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Hunt Day 1  /  Hunt - Day 2  /  Hunt - Day 3  /
 Mealtimes and Awards  /  Hanging at the Dog House  /  Event Sponsors


  Page Updated 10/11/08   




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Pheasant Fest 



Click to visit the Granite Springs website

(L to R) Les Svatosch, Tim Sims, Chuck Sekerak (behind), Marla Nelson, Billy Conrad,
Allan Polenz (behind), Ron Johnson, Bob Whitlock, and Laura Whitlock.



(Click any of the small photos on this page to enlarge them into a pop-up window.)



Pheasant Hunt - Day 1:

The first day it rained on us all day long, even downpouring at times, so we don't have any photos of the actual hunt. The morning started out slow and not many birds were to be found in the grasslands, or among the pines and milo fields.  Despite the rain, the SportDog Training Collar - donated by Gander Mountain - worked great with Duchess out in the field. All-in-all, the afternoon ended up being a BLAST, with Billy Conrad getting his first pheasant ever and then an additional FOUR more contributing to our total of 27 pheasant and 10 chukar!! We're proud of you Billy, you did GREAT for your first upland hunt!!!  After the birds were sent out for processing, our Guides, Boo and Jim, served as bartenders out in The Dog House.

(LtoR): Jim-Guide, Ron Johnson, Tim Sims, Billy Conrad, Bob Whitlock, Chuck Sekerak, Les Svatosch, Boo-Guide. Dogs: (LtoR) HOPE, Duchess, and Bristol.

Here's the group at the "Dog House".

Day1 bounty, 27 Pheasant and 10 Chuckar

Here is our first day's bounty, 27 pheasant
and 10 Chukar.

Tim Sims with Bristol, HOPE and Duchess.

Tim just loves the little Llew girls.


Our Guides - Boo and Jim


Pheasant Hunt - Day 2:

After breakfast, some of the group went trout fishing and caught a few, and the rest went down to the Sporting Clays course and shot a few rounds. None of us did too great as the course was difficult and the sun was not in an optimal spot. Even so, we were all really looking forward to hunting on a dry and sunny day. After the sporting clays, we loaded up two SUVs and headed about 10 miles straight north of Alexandria for some hunting in food plots (short corn) and CRP. The short corn was especially fun because it was an easy walk, the dog work was excellent and the birds were plentiful. We could see the roosters out in front, running down the row and dodging back and forth between the corn rows. I shot my first Pheasant Rooster with Bob right by my side, witnessing the entire thing. He couldn't be more proud and was just beaming, probably even more than I was! I had a hunch when I found the $10 bill in the parking lot after breakfast that it was going to be my day and that I was going to get my first bird!  It's funny how things work out sometimes.  We reached our limit of 30 birds by mid-afternoon and called it another successful hunt.

Laura Whitlock with her first Pheasant Rooster

That's me with my first Pheasant Rooster!

Bob and Laura with her first bird

Bob and me with my bird.

Bob showing HOPE the rooster

Bob showing HOPE the bird.

Bob showing HOPE the rooster

HOPE is inquisitive and wants to pull it's feathers.

Tim, Chuck, Ron and Billy

Taking a break for lunch.

Les, Marla and Allan

Lunch Break

Chuck, Billy, Tim and Ron

The guys with my Rooster.

Chuck, Ron and Billy

Getting vertical after our lunch siesta.

Regrouping after the last food plot.

Organizing the group

The group lining up to comb the next set of corn rows.

Getting ready to comb another food plot.

Boo and Jim planning the next move.

Our guides figure out our next move.

Duchess on point.

Duchess stalking a bird in the corn.

Duchess narrowing in on her rooster.

Duchess hard at work to find those birds.

Duchess on point.

She's got another rooster!

Marla, Allan, Chuck, Les and Bob

Waiting to take photos of our day's bounty.

Back: Les, Ron, Billy, Bob, Allan, Chuck.  Front: Laura, Marla, Tim and Duchess.

The group with 30 pheasant roosters.

Marla, Duchess and Laura with our Roosters.

Marla and Me with Duchess.





Pheasant Hunt - Day 3:

This day we headed back out to the fields mid-morning. First we combed a couple milo food plots and some grasslands, but the birds were not around. Then we hit some more short corn strips to try and push the birds into the next grassy field. It was tough going and the day was sunny, but a bit windy which added to the challenge. We were joined by Jerry Thoms, a writer for Gun Dog magazine who interviewed us for a few articles he was writing on Llewellin Setters and for the Garmin Astro GPS system we were using with our dogs. By the end of our grueling day, we had a total of 28 roosters in the bag.

Chuck, Billy, Ron and Les at breakfast in the lodge.

Chuck, Billy, Ron and Les at breakfast.

Hanging out waiting for the guides to load the vehicles

Out on the deck before heading to the fields.

Waiting to take off into the fields

It's almost time to head
back into the fields.

Bob and Billy on deck

Bob and Billy

Laura, Jerry Thoms, Bob and Bristol

Laura, Jerry Thoms,
Bob and Bristol

Bob taking Bristol's bird

Bob taking the bird that Bristol retrieved.


Lunch time in the field.



One of our transport vehicles with Boo on back.


Combing a corn field.


Sweatshirts provided by Gander Mountain, our event sponsor.

The group wearing our Gander Mountain sweatshirts.

YEAH! The hunt was a success.

What a great day!


Tim, Chuck, Marla, Billy and Allan show off their birds.

Billy plays puppet with

two roosters.

Billy plays puppet with his two roosters.

Just look at that smile on Allan's face, PRICELESS!



Mealtimes and Awards:

Meals were really nice. Each morning and evening we ate a hot buffet meal that was all-you-can-eat. My breakfast favorite was the homemade biscuits and sausage gravy. Each night it was something different, from thick cut pork chops to prime rib, the meals did not disappoint.

Dinnertime was also a great opportunity to give out gifts from our sponsors, Gander Mountain, Granite Springs and Hickory Hollow Llewellins. Gander Mountain was especially good to us this year and we were so excited to share the gifts with our group. We put everyone's name in a hat and let someone pick the names each evening. Here's how things sorted out with the drawings.


    • Two $25 Gander Mountain gift certificates - received by Les Svatosch and Allan Polenz.
    • Stoeger O/U Shotgun (gift from Hickory Hollow, for $1 purchase) - received by Tim Sims


    • Two $50 Gander Mountain gift certificates - received by Marla Nelson and Ron Johnson
    • Two lanyards with dual clips, bird counters, and compass (gift from Gander Mountain) - received by Tim Sims and Allan Polenz, because they are HHLS clients and own a Hickory Hollow Llewellin. We hope these lanyards will be useful in the field with your Llews.
    • Silver Pheasant Pins (gift from Granite Springs) - received by me, Laura Whitlock, for my first ever pheasant rooster and to Marla Nelson for her first ever pheasant rooster in 2007 (last year's hunt) for which she should've received a silver pheasant and didn't. Billy should've gotten one too since this was his first upland hunt and he shot his first rooster (plus 4 additional) on Monday... not sure what happened with that... We'll have to look into getting one for him anyway.


    • Two $100 Gander Mountain gift certificates - received by Billy Conrad and Chuck Sekerak.

(sorry about not having photos of the winners... I don't know what I was thinking not taking any, DOH!  Maybe Marla will have some. I'll check with her when she gets back from SD.)


Hanging at the Dog House:

The last two evenings we were at Granite Springs, our group hung out at The Dog House, a large out building separate from the main lodge where the pool table and dart board were located, along with a bird cleaning station, a couple couches and satellite TV, not to mention the fully stocked bar! The building is attached to the kennel system where all the Granite Springs Labrador Retreivers stay, so the entire building is called The Dog House. We played a couple rounds of Cricket and the guys played pool and hung out and smoked stogies. I think one of the guys said something like this after lighting up a cigar, "Now it feels like we're on a hunting trip"!! I guess the stogies are part of the tradition.

Tim, Billy and Bob at the dart board.

Playing a round of Cricket. Billy kicked tail!

Brissy is a happy girl!

Brissy looks pretty happy, doesn't she?

Tim with Duchess.

Tim is getting a few kisses from Duchess.

Duchess makes the rounds, it's Chuck's turn.

Duchess makes the rounds and it's Chuck's turn.

Chuck is also visted by Paco, Allan and Marla's Llewellin.

Paco also likes Chuck.

Laura and Marla with HOPE and Paco, full siblings from different litters. Don't they look alike?

Laura and HOPE
with Marla and Paco

Tim spends time with HOPE.

Tim spends time
with HOPE.





Our Sponsors:

We would like to take one last opportunity to thank our event sponsors:

click to visit Granite Springs on the web

Granite Springs - for all their hospitality, the lodging and accommodations, use of their entire facility, awesome food, and guide service and for offering us a wonderful opportunity to get together in a beautiful South Dakota setting.


Click to visit Gander Mountain

Gander Mountain - for donation of the Welcome Pack items (wool socks, shotgun shells, leather shooting gloves), and miscellaneous other gifts, such as Gander Mountain sweatshirts (worn in the Granite Springs group photos), lanyards, SportDog Training Collar and Gander Mountain gift certificates.


We hope that people will patronize these businesses for any future hunting needs.




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