I think we all remember a rooster, bird, fish or a buck we didn't mount that we think back... maybe I should have. This was that time.
I was on a hunt in Kennebec South Dakota at Dakota Hot Spots in early November. It was a little cold for that time of year, but great hunting weather. A friend of mine invited out John Gosselin, Publisher of the Upland Almanac since he wanted to write a story on his first trip to South Dakota.
Dakota Hot Spots has 10,000 plus acres that they manage quite well. The guides are dialed in knowing how to drive the birds to the correct spot based on current conditions, patterns, habitat, and past behavior.
We were on our third push of the day and we were just pushing a food plot away from the highway to keep moving the birds back on the property. The food plot didn't grow real well for the year because of the lack of precipitation from the past year (view below photo).
John Gosselin far left, myself in the middle, Guide Steve with dogs on my right (credit Tony Nickles)
I didn't expect much out of this plot, I really didn't. Steve even commented: "our food plot turned into... ahhhhh.... not quite a food plot". No more than 5 seconds later grampa rooster popped up very unexpectedly as Steve had the video camera rolling. I waited for the rooster to quarter and head back towards the road behind me and safely behind John. I led the rooster 2 1/2 feet and pulled the trigger keeping the gun moving. Gramps dropped.
One of the labs grabbed Gramps and brought it over to Steve. Steve yelled at me it was a big bird. We finished the plot seeing 3 roosters total and killing 3. The other 2 birds were with other guys, so Steve got the bird out of his vest and showed me the bird. I was actually shocked by the size of the spur. I see a lot of birds being in the hunting industry but this bird was quite impressive, even the 3 guides had to check it out.
The tailfeathers were pretty decent, nothing gigantic but good size (credit Tony Nickles)
Steve actually has the spurs pointed back at him, so you don't quite see the full spurs length in the photo.
I've seen some spurs in my day, but this one took the cake. I think back on the hunt - it was a fun hunt with a great group, a 5 day hunt at 5 hunting lodges with our good friends John at the Upland Almanac, Tony and Joe. I should have kept the bird. It would look cool on the wall and bring back great memories.
However, on the other hand, it's like catching a massive fish I'd rather let it go. Unfortunately, in this case, I shot gramps. I would liked to see Gramps live another year to mate with more hens.