Kingsbury County pheasant hunting tradition continues

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

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Dr. Doug Mair, a retired pediatric cardiologist from Rochester, Minn., made his 40th trip this year to hunt pheasants near De Smet.

 

Mair and his hunting party didn’t quite shoot their limit this year, averaging about two birds a day per person.

 

“The wind made it difficult, and there was some unpicked corn. I don’t think it was a shortage of birds,” Mair said.

 

Mair’s first hunting trip to this area was 67 years ago. When he was 10 years old, he accompanied his father on a 1948 hunting trip. “I was just a retriever then, like Quinn is now,” he said, with a nod toward his young grandson.

 

In 1972, Mair met John and Amy Gruntmeir of rural Iroquois when their son was his patient at the Mayo Clinic. Mair told them he had hunted in the area as a boy, and they invited him to their farm for the next pheasant season.

 

So, in 1973, Mair, along with his father, his 8-year-old son and four colleagues, came to Kingsbury County to hunt.  He said he has only missed a few years since then, when the bird counts were down. They hunted on the Gruntmeirs’ land, with John as their guide, and became friends with the family.

 

“We would come hunting and watch their boys play football.” Mair said.

 

John Gruntmeir died earlier this month.

 

“It’s sad with John having passed away,” Mair said. “As far as we’re concerned, he will  always be the captain of the hunt.”

 

Donna Palmlund

Staff Writer

The De Smet News

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