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South Dakota Spectacular

The hunt of a lifetime is the reward for days of hard scouting in this state's prairie pothole country 
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"I'm originally from Virginia," Hesby says. "My father was a retired navy man. He spent two years at South Dakota State when he was in college, so when it came time for me to select a school, we decided to visit Brookings.
    
"I looked over the campus for about 20 minutes," Hesby continues, "and spent the next three days hunting ducks. After that, I knew exactly where I wanted to go to school."
    
So here we are, early on a Wednesday morning in November, accompanied by publisher-photographer David Sams, a Texan who has hunted ducks and geese in any number of venues. The sky is overcast. It's 41 degrees—the coldest weather thus far this year here—and there's a bite in the air. We dig into the back of the trailer and unload 180 full-body duck decoys, four layout blinds, guns, and gear.   

Forty-five minutes later, Keller and Hesby make last-second adjustments to the carefully placed decoy spread and then crawl into their blinds. "Cover up," Keller says. "If there are as many birds as Martin says there are, this oughta be something."

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