By Bob & Ginny Riege
Have you stepped back in time? Or are you watching some movie that has come out of the 1950′s? The answers to your questions is summed up in two words; North Dakota.
Allow me to back up a bit and tell you how I found out about this paradise. A very good friend of mine, Jason Mitchell from Jason Mitchell Outdoors and resident of North Dakota called one day in the middle of the summer and said. “Bob you have got to get yourself out to Harvey, North Dakota.” The excitement in his voice told me that I should put down my ice tea and listen. “I’m telling you that it is like it use to be when we were kids growing up. You will see at least 300 pheasants in a day and you can’t believe it, but seriously the sky will turn black with birds.”
Now I have hunted pheasants in Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, South Dakota and even Nebraska for over forty years, and I have been on some good shoots, but really 300 pheasants a day? This guy has been out in the sun to long. So to sooth my friend I told him that I would see if I could fit it into my schedule for October. I figured that right after duck opener and just after the beginning of pheasant season would be a good time to get my Irish Setters on some real active birds. So, with a pause in my speech, I told Jason that I would give Nicki Weissman Job Development/ Economic Development Director and CVB Coordinator of Harvey, North Dakota a call.
I took the opportunity of the slow summer fishing season to sit down one evening and call out to Harvey, ND to talk to Nicki Weissman. What I heard on the other end of the line was remarkable. She told me that a number of goose, duck and pheasant hunters had visited Harvey last year and that their success ratio was outstanding. In our conversation, I asked; “Why is this area so good for waterfowl and upland game?” The answer from Nicki was a simple one word; “Habitat.”
Throughout the area around Harvey, North Dakota there are places that hold pheasants in huntible numbers. There are private lands with scattered potholes and sloughs or woody draws that provide good places to hunt. These prairie potholes provide an excellent sportsmen’s paradise with a plethora of ducks and geese.
Public lands, (Lonetree Wildlife Management Area 25,730 acres) whether game production areas or waterfowl production areas, which are managed by the state or federal government, are also excellent spots for hunters to look for a few roosters, sharp tailed grouse, or Hungarian partridge. In fact, a hunter would be hard pressed to hunt this entire WMA in a lifetime.
We met Nicki Weissman and Mike Jensen from North Dakota Department of Commerce at JW’s restaurant for breakfast. JW’s specializes in awesome omelets, and lunch specials that will keep you going all day long. More importantly, this is where many of the locals go and it is a good place for nonresidents to make contact with landowners and community members. This is where traditions are born. Traditions are something that Harvey, North Dakota has to offer especially when it comes to hunting in the fall. Harvey, North Dakota has hunting rooted in the traditional family methods and it is carried on from generation to generation.