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An afternoon well spent

November 9, 2009

After dispensing with some mundane paperwork this morning, I finally made good on my continually postponed resolution to go out and find somewhere to hunt prairie deer this year.  I was cutting it uncomfortably close; the season opens next Saturday.

So after a quick lunch at the local bagel shop I hit the road, and an hour and a half later found myself sitting in a ranch kitchen at the end of the Big Foot Road in far eastern Pennington County.  I’d done some work for the Willuweits in my former capacity, and I’d decided to check out chances of hunting their ranches since I didn’t ever recall anybody telling me hunting stories from out there. 

I decided to stop first at Connie Keil’s place.   It had belonged to her mother, Nellie Willuweit, but is still known out in that country as the “Estes place.”  Connie met me at the door with a big grin , invited me in, waived me into a kitchen chair, and immediately set to making a pot of coffee.

We went to catching up — who was sick, how the seasons had gone, what was new on the ranch, the fellow up by Reva that had gone killed himself playing Russian roulette, how a new guy came to be putting up hay on shares on the south eighty, whether I was ready to go back to work — etc.  Suffice to say that we finished off the coffee pot, I demolished a fine piece of home-made chocolate cake, and an hour later finally talked about being able to hunt on Jim’s ranch over west from Connie’s place.

Permission was granted and Connie added my son Lee and me to the surprisingly short list of hunters they were allowing on the place.  I was grateful since the other folks that will be hunting were relatives or had helped out swapping labor over the summer.  I decided that I’ll be bringing Connie a jug of her husband’s favored sipping liquor and a case of the neighborhood’s favorite beer when I go back out this weekend.

The sun was starting to sink, but I decided to run over west 4 miles to go by Jim’s place.  I’d forgotten how wild and beautiful that country was as the sun was starting to go down.  Connie had told me about the increased wildlife they’re seeing out there — a couple weeks ago two bull elk were spotted south of her place, earlier this year a bighorn sheep went through (migrating up out of Badlands National Park some miles south of there), the coyotes wandering through the ranch yard, mountain lion tracks over west on a neighbor’s place, and a bobcat sighting, something Connie said she hadn’t seen in that country since she was a girl.  The deer appear to be plentiful too.  On my way over to Jim’s place I drove by a nice mule deer doe and three-point buck — standing 25 feet from the road as I drove by.

I consulted with Lee tonight and it’s decided we’ll hunt Sunday.  I hope it will be good and he’ll enjoy his first deer hunt; but no matter what, being out in that country, working those draws, it’s going to be heavenly.

— Margadant

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Dex permalink
    November 10, 2009 4:39 pm

    You’ve died and gone to heaven.

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