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Team Adventures in Flushing Wild Pheasants
By TCS Staff Writers
R-O- O-S- T-E- RRRR !!! The sound each of the fifteen upland bird hunters awaited was often and unmistakably clear. The hunt was on!
The overcast skies made it difficult to detect hens from roosters especially when flying away from the shooter. Todd, Dave, Andy and David served as our expert guides in running their well trained Labradors through the corn stalks and switch grass.
The game plan could have come out of a very meticulously designed playbook orchestrated by a career professional competitor. As a matter of fact, the team plan was indeed the brain child of former professional baseball player Todd Worrell. After a twelve year successful baseball career in the major leagues the next pinnacle achievement could only come in designing and developing South Dakota’s premiere wild pheasant game ranch – Firesteel Creek Hunting Lodge.
“Team Adventures” very succinctly describes Todd’s philosophy in life. Whether he helps take the Dodgers to the playoffs or Cardinals to the World Series or establishes a world class wild pheasant hunting operation, Todd is the consummate team builder.
Another great team builder essential during the four-day hunt was Dr. Bob Reccord. He was responsible for bringing the fledgling group of upland bird hunters together several weeks before the actual hunt took place during the closing days of the season. As the President and CEO of Hope for the Heart headquartered in Plano, Texas, Bob understands teamwork and the importance of working together with men in God’s Kingdom work.
Needless to say, this narrow window of opportunity in traveling together with a close knit team of sportsmen was a welcomed relief to a very heavy schedule he maintains throughout the year. It was Bob’s coordinated efforts that allowed our hunting party to come together so very smoothly to experience the exhilarating flush of wild pheasants in South Dakota.
The December pheasant hunt just west of Sioux Falls began shortly after several eager sportsmen touched down at Joe Foss Airport named for one of America’s greatest Christian sportsmen to ever live. Many will remember that Gen. Joe Foss served as the two term governor of South Dakota and help perpetuate the state’s lead role within the nation by instituting conservation management plans to increase the already healthy pheasant population to over 6 million birds annually.
South Dakota Remembers a True American Hero!
Upon our arrival at the airport and seeing the handsome, bigger-than-life bronze statute in the terminal lobby, we phoned Dede Foss to get an update on the Joe Foss Institute and planned museum. In addition to critical conservation management in perpetuating the wild pheasant in South Dakota, further recognition of Joe’s contribution to America’s great heritage was documented in 1998 when the David Livingstone Award was presented to Gen. Foss by Christian Sportsmen’s Fellowship.
The prestigious award is given in commemoration of the life work of the Christian medical missionary whose name the bronze represents. Another great Christian sportsman, Livingstone was instrumental in opening many regions of central Africa to sport hunting and conservation management during the mid 1800’s.
Another one of the notable highlights of Joe’s career is found in his pioneering role as host for ABC’s The American Sportsman during the late sixties. As well, he served as the first commissioner of the American Football League along with receiving the Congressional Metal of Honor for his bravery in WWII with twenty-six confirmed kills as an ace of aces. Without question, we all owe tribute to this true American hero and former governor who enacted conservation measures to protect the wild pheasant in South Dakota.
Each morning of the pheasant hunts a couple dozen rounds of Annie Oakley style trap seemed to get the adrenalin flowing as temperatures hovered in the high twenties before taking into consideration the wind chill factor. And of course, the wonderful gourmet meals prepared by our hospitality host, Debbie Sehr, were essential in preparing our team players for their strategic efforts of flushing wild pheasants from the field in a play-by-play approach to the art of upland bird hunting. Jeff & Natalie Briggs also served with a warm heart in accommodating the group of sportsmen.
We approached each field very methodically taking into consideration all available Pushers, Blockers and Wing Men in our attempt to gradually corral the crafty and elusive game bird into the remaining one-quarter of the area. Such preparation is made in anticipation for the intensity that comes during the final flush culminating in the ultimate thrill that every hunter seeks when pursuing the wild pheasant. And when the powerful fluttering sound of birds lifting into flight begins, the exhilaration can seemingly bring a shooter very close to cardiac arrest. R-O-O-S-T-E-RRRR !!!