Tuesday, October 26, 2010

South Dakota and our Vizslas learning a new way of life

October 19, 2010

I am finding it interesting how you can adjust to a different way of life. Monday morning was our “go to town and get supplies” morning. Firesteel is directly between Isabel and Timberlake. Each town boasts of populations in the hundreds. For this trip we chose Timberlake. The grocery store was behind the now sold Joe’s Hardware. We walked in out of the freezing wind and back in time. The store has not changed for maybe 3 generations. The food packaging may have changed, but the store had that feel of maybe 1952.

As Ken shopped for the food supplies we would need for the week, I walked the half block to the only clothing store in town. I wanted a hat to cover my ears from the cutting northern wind. The Dakota Silk Screening store was located next to the town’s gas station. Here a large man of approximately my own age and two women ran a store that featured Carhart brand apparel and other farming and ranching mainstay clothing. Along with this were the tourist and hunting clothing, coffee cups, and custom silk-screened tee shirts and sweatshirts. A popular item was apparel for the Timberlake High School Panthers.

The store keeper was a friendly man. I brought up the auction of the town hardware store the day before and how there was quite the turn out. “Yeah,” he said, “not many locals were there. Joe’s was always overpriced. A shovel he wanted $31 for could be gotten at other places for $23. I stopped by and watched a bit. Most of the stuff went high.” I asked what the actual hardware store had gone for. “That was the best deal of the day. $13,000. Joe had added a new part to the store just a few years ago and it had a fairly new roof. The building in back went for $30,000.”

We talked while he wrote up a sales slip in long hand and seemed to guess at what prices to charge on some of the stuff. Bought 2 coffee cups along with my Carhart hat and Carhart socks. Seven dollars he said, for the 2 cups. He said they were on sale. The last question for the shop keeper was whether he had the hunting regulation booklets. He answered, “No, but just around the corner is the county court house and administration building. Go in and it’s the second room to your right.”

The county building proudly showed a cornerstone pronouncing 1959. This appeared to be the newest building in town. Maybe twenty people worked here in the different departments and offices. When I asked the lady in the treasury department if I could get a copy of the hunting regulations, she was pleased to help and gave me three booklets and asked if there was anything else she could help me with. The county workers know the importance of the out-of- state hunter to the economy.

The last stop in town was for breakfast at the Dakota Lounge and Restaurant. I had not walked more than 700 yards from where we parked. Actually if I would have gone much farther, I would have been out of the central district and back onto dirt roads.

As it was now approaching noon, we ordered lunch from the sole employee of the restaurant. This small middle-aged woman came over for our order. We were the only ones in the front part of the building. Through the short hall was the bar lounge where 4 men sat and were playing some card game. Not poker but some pass-the-time-away game. They looked as if they spent many hours in those same chairs.

Ken and I both got our cheeseburgers. We didn’t go for the deluxe version. The slice of American cheese sat on the hamburger patty between a toasted burger bun. We chose not to make it Deluxe (each item: lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle was 30 cents each.) The burger with mustard and a bit of ketchup was delicious - one of the best I’ve ever had. Finished lunch with a homemade apple turnover. Simple is a good description of most of the things I found in Timberlake.

So 1:00 arrived and Ken and I, along with Bailey, Scarlet, Hank, and Nellie, started pheasant hunting. My first day with my shotgun in hand in South Dakota. With GPS tracking collars on Bailey and Hank, we headed out into our first field. Wearing the traditional bright-orange hunting jacket, hat, boots, and hunting pants, we looked like we fit right in with the landscape.

Hunting upland birds, I am finding, is 99% the experience of being out in nature with your dog and 1% shooting a gun at a bird. Watching Bailey run more under control and not as manic as the day before is giving me a satisfaction that we are both learning how to hunt as a team.

 Yesterday he was “out there” most of the time too far for a hunter on foot. Our hunting bond is getting stronger also, and that was one of my goals on this trip.


Andrew Campbell said...


Great to see you out having fun with Bailey! As much fun as trialing is, watching your dog learn how to respect wild birds is a whole other treat. Hope to get our 2+1 up to Maine next week for a similar tutorial from some ruffed grouse.

all best

Ken and Janet said...

Only one comment Rod - I think it was less than 70 yards between all the places, not 700... I'm really enjoying your blog - it's way better than mine!
Next year.... :-)))