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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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  • Clouds of ducks descending on a harvested cornfield create the perfect storm in northern South Dakota.
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Written by Gary Koehler
Photos by David J. Sams


Roughly two hours removed from Aberdeen Regional Airport, we are sitting in a pickup truck staring blankly at a harvested cornfield situated on the far side of a dusty gravel road. Don't ask me where we are. But if this isn't the middle of nowhere, it's got to be nearby.

Martin Hesby, who is in the driver's seat, is fussing with a pair of binoculars. Next he checks his watch. And then glances at his cell phone. I'm hoping he has a GPS handy because it doesn't look like he has packed any provisions.

Hesby is at the tail end of a 14-day vacation from his job at a wireless communications company. He has spent his time in the state's northern tier resourcefully, alternately pursuing ducks, ring-necked pheasants, and white-tailed deer. During his stay, he has also put a few extra miles on his truck, more than 300 today alone.

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