South Dakota Pheasant Hunts officially began offering pheasant hunting 1985, but its roots go back to the mid fifties when Bill and Goldie Stone purchased the farm. Bill was conservation minded and immediately began a tree planting program and habitat development for all wildlife.

The Wildlife Federation of South Dakota awarded him the “Wildlife Conservationist Of The Year” award in 1980. Upon receiving the award Bill stated that it was nice to receive an award for something you did because you enjoyed it.

Hunters began knocking on the door in 1959 and haven’t stopped since. Will began operating a preserve on the farm in the fall of 1985. Bill was little cool to the idea at first, but approved of the idea after he saw how it was going to be run.

Bill always enjoyed the friendships he made with hunters over the years and it showed when he “officially” began guiding hunts for Will.

Bill lost his battle with cancer in May of 1990 at the young age of 59. Will stated, “I lost a father, friend and hunting buddy all at one time. He pushed me out in a duck boat made of car hoods when I was four years old. In January of 1990 we were going to hunt pheasants on a slough he just added to the farm. He didn’t feel up to walking but he sat in the car and watched as Cindy (my Brittany) and I flushed and shot a few ringnecks from what would be Bill’s final conservation effort.


 

Will continued running the hunting operation on the farm. Will and Fay purchased the farm in 1987 from Goldie. The first thing they did was plant over 15,000 shrubs and trees and added more food plots. The farming operation was phased out with the exception of millet and sorghum food plots that are planted ever year. Will says, “The farm is strictly for the birds now.” Although the deer and cottontail may disagree.

The operation is a family affair. Fay and the girls have helped out over the years and now Heath, whom hunters have watched grow up, is now helping out as a guide. Will states, “We are a licensed preserve. I make no effort to hide that fact, but our goal is to provide the best natural hunt around and we are accomplishing that feat.”

Will says, “We have groups that have been coming out for seventeen years without missing a year.”

Eddie McCloud of Massachusetts stated, “You can’t go there and not have good time.” Randy Frager from California stated, “This is not preserve hunting.” Otto Palmer stated, “This is beautiful out here.” Robert Brag from Montana stated, “We had a blast.”
Will just beams when he hears comments like these knowing the hunters have had a great time and that new acquaintances will soon be old friends. He said it is a tribute to his father for the conservation work he started over fifty years ago.

Will Stone

Will Stone is the owner and operator of South Dakota Pheasant Hunts and has a passion for preservation and ring neck pheasants.






Will's son Heath also helps out with the family operation. 

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