Story and photos by Lisa Metheny
Granite Springs is a dream come true for owner Kevin Yeo and his family. The name of the lodge comes from a large granite quarry that sits directly below the towering windows of the lodge and is filled to the brim with rainbow trout, large-mouth bass and a variety of other species, perfect for fly fishing.
Despite the luxury accommodations, amazing fishing opportunities, abundant wildlife and a gracious host, I was there to photograph and write about the event.
Programs like the NRA’s WOT hunts, are changing the way women look at hunting. The number of women heading afield is increasing.” Ann Marie Foster, (NRA Hunting Programs Coordinator), suggest women take that initial step and get involved in a course of interest, especially an NRA Basic Firearm Class, follow up with a Hunter Safety Course. Preparation is the key to success, practice what you learn, discipline yourself and then apply your new found skills.” Foster also believes that hunting and shooting can be extremely therapeutic, the benefits are immeasurable.
WOT hunts are designed to give women from all walks of life and experience levels an opportunity to participate in hunting. This was the case for Michelle Scheuermann of Wisconsin. As Communications Director for The Sportsman’s Channel (TSC), an outdoor television network specializing in hunting and fishing reality shows, Michelle is no stranger to watching people hunt, fish, and participate in outdoor sports. However, in spite of her familiarity with the subject, Michelle had little opportunity to experience hunting herself. As a promoter for TSC, her job was mainly behind-the-scenes, but this time, the tables would turn and Michelle would find herself in front of the camera for her first hunt. TSC’s show Wingshooting Adventure, is typically hosted by a male, but for this special edition, Michelle stepped into the role of host and hunter.
Ladies came from all across the U.S. and had a wide range of shooting experiences from the beginner to the experienced. A variety of guns were used, primarily 20 gauges with some 12 gauge shotguns thrown in the mix. My weapon of choice was the beautiful, wood-grain Browning Silver 12 gauge semi-auto. Thanks to the Active-Valve system this autoloader is easy on the shoulder and because it is lightweight carrying it through the field day after day was not a problem. Because of the intense management conducted by Granite Springs the pheasants were in abundant supply and the hunt was excellent. Thanks to our expert guides daily limits were quickly reached. “Upland hunting is a great way to start out in the sport of hunting. It’s a social sport that is very relaxed, practiced in a group, and can be conducted with a minimal amount of equipment.” These qualities create a wonderful atmosphere, one conducive to learning, for new hunters” added Yeo.
Despite the comfortable accommodations, this place offers what wing shooters want the most, a healthy population of hard flying birds. Granite Springs is happy to cater each hunt to best suit the needs of the individual hunter. From gentle terrain that is a relatively easy walk, to steeper hills that offer the hunter more of a challenge. Regardless of terrain, the thick native warm season grasses, milo and corn fields provide perfect habitat for game birds to thrive in. GS also provides an assortment of well trained retrievers, mostly labs, to recover the downed birds but they do allow hunters to bring their own dogs if they wish.
The hunt was conducted in typical upland fashion with an ample amount of walking involved. A well-worn pair of boots is recommended, preferably a higher profile waterproof style which might suit the hunter better during the wet season, as some of the low lying fields were wet and muddy. If you need to break in a new pair of boots, but are short on time, than I would recommend you give Danner boots a try. They make a variety of super comfortable styles, perfect for pheasant hunting and with little to no break-in time, they are perfect. The terrain can get a little brushy so brush pants are suggested, such as the SHE Outdoor Apparel Upland pants that are not only fashionable, but are also tough enough for the pheasant hunting.
A winning combination of excellent pheasant hunting, outstanding outreach programs and new friends made my trip to South Dakota one of the highlights of my season and I can’t wait to return. To learn more about NRA’s WOT program visit them online and download the excursion program. To book an outstanding pheasant hunting adventure contact Granite Springs at http://www.granitespringssd.com or call them at 605-239-4404.
Lisa Metheny is an award-winning outdoor writer, photographer, seminar speaker and outdoor skills instructor. She has become an advocate for promoting traditional outdoor recreation to families all across the United States. Metheny is also an avid and accomplished hunter with many big game species to her credit. For more information visit her Web site at www.lisametheny.com.