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Banding Together for Waterfowl

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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  • A well-trained retriever is a necessity for recovering downed waterfowl in thick flooded corn stubble.
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Shooting chores take a little longer this morning, but we're done by 8:30. To no one's surprise, duck numbers have diminished. In addition to our hassling, the ducks had already eaten everything they could find in this field. They'll likely move on to another site tomorrow. The radio weatherman predicts a steep drop in temperature overnight.
    
"Once it turns really cold up here, which will be any day now, the birds seldom go out and feed in the morning," Keller says. "They go out late in the afternoon. Our theory is that they stay on the water to keep it open. There's really only a small window when you hunt them in the afternoon."
    
Whatever the case, while Hesby will soon head home for a weekend of more deer hunting, Keller is planning on jumping back in his truck in search of the next big feed. "Between us, we put on more than 3,000 miles scouting the past week," Keller says. "We've learned that's often what it takes to find just the right spot."
    
Topping this particular field will take some doing. Subtle imposters are everywhere. But the truly spectacular reveals its identity only sparingly, even in South Dakota.

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