Hunting heaven is nearby

Wes Bouska

Wes Bouska

The leaves have started changing color, the days are getting shorter, and from the direction of the dorms, the sound of duck and goose calls fill the air. Fall has arrived on the SDSU campus.

It is not uncommon to see students wandering campus in camouflage coats; some will look like they came to class straight from the goose field.

“I go hunting at least once a week; I really enjoy eating wild game after a day in the field,” said senior Jeff Grote of Hinckley, Minnesota.

Some of the residence halls even have special game cleaning rooms where hunters can butcher their kill. Sophomore Jon Quast said he feels right at home here at SDSU.

“Last year a friend of mine gave me a deer that he didn’t want. We hauled it through the main lobby of Hansen Hall down to the basement. You probably wouldn’t see that at a school like Princeton,” he said.

One worry for students new to the area is where to hunt. Luckily, the state of South Dakota publishes a hunting atlas that contains detailed maps of all public hunting land in the state.

Brookings County alone has 30 “Walk-In” areas totaling 4,622 acres of private land leased by the state for the purpose of public hunting. Additionally, Brookings County has a 638-acre waterfowl production area at Brush Lake and a dozen state-managed game production areas that are also open to public hunting. If you knock on a few doors and meet some farmers, access to private lands can also be obtained.

“I hunt public and private land. Once, I helped a farmer load some corn and then he let me hunt pheasants,” Quast said. “There is great hunting 12 minutes from campus.”

Non-resident students might even enjoy better hunting in South Dakota than they had at home.

“Compared to back home, pheasant numbers are a lot higher here. I saw more birds in one hour here than in two days back home.” said Jason Nordmann, of Eden Valley, Minn.

Even though South Dakota is known as the pheasant-hunting capital of the world, opportunities also abound in this state for ducks, geese, upland and small game, deer, turkeys, antelope, elk and predator/varmint hunting. South Dakota offers hunting licenses at resident prices for non-residents who are full-time students.

#1.884154:2793860696.jpg:hunting3.jpg:Junior Kevin Robling, a Wildlife and Fisheries major, scouts out a place to hang his deer stand for the up coming deer season.: