Hidden away in the Badlands of South Dakota, where time has passed over, lives a group of the poorest, yet friendliest people on earth. Their home is one million acres of the most barren lands God ever created. They are a proud, noble people, and are known by outsiders as the Rosebud Indians. They are Sioux and they live from what they hunt and with proceeds from their casino.
I first met them in the spring of 1994 while hunting with them for Merriam turkey. I was hunting in Nebraska, which their property joins, when the outfitter asked if I would like to go meet one of the tribal chiefs and, if I was lucky, to be invited to hunt with them. I did, they did, and it has been a love affair that will last till I cross the Silent River.
The chief ’s name is Todd Bearshield and each year I return to South Dakota his smiling face is always there to meet me. When I flew into Rapid City he would always meet me at the airport. Now that I drive, he is always there to greet me as I pull into the lodge. I have turkey hunted almost every year with them since 1994.
Although pickup trucks have replaced the pony, it is just as exciting, I am sure, as when they rode across the plains on horseback. You can look and see the ground through the floor board of their old trucks, going along at 60 miles an hour and just knowing the seat you are setting on could fall from under you just anytime (but never has!). I have never rode in a truck there that was less than 30 years old.
My turkey hunt is usually over in a couple hours, as there is no shortage of turkey there. The offi- cial name of their town is Gregory, South Dakota. It is on Highway 18, about 80 miles south of Interstate 90, next to the Nebraska line.
For years they tried for years to get me to come buffalo hunt with them, but time never allowed it to happen until this year. They offer in addition to Merriam turkey and buffalo, antelope, deer, both mule and whitetail, and ring neck pheasant and water foul hunting. Where else can you hunt Merriam for $250 a day with guide, and buffalo (bison) $2,500. The answer is nowhere.
If you feel the need to have more fun than just hang with them and hunt, they have a casino just a few miles west at Valentine, South Dakota. It is owned and operated by the Rosebud Indians. But keep in mind that although you will probably win at hunting, casinos are not built on winners — but you can have lots of fun trying. Go hunt with these true, fun-loving people. Make them your friends and they will be with you for a lifetime.
Oh yes, I got my big bull. He is in the freezer. I was hunting with two men from North Carolina. I have a regular deep freezer I hook up to my generator in the bed of my truck. They had four 48-quart ice chests each to bring back over 1,000 pounds of meat for each one. Go figure. Better to have something and not need it than to not have it and need it. If you go, don’t look stupid. The red man thinks we are stupid enough already.
Remember, Struttin’ Time is almost over for this year; so if you have a story you want to share, get it to me. Time is short.