Every hunter knows opening day is an opportunity. Not just to bag some birds – but to bond. We asked one of Pierre’s hunting and fishing guides, Wicker Bill, to recall his most meaningful opening day memory. He told us it was impossible.
“I can’t say I have a single favorite memory. The feeling of camaraderie you get when your friends and family show up is there every year. We always gather around and have a huge meal, share stories and say what everybody’s been up to. Just waiting for that clock to hit noon. It’s like a family reunion.”
For South Dakotans, pheasant season is practically a state holiday. Family and friends from all over the country gather here every October to track down our state bird. So despite countless requests from hunters across the nation, Bill never books a guiding trip on opening weekend.
“I save the first weekend. I’ll usually have a few friends who invite me out, and I see as many of them as I can over the first few days.”
Even though excitement is high when the third weekend of October rolls around, Wicker Bill stressed the importance of safety in the field. After decades in the game, we figured he’d have some invaluable insights about having making the most of the big day. So when we asked for a tip, his answer surprised us.
“Slow down and stay safe. There’s not a bird in the country worth losing an eye over.”
This passion for safety was instrumental in inspiring Bill to set up the state’s annual Youth Goose Hunt in the 1980s. A family man, he believes that the great outdoors offer something you can’t find anywhere else. “These days, parents and their kids are so busy that they hardly have the time to eat dinner together. It’s so important to have quiet, quality time with your kids – and to teach them the right way to hunt. Taking a break from life and enjoying nature is more important than ever.”
Wise words from one of South Dakota’s best…
Want to experience pheasant season in South Dakota for yourself? Book a trip at VisitPierreSD.com
– and make sure you bring the whole family.
Photos Courtesy of the Pierre Capital Journal