Like you, I enjoy receiving Christmas cards. It’s a great way to reconnect with people  . . . especially friends and family who you don’t get to see as often as you’d like.

While going through my snail mail recently, I came across a white envelope with no return address. Without any idea who might have sent it (I didn’t take the time to examine the black postmark stamped on the envelope), I simply tore it open.

As the photo above shows, the card inside featured a beautiful winter scene with a yellow Lab puppy sitting on a bench. In the background, I spotted two whitetails and a cozy cabin.

Cool card. I wonder who sent it . . .

Opening the card, I could hardly believe my eyes: a single feather. This was a body feather from a South Dakota rooster pheasant, and the card’s message: “Warmly remembering you at this sweet and happy time of year,” was signed by my new friends, Chuck and Sheila.

scatter-gun-christmas-card-opened

Who are Chuck and Sheila, and why the feather?

Chuck and Sheila Ross (below) are the owners of ScatterGun Lodge near Pierre, South Dakota, and I was honored to share a writer’s camp with them this past October. (You might remember a story I wrote about one of their upland guides, Deb Anderson.)

sheila-and-chuck-ross

ScatterGun claims to be “South Dakota’s Ultimate Pheasant Hunt,” and while I’ve spent a lot of time in SoDak, I certainly haven’t pursued pheasants from border to border. But I do know this: The pheasant hunting is out of this world, the accommodations are second to none, and Chuck and Sheila treat you like family.

The author with a couple of roosters taken at ScatterGun Lodge in South Dakota.
The author with a couple of roosters taken at ScatterGun Lodge in South Dakota.

Someday I hope to visit ScatterGun again, and when I do I will thank Chuck and Sheila in person for taking the time to send a simple pheasant feather at Christmas– one that brought back many fine memories.

Be safe, shoot straight, and Merry Christmas!

  • Bill Wessels

    I grew up in the Pacific northwest. Cottonwood Idaho, Clarkston Washington. We had Pheasant, which are non native and are generally released each year by fish and game department. Chukkars, which are non native but plentiful. Grouse, Quail, doves, hungarian partridge, and a few others. I am 70 years old and when I was young I used to hunt the Snake River brakes. I never had a dog (had to fetch my own). They are all excellent eating. The most difficult to hunt are the Chukkars. They run uphill and chuckle at you and when you get near they fly downhill. They also taste the best of all and are a little smaller than a pheasant. It is best to hunt in a party to sweep the hill sideways with someone at the top middle and bottom, using one or 2 dogs for flushing. When they take off to fly down hill you will each get a passing shot.