they ever have a chance against me. ;)

Dad and the dog looking at geese.

Lots of geese.

A bunch on the ground.

Landowner: "There was a buck and four does down that tree line." Dad: "So should we walk it?" Landowner with an incredulous look on his face: "No, but you could drive it." Dad, to me, halfway down the trees: "OK, time to walk." Yeah, saw that one coming.

Antelope that apparently can't figure out how to get through the fence.

Now that's a big tumbleweed.

It's hard to see deer when it's this early, but every minute it gets a little easier.

Getting a little lighter out now.

Sighting in the rifle.

Talking strategy.

It's hard deciding if that weed / tree / rock is a deer or not without binoculars.

A little bit of snow.

Random stuff in grandpa's van.

Silly bird, you don't belong in the middle of a field without water.

There they go! Over the fence and into the middle of the field.

Walking around a dam.

Dad considering a shot.

Walking around a frozen lake.

This poor guy walked a long ways to scare out some deer he never got.

Lots of geese flying around.

Some groups go on for miles.

An old house built at 320 Ave and 127 St before the road names even existed.

Come on, keep your cows inside the fence.

Uh oh, the dog got the banana bread.

There are lots of pretty Blue Jays around.

Full moon over the railroad track.

It snowed.

Lots of tracks.

It might dump snow on me every time I go through this little passageway, but at least a hole through the trees exists so I don't have to jam my way through.

The pheasants are all getting up too far away this year.

Tip for driving on snowy back roads: if you drive on the road, you'll get stuck. Drive beside it instead.

Hard to see, but there are sundogs near the edges of the picture.

My study schedule.

Mom's list for me. Which I haven't even started on because she has me doing all these other tasks she didn't even put on the list.

The TV cuts off the edges of the show, which means I never know what the score is during football.

The dog's favorite play toy.

How many other nerdy families have a Periodic Table in the kitchen?


More candy.

And drinks galore.

The baby grand player piano with ivory keys which all of us kids learned on, although it's pretty out of tune; good luck finding a piano tuner in rural South Dakota.

Lots of rolls for it.

Dad and the dog.

I swear it's like the arctic tundra, only colder.


A deer was just here; the snow is still melted from it's body warmth.

It's not the cold, it's the wind. I think my eyes almost froze shut during this walk.

Temp of -4 and winds of 30mph = windchill of -33. Under the old formula, it'd be -57. Which I swear is what it feels like when you're walking into the wind in a field with no cover.

The solution to windows fogging up, even with the defroster on, when you need the best view possible to see pheasants or deer far off in the distance: just roll the window down. Although that lets the cold air and snow in. Life is full of compromises.

Hey, get off the road. Run back into the field where dad can shoot you.

Good shooting by dad.

Gutting it out.

The fatal shot in the neck.

The first shot in the back.

Our present to Mom for Christmas a few years ago was a pulley for Dad. How was it a present to Mom? She didn't have to help dad lift the dead, bloody deer up in the barn any more.

Not the prettiest skin job, but it was fast so we could get back out and hunt some more.

Some antlers from over the last few years.

Pretty sunset.

A few deer a long ways off.

And some more. See a lot, get a shot at very few.

The corner is full of snow, so we could (1) drive all the way back or (2) just find a shallow spot in the ditch. Option (2) is much faster.

Honestly, it can't even roam off of another carrier's signal? AT&T, you suck.

Great, the dog was chewing on this when I got up. I don't know how she snuck this piece of deer skin into the house, but it's dripping blood all over the carpet, so unfortunately it has to go outside. Just a bit difficult to get it away from her without losing a hand.

Driving down the section line and scraping ice off the side mirror. Welcome to the Midwest.

A few deer.

The dog helping dad watch for deer. Actually, there were a few times she saw them out of the truck before we did.

Another one.

The dog doesn't quite give the correct lumbar support.

It's always good to have options.

Grouping up with some other hunters to cover a large ravine.

Well, so much for crossing to the other side; I'd rather not fall into a stream in this weather.

Hey, someone could walk over on that downed tree. Then again, if you slip off, it wouldn't be much fun.

Dad saw a few deer running over the hill but they were too far away. At least we were out of the wind for the walk.

Everyone's favorite lost antelope, who's been in this corner for months.

Dad throwing some corn cobs and beets to it.

Sunset = 30 more minutes to hunt.

Wow, got this one in the last half-mile home a few minutes before it's too late to shoot. Then we saw another buck running across the road right in front of us after this, but by then it was too late, not to mention he was going about 90mph perpendicular to us.

Don't forget to clean the bullets out of your pockets before you wash your coat.

A little light-up tree thingy in the basement.

The dogs playing around by grandpa.

Dad's intricate map of how we were going to get the deer at our first stop. Basically, walk through the trees.

Heading out.

Well, at least the sun is kinda out today.

Ron taking a standing shot at some deer running over the hill.

Dad and Melanie walking perpendicular to us.

Walking through some more trees. I think there were about 50 pheasants in here, but we didn't have shotguns, sigh.

"Just speed up and ram them!"

Seven deer here. It was kind of sweet that the doe waited for her two fawns to catch up before she took off again.

Walking some more trees.

All we saw were pheasants again, but our blockers saw 15 deer run out the end on the opposite side of them.

Dad hopped in grandpa's pickup to go back to our pickup, but that meant we had to wait here until he got back. At least we were smart enough to stand out of the wind.

Melanie and Ron posing for the camera.

Frost on Ron's face. And this was after he had rubbed most of it off of his eyelashes.

Ice-covered berries.

We saw a deer running across the field. It was too far away for a shot, but Ron tracked it with the scope.

Wait a second, it's headed straight towards grandpa! Please, please, please let him see it.

And he did!

Protip for driving in fields: if you go back in the same tracks you came out in, you'll avoid the giant, axle-destroying rocks.

And another long, cold walk.

Grandpa with his buck.

Walking a lot in boots rubbing on my shins results in a nice hairless circle with other areas rubbed raw.

The dogs bothering Ron for some of his food.

Catch a bit of the football game during lunch, and then back out to hunt again.

The dogs bother grandpa for food now. They just go around to everybody, haha.

Gotta shovel up the guts to make room for more.

We chopped up the newest deer and put the pieces in grandpa's van for him to process; the others are frozen solid, so not quite sure how we'll cut them up. Maybe rent a chainsaw?

Saving the tasty heart.

And out again, this time for pheasants.

Great, I ripped my snowpants on a branch. Nice little hole for the wind to go through.

Ooh, Millie, be careful with playing with Selby's toy with her right there.

The dogs playing in the kitchen.

Me helping Millie out in the dog's tug-of-war game because it's not quite a fair fight otherwise.

Dad playing with the dogs.

The dogs trying to get food from Dad now.

That's one packed oven.

That looks yummy.

Lots of side dishes.

Oh, aren't those cute.

Having some fun with the candy corn.

Thanksgiving dinner.

Where in the world does one find Ole and Lena fortune cookies?

There are a bunch of deer, but way out of range.

And a buck running along the road, heh.

Pretty smart; he ran into a field full of cows.

There some more go.

Switching gears to pheasants.

Good girl! Get those pheasants.

Deer way out there.

Well, they came this way at some point, but they're not here now.

Oh yeah, lots of rubbing from a buck.

Thank goodness for small miracles: the bottom wire of this part of the fence is pulled up so we don't have to roll / crawl / step carefully.

Stop digging after the badger! Especially because if it came out of there, I'm pretty sure we'd both be sprinting for the truck rather than trying to fight it.

And she gets another one.

Almost made it through the holiday without having to ride in the back of the pickup.

The dog watching intently for deer or pheasants.

Dad throwing the antelope some more corn.

Got my limit today.

Six total pheasants.

And another yummy dinner.

Hauling all of Mom's Christmas boxes in.

Some of them.

And the rest.

The dogs playing on the couch.

A big ol' pile of snow clothing.

Playing rummy.

The dog grabbing a pheasant for Ron.

Dad walking back with a pheasant.

Four deer way out in a field.

Opening some Christmas presents early.

Ron's tie that plays a song and has a flashing nose.

Mom making dessert.

Sunrise means we've already been hunting for deer for 30 minutes.

A single bird in a tree.

Aw, someone who probably mistook it for a deer shot our unofficially adopted pet antelope last night or this morning. :(

Some birds on the telephone wires.

A ton of pheasants out in a field, but good luck getting to them.

Gotta fit myself in between the deer pieces in the back of grandpa's van.

Lots of little private cemeteries all around.

Walk-in areas for hunting are nice, but they've usually been hunted tons of times already.

Lots of cows.

A bunch of grouse in a tree.

Ooh, one stayed there rather than flying away when we got close.

And we got him.

What a pain; most barbed wire fences have some give in the wires so you can lift them up and step through. These were extremely tight so I had to wiggle underneath on my belly.

Heh, got two pheasants with one shot.

They're so pretty. With the right angle, the black areas on their feathers are iridescent green and the brown areas are iridescent purple.

Pheasants out in a field and no way to sneak up on them.

There are always hundreds of pheasants in these tree groves, and they always fly out long before we get to them.

But at least we got a few birds: two pheasants and one grouse.

Me with the birds.

At least they're all the correct size. Although I think the ones on the left work the best.

Ron and the dog.

Thirty-six degrees and almost no wind; take off the sweatshirt and gloves and switch to a lighter hat because otherwise it'll actually be too hot walking.

We saw about 100 hens but no roosters in this field.

Lots of tracks.

The dog helped Ron get this pheasant.

Dad cleaning the pheasants.

Dad playing with the dog. Gotta be careful when she gets that crazy look in her eyes.