The RidgeRunners Hit The Road

The RidgeRunners Hit The Road

Kevin Mennett

November 9th, 2018


This fall marked South Dakota’s 100th pheasant hunting season and the RidgeRunners were there to chase some birds.  South Dakota reported an approximate 47% increase in hatch numbers throughout the majority of the state.

This was going to be my new pup’s first hunt and to say I was excited would be an understatement.  I knew that the birds in South Dakota were going to be challenging for a young pup just starting out, but I felt the experience would be good for Gauge.  She would be working alongside some pretty amazing dogs and I was hoping some of that would rub off.

We started our hunt in Woonsocket on both private and public ground.  The hunting proved to be tough, despite the increase in bird numbers.  The farmers hadn’t had the chance to harvest their crops which provided ample cover for the pheasants to hide in.  We hunted the Woonsocket area for three days and we managed to bag several roosters due to Ben Wright’s amazing dogs.  Gauge worked hard and found two of my downed birds, but I wasn’t able to shoot any over her.

We left the Woonsocket area and traveled west towards Fort Thompson and the Lower Brule Reservation.  There was less cropland here and we found an area to hunt within view of the camp site.  We were able to get into fairly good pheasant numbers and had good success.

We decided to hunt the Grasslands on our last evening before Steve and I had to leave.  I had been excited to hunt here in search of sharp tailed grouse and prairie chickens.  Ben and I kept saying that we were “on a mission for a chicken”.  Unfortunately, our mission went unfulfilled.  We walked about 8 miles that day without a single flush, but the views and good company made it all worthwhile.

As always, the week went by way to fast and our hunt came to an end all too quickly.  It was a good trip, Gauge worked hard all week and we all saw improvement in her.  I’m excited to get her back to PA and see how she does on woodcock.

If you think you’d like to try pheasant hunting, there aren’t many states better than South Dakota.  The hunting, the people, and the views are all amazing.  Gauge and I will be back in a season or two (birds, you’ve been warned!).


Kevin “Roo” Mennett

One Comment

  1. Awesome trip! I enjoyed the time spent with friends and days afield watching the dogs work. It doesn’t get any better than that!

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