It was early fall 1973, and I was the high school principal in Burke, South Dakota. Around dawn, I had gone fishing in one of the area’s many stock dams in an effort to catch a few bass before my workday began. I caught a good-sized bass, and I took it to Fernau’s Grocery for official weighing. It went 5 lbs. 9 oz.Apparently, the word was out. During the course of the day, Pries Fahrenbacher, owner and publisher of the Burke Gazette, called and asked if I still had the bass. He wanted a picture and a brief account of how I had caught the fish. I obliged, and it was in the following week’s newspaper.Shortly thereafter, Pries told me that people enjoyed the story and asked if I would consider penning a weekly column. I welcomed the opportunity, and it wasn’t long before other area papers wanted to subscribe. Forty-four years later, I decided to put some of the columns in a book along with a number of short stories written over the years. That brings us to the present.While a very modest writing income is a plus, I much enjoy writing my column, and I look forward to knocking out a new one every week. Local history fascinates me, and telling a little-known story about my surroundings is also rewarding, hence, the people and places section.I’m neither a talented hunter nor a great fisherman, but I do have enthusiasm. I also believe that for a guy who likes to hunt and fish, South Dakota can’t be beaten. Just about everything that can be hunted in South Dakota is at least touched on in this book. These include antelope, deer, elk, buffalo, coyote, bobcat, fox, mountain lion, rabbits, pheasants, ducks, geese, grouse, and prairie chickens.I’m also curious about what’s over the next hill. In choosing between a new pickup truck vs. a hunt in Argentina, I’ll continue to drive my twelve-year-old Dodge Dakota rather than a late model. A guy living on South Dakota teacher retirement checks and social security looks for creative ways to hunt and fish foreign soil. To that end, I’ve been successful as many of the hunts and fishing trips from beyond Dakota borders fill this category. At the present time, the outfitters mentioned in this book remain in business. I strongly recommend all of them.Today, essential tremor and peripheral neuropathy cause me a great deal of difficulty when I hunt or fish. In shooting a rifle, I must have a rock solid anchor. I must not touch the trigger until my scope reticle is glued to my target, and I pass on most shots. Numb legs and poor balance prevent me from navigating slopes. I’m a long way from being a role model, but it would have been easy to quit. Don’t allow some minor handicap keep you from the field or lake. I’ve discovered that most fellow sportsmen and women are anxious to assist in any way they can. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy this book.
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