Todd Truedson owns Todd’s Electric in Kennedy, Minn. He likes to fish, but most of his spare time is spent with his racing team, which includes four cars (including a late model, a lightning sprint car and a street car) as well as his daughter’s go-kart. Hunting isn’t normally on his schedule.
However, in February of 2013, a group of his friends was going boar hunting in Missouri and had a last-minute cancellation. Truedson agreed to fill the spot, and soon he found himself at Stone Creek Hunting Ranch outside of Edgar Springs. The ranch includes nearly 500 acres of heavy woods and massive stone hills. In those woods you’ll find rams, ibex, deer, elk, buffalo and antelope – but Truedson and his friends were there for the famed Russian wild boar.
Before the hunt began, the ranch’s guides gave Truedson and his friends a briefing on their quarry. Not only can wild boars grow to be 350 pounds, but males have deceptively sharp tusks that can grow to more than 4 inches. Staff emphasized that stories about the aggressive nature of wild boars are not exaggerated. In fact, they shared personal examples of hunters who had found themselves in the emergency room after an enraged animal had run its tusk straight through to the bones in their legs. Truedson wasn’t nervous, but he also hadn’t expected so many warnings about the risk of hunting wild boar. Clearly this was an animal that deserved respect.
Truedson and his friends spent the first day of their hunt trying to become acclimated to the rough terrain and their unfamiliar prey. Wild boars have a tremendously acute sense of smell, and the hunting party quickly discovered that it was critical to approach the animals from a downwind direction. Once a boar caught the scent of a hunter, it was gone – impossible to hit as it disappeared into the unforgiving geography of the ranch’s hills and woods.
The following days brought better hunting as the men got the hang of the boars’ movements. Just a few miles away from Fort Leonard Wood army base, they stalked the feral hogs with the surreal background noise of machine gun fire and artillery shells as soldiers trained nearby. One by one, the hunters started to take down their boars. After injuring a particularly nasty specimen, one of the men had to find cover in order to escape the animal’s tusks – as well as the tusks of its stampeding comrades. Truedson, however, still hadn’t found a shot.
After spotting more than 50 boars as he plunged through the forest for two days, it was on the third day that he finally put the scope of his rifle on a boar at 200 feet and sent a 220 swift into its skull. “If you want a good mount, you don’t want to shoot them in the head,” Truedson remembers with a smile. “But I wasn’t taking any chances.” He dropped a rugged male that weighed in at almost 250 pounds.
Truedson’s days in the racing business have given him plenty of pulse-pounding moments, but putting a dangerous wild boar in the crosshairs was just as thrilling. For an occasional hunter, it was a day he will never forget.
To say that Jesse Palmer of Kennebec Telephone was excited when he heard that he was chosen for one of the 350 paddlefish licenses at Lake Francis Case on the Missouri River (near Chamberlain, South Dakota) in 2012, would be an understatement.
He remembered seeing photos of his father and grandfather with these huge fish, but there hadn’t been a paddlefish season on the lake for 30 years. Palmer knew that the odds were against him; more than 2,000 anglers applied for licenses.
But Palmer was picked, and he didn’t waste the opportunity. He spent 22 days in the month of May on the lake. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, with friends and family joining him on his adventure. Everyone had a good time, but each of them quickly learned how unique an undertaking it is to go after the massive – and somewhat reclusive – paddlefish. Because they ingest nutrients through their gills, the only way to catch them is to snag them with a treble hook. Palmer’s knowledge of the river and lake paid off. He was able to hook a good number of fish, but it wasn’t until a special evening on the water that he made the catch of a lifetime.
As the season was winding down, Palmer went out on a dreary, overcast day with his brother. He was catching paddlefish left and right, but none were of note. Palmer’s brother couldn’t resist a playful jab. “You’re catching all the little ones, now you have to find the babysitter,” he said.
Undeterred, Palmer took the boat back down the same stretch of water that had proven fruitful earlier in the day. That’s when he snagged the babysitter. What turned out to be a 62-pound paddlefish wasn’t the largest catch Palmer made throughout the season, but it was definitely his favorite. The two men marveled at the huge fish in one of those special moments that fishermen grow to cherish. “It might not have been the largest paddlefish I caught that May, but it certainly was the prettiest. Being able to catch that fish with my brother on board meant so much to me, I couldn’t have asked for a better feeling.”
On the opening day of elk bow-hunting season in 2012, Todd Sisson of MDM Supply in Bozeman, Montana, drove through the Gallatin Canyon toward Yellowstone National Park. It was a perfect morning, with a clear blue sky and the temperature around 50 degrees. Sisson’s expectations were realistic for the first day out – his goal was simply to get a feel for his hunting grounds.
As he got out of his truck, Sisson immediately heard elk bugles in the distance. His heart began to race. The elk were just 400 yards away in a draw, so Sisson decided to take a look. As the sun came up, he found himself in a perfect position – down wind and directly in the path of the elk. It wasn’t long before the first cow appeared, then a rag horn (a less-than-trophy-worthy elk). He found himself feeling thankful for the beauty of it all.
Fifteen to 20 more elk passed by, including both cows and bulls, but nothing worthy of Sisson’s arrows, especially since it was still opening day and there would be more chances to come (or so every hunter hopes). He waited an hour or so until it got quiet, then he decided to move.
He moved to another area of the property with the intention of getting some exercise, while taking in the sounds and smells of the woods. Nothing stirred during his hike, but the perfect weather made the walk worthwhile. A half mile later, he heard a small bugle and decided to check it out. As he moved into position, a bull came around a tree and headed straight toward Sisson. It was a small six-point elk that wasn’t worth shooting, so he crawled back 30 yards or so to simply watch the animal in its environment.
Suddenly, the morning calm was shattered by a loud, aggressive bugle from a second elk somewhere nearby. Sisson was startled, especially when he realized that the sound was moving quickly in his direction. Sisson changed position to get a better look. The elk bugled again, and the hunter was stunned at how fast the animal was moving, though it still remained out of sight. Sisson quickly settled on a spot to wait, then hurriedly began to prepare his bow.
A bull burst into view and stopped just 40 yards or so from Sisson’s hiding spot. The hunter caught his breath at the sight of the massive beast. Opening day or not, this was a trophy elk. The animal paused behind a thin tree – a sapling just large enough to prevent Sisson from getting a clear shot. Cursing, he drew his bow and waited for the enormous animal to move. Time seemed to stop, and the sounds of the forest seemed to go quiet, but the beast finally stepped forward and paused. Sisson’s arrow was true, and the bull fell just 50 yards from where it was struck.
Sisson’s trophy turned out to be a huge 331 bull elk. It was the hunt of a lifetime, and one that he shared by posting a photo on the DSG Outdoors page of www.dakotasupplygroup.com.
DSG President Tom Rosendahl saw an opportunity and took it. An avid fisherman and hunter, he was headed for a family wedding in Florida and while he was there, he had a lead on the outdoor adventure of a lifetime – an alligator hunt. The father of five sons and one daughter, Rosendahl was always on the lookout for a new experience to share, and this one was just too good to pass up.
In Florida, Rosendahl and two of his sons (including Jase Rosendahl, who currently works at DSG in Bismarck, ND) met the guide at 5 a.m. at a local lake. The guide scoured the water’s surface with a pair of binoculars, watching closely for signs of a gator. It didn’t take long for him to spot a large one, and in moments, the men were speeding across the lake to the spot where the gator had submerged.
Snatch hooks were quickly deployed to catch hold of the monster. Soon the alligator was fighting several of the hooks, designed not to kill the animal, but merely to wear it down. Indeed, the gator proceeded to pull the boat with the men inside.
Once the alligator was close enough to the boat, the hunters used a bangstick to shoot it under the water. Enraged, the animal swam away with primal energy, held back only by the men and their hooks. The next time the gator approached the boat, it lunged at the hunters with its huge jaws.
“It was incredible,” Tom Rosendahl remembers. “As he rocked the boat, it was terrifying and exciting at the same time.”
Undeterred, the men used the bangstick again and again. In total, the monster took five high-caliber shots before it was weak enough to be restrained. The guide expertly used duct tape to secure the beast’s mouth, and before long, the 10.5-foot alligator (who was missing a few feet of his tail – likely from a dispute with another gator) was on the shore. The guide estimated the giant’s weight to be more than 650 pounds, a trophy by any estimation.
The men brought home meat and the gator’s jaws, a reminder of a unique adventure shared by a father and his sons in the dangerous waters of Florida’s wilderness. “I’m glad we went,” says Tom Rosendahl. “We’re going to remember that for the rest of our lives.”
Belinda Neely is in the clerical department at DSG in Williston, ND. An avid motorcyclist, she and her boyfriend were riding through the Rocky Mountains outside Gunnison, CO, a few years ago when they got the surprise of their lives.
Knowing that mountain goats frequented that area, Neely’s eyes were fixed on the sheer rock walls that framed the road. As she rode on the back of the bike, she hoped to catch sight of the spry creatures as they hopped along the steep cliffs.
Suddenly, the motorcycle shook and her boyfriend jerked it under control with a startled sound. “I asked him what happened,” says Neely, “and he asked, ‘Didn’t you see that mountain goat?’” As it turns out, a mountain goat had actually jumped over the riders as they passed. In fact, Neely’s boyfriend raised his arm to deflect the animal, but only managed to graze its belly as it passed overhead.
“I thought he was joking,” Neely admits. “That is, until we pulled over and the cars behind us pulled over, too.” As it turns out, the drivers behind the motorcyclists had witnessed the gymnastic goat as well. One of them asked Neely, “Have you ever danced with a mountain goat before?”
In fact, mountain goats can jump nearly 12 feet in a single bound. Why one chose to perform a daredevil leap over a motorcycle that day – no one will ever know. “We were very lucky that day,” Neely says. “But it is a story that we love to tell.”