Bonding’ season now open

Jesse Batson

Jesse Batson

With shotgun in hand, senior Rob Lyons left Brookings, Friday for one reason: South Dakota’s pheasant season opener on Saturday.

“This weekend I’m going with about 20 other people,” Lyons said Friday. “We’re meeting in Presho to go pheasant hunting. This Presho hunt is always an annual deal.”

One of the 20 or so other people who went to Presho was Lyons’ father.

Living 450 miles apart doesn’t leave much time for Lyons and his father to get together, but pheasant hunting provides them with an opportunity to see each other.

Hunting with his father gives them a chacne to bond together, Lyons said.

Hunting is also a joint interest for Lyons and his roomate.

“My roomate, I and a bunch of our friends go out every weekend,” Lyons says. “We hunt both private land and public land around here.”

The likelihood of Lyons and his roommate missing a good majority of the Hobo Day weekend activities is high.

“We pretty much prioritize hunting over most other recreational activities, like Hobo Days and stuff,” Lyons says.

Lyons’ excitement for pheasant season is shared by many other students, too.

Senior Dan Spengler, a wildlife and fisheries major, still remembers his first hunting experience.

“My first memory of hunting would actually be when I was 12-years-old with my father,” Spengler said.

Just like Lyons, Spengler and his father bond during their time hunting together.

“It’s kind of like our father-son get-together and that’s when I spend the most time with him,” Spengler says.

It’s not just Spengler and his father out there in the fields all alone, though. Usually, there are several other hunters with them. Those hunters come from all over the United States, sometimes even Florida, Spengler says.

Sophomore Brandon Neiswonger grew up watcing his father hunt. When Neiswonger was old enough to hunt with his father, there were no boundaries. Originally from Nevada, Neiswonger and his father hunted all over the northern part of the state.

“We’d leave on a Friday afternoon and wouldn’t come back for maybe a week later,” Neiswonger says. “We just set out and drove about 300 miles, and then stayed out there for a week or a weekend.”

After Neiswonger moved to South Dakota at age 18, the father-son hunting trips became holiday treats during Christmas and Thanksgiving breaks.

Now Neiswonger keeps his hunting tradition alive with his cousins from Madison.