Hunting Waterfowl and Upland Birds in South Dakota

I’ve had the good fortune to hunt at two lodges over the past week that offer the opportunity to hunt waterfowl and upland birds on the same day. This makes for an awesome full day in the outdoors with good friends and my hunting dog companions. First, I’d like to share about The Roost in Woonsocket, SD

The Roost is a family operation owned and run by Jeff and Cara Poyer (you can reach them at 847-814-0421) located about 45 miles northwest of Mitchell. The main lodge is a repurposed farmhouse with full bar, entertainment room, and kitchen. They also have 3 additional cabins that will sleep 4 people each. The main lodge offers family-style meals; breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served daily.

Dog Stand next to my new MOmarsh InvisiMAN layout blind

One thing to keep in mind is that permits for South Dakota waterfowl for out-of-state hunters are done through a lottery system. You must apply for a license with specific dates by early July for an August draw. This year I was successful and could hunt mornings on the wetland marsh near the lodge.

Jeff’s son Neil and I made the daily morning trek to the blind to get a nice 1-hour hunt at shooting time. Although the migration is slow to start this year, we had teal, mallards, and diver ducks work the decoys and had some success each day. We loaded up our Jet Sled each morning to move around the marsh and take advantage of the wind. Even when the ducks weren’t cooperating the sunrises were spectacular!

South Dakota Sunrise

After the morning hunt, we returned to the lodge for breakfast and then loaded up for the trip to the fields. Jeff has numerous leased lands and the birds are plentiful. Even though the weather was warm and dry, we were able get our dogs into birds and got lots of action. The corn was still in mid harvest so we worked mostly CRP and feed belts on this trip. Our young dog “Rosie” had her first wild rooster point and retrieve on day 1! (that’s her below with Jeff, his new 28 gauge was working that day, not sure what happened to it overnight though!)

Rosie Retrieving a Rooster

Although I’ve been practicing with it all summer, this was my first field hunt with the Garmin Fenix 3 watch Dog Tracker paired with multiple Alpha T5 Mini tracking collars. It worked well! The watch was easy to read in the daylight and worked flawlessly all weekend long, with accurate direction and distance with 3 dogs on the screen at one time. It is essential to charge the collars and handheld unit daily. The GPS system uses more power to continually update and track the dogs vs. the E-collar systems. I’ve run beeper collars for years and find this system far superior in providing a real confidence in knowing where your dogs are in the tall grass and cat tails. You can feel the watch vibrate when the dogs go on point.

Mark with the Dogs

We had a great 4 night stay and 3-day hunt at the Roost, I’d highly recommend it for group sizes of 6 to 15 people. Jeff only hunts on weekends and only books a few weeks per year, so if you’re interested in The Roost call now as next season will fill up quickly.

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