Posted by Carrie Wintle on Dec 05, 2018 under

Week 21 was unforgettable. The Miss South Dakota Organization hosted the annual Pheasant Hunt at Pheasant Phun Lodge near Hitchcock/Tulare. I’ll admit, I had never hunted before this weekend. As a kid, I was in shooting sports in 4-H, but never put my skills to the test. Friday night we met up with several of the hunters for a dinner at the Tailgate in Huron. Every year, a handful of guys come from out of state to take in the South Dakota hunting season. McNeil and Austin travelled from North Carolina. Buddy flew in from Mississippi, and Jim came from New Mexico. They have all been involved with the Miss America Organization for several years. It was fun to hear their stories and learn about why they love the program. 

My family has a group of hunters come from Minnesota every year to hunt on our farm. They have been coming for nearly 30 years and decided to make a special trip back for the Miss SD Pheasant Hunt. Steve, Dave, Mickey, Chris, and Ken kept me laughing all day long.

Jessica and I started the day with a lesson from Dave at Pheasant Phun. They started us with trap shooting, and I hit my first one! What a way to start the day. We may not have been experts, but we were ready for a memorable experience. I think we both had on about twenty layers of clothing to fend of the chilled weather. Surprisingly though, at one point during the hunt I started sweating. It’s hard work out there, people. 

The highlight from the day was getting my first bird . . well, at least part of one. Someone else may or may not have helped me hit it. But, we will just call it mine. Right? Also, tip of the day: watch for holes. I fell in a massive hole during one of the walks. The only thing I thought of as I was falling to the ground was Dave’s voice saying, “Whatever you do, if you fall, keep your gun pointed up.” I managed to master gun safety 101 like a champion.

Later that evening, we ditched the highlighter orange vests and camo snow pants for a little glitz and glamour. Pheasant Phun prepared a delicious meal, and we celebrated the Miss SD Organization and a wonderful day of pheasant hunting. A very special thank you to Callee Bauman Wachter, Miss SD 2006 for planning the Miss SD Pheasant Hunt and working tirelessly to make it a success, yet again.