OUTFITTER REVIEW ON:
Part 1:THE HUNT
Heading to Southwestern North Dakota In Search Of Wild Ringnecks!
By Dr. Eric Ruhland
As we awoke in southwestern North Dakota it didn’t take much to get us out of bed and ready for our 8am appointment with our guide for the day Kurt Honeyman of the Cannonball Company. Although the area had recently been soaked in rain over the past for days, it didn’t dampen our spirits one bit for our approaching guided pheasant hunt. In fact I had been having vivid dreams of chasing wild ringnecks across the North Dakota prairies recently and now the time was finally here! Not long after we awoke, we were on our way to the headquarters of Cannonball Company, one of the largest pheasant hunting land cooperatives in the country, located in Regent, ND. My older brother Jason and my new yellow lab Maverick were my comrades on this trip.
We arrived right on time at the building in the downtown area of Regent known as Cannonball Co. and we were greeted by our guide and one of the founders of Cannonball, Kurt Honeyman. Cannonball Co. is a land cooperative for hunting formed by ranchers, bed and breakfasts, and professional hunting guides. Kurt explained to us how Cannonball Co. has worked to protect the valuable assets of western North Dakota’s agriculture over the past decade by giving a dollar value to land access and guides. It is no surprise that pheasants and Cannonball Co. have transformed what would be a marginal return into a great gain. By paying landowners for each bird shot, Cannonball has been able to secure over 50,000 acres of prime pheasant hunting property in southwest North Dakota. The community of Regent has benefited greatly as well from such a wise move by farmers and ranchers. It can be assumed that hunters, hotel / bar owners, gas stations, and liquor stores love the idea too, being that the entire main street was packed with license plates from New York to California.
A Glimpse Inside The Cannonball Company Clubhouse
After a quick cup of coffee and a roll we were off with Kurt in two vehicles to push a long stretch of the Cannonball River for WILD pheasants. We would leave one truck on each side and work it in one direction- North to South. My brother Jason Ruhland had driven all the way from Texas for this hunt and to say he was excited would be an understatement. His job was to counter Maverick, my 16 month old lab as he really wanted to put the hurt on a rooster.
|The second we pulled into the north end of the valley, we could already see that many birds were already pouring out of the top of the draw. Hundreds of|
|birds were going skyward in the distance but Jason and I held off for better shots. These were all wild birds, and their behavior was such, the smart ones ran and flushed early. Many large roosters could be seen in distance taking to the air but Kurt just laughed. He knew that plenty of birds would be left as we moved down into the valley.|
|Ten minutes into the hunt Jason had one bird down and Maverick was making a great retrieve across an open flat- my young pup with his first wild bird, what a feeling. The rest of the morning went a lot like that. Three birds each was a limit and we fired a combined 8 rounds to fill ours. What lucky shooting. Kurt was such a great guide to keep us on the birds and coordinate positions that you couldn’t help but shoot birds. In 45 minutes we had finished. Within that 45 minutes we saw no less than 500 WILD birds. One of the birds killed on that hunt was a massive rooster with spurs of over 1.75 inches long and a tail better than 26 inches. He is getting mounted as I am typing. |
Overall we had just a fantastic hunt. Great people, wild birds, and wide ranges of accommodations and hunt packages to fit all needs and hunting parties. The crew at Cannonball Co. will take care of everything for the perfect upland hunt ever. If you would like to chase sharptail grouse and Hungarian Partridge it can be arranged, however wild pheasants are their specialty. Rates and accommodations are comparable with what you would expect from a top class, wild bird only “preserve”. If this upland adventure is of serious interest to you, I recommend calling them soon as reservations are already limited for next fall.
Part 2: THE REVIEW
|OUTFITTER KNOWLEDGE / PERSONALITY: ||Score||5 / 5 |
Our guide for the trip was Kurt Honeyman. He had a great personality and attitude throughout the hunt and was very knowledgeable about getting us on birds throughout the day. With the strategies implemented during the hunt, it was very evident that Kurt knows how to hunt wild birds. Kurt, as well as most of the guides in camp, have lived in area all their life and are proficient hunters and know the lay of the land and are able to pattern the birds well.
|QUALITY OF |
|Score||5 / 5|
They had Benelli shotguns available as a perk for all of their hunters to use if needed. The guides also have 4 wheel drive pick ups available to transport their hunters to and from the field and the clubhouse was very nice and had all necessities available such as ammo, snacks and refershments etc.
|Score||5 / 5|
We took a limit of All Wild Roosters in 45 minutes. Not only that, but we saw well over 500 wild birds during the morning hunt. This seemed to be the norm and with over 50,000 acres of hunting property available exclusively to the Cannonball Company, and their management practices in place, there is no shortage of pheasants as well as other species of upland birds available whether you arrive on opener or the last day of the season.
|QUALITY OF MEALS |
|Score||4 / 5|
Although they are located in the rural community of Regent, ND the Cannonball Company has secured several different options of lodging for their hunters, from a bed and breakfast style stay to a fully furnished, modernized farmhouse setting. They are willing to work with each individual group to make sure they receive the caliber of hunt desired. Meal plans are also available depending on the needs of the group.
HUNT PACKAGES AND
|Score||4 / 5|
They work hard to be able to meet the needs of each group. They offer a Standard 3 day package starting at $945.00 per hunter, which includes lodging as well as an all day hunt, as well as a Deluxe 3 day package which encompasses all of the hunters needs including meals, bird cleaning and packaging and more for $1,350 per hunter.
|OVERALL QUALITY |
OF THE TRIP:
|Score||5 / 5 |
The overall quality of the trip was exceptional. As far as wild pheasant hunting goes this is as good as it gets. Again these are not farm planted birds at the beginning of the year like many other “wild bird’ hunts promote. For those looking for a trophy caliber bird for the wall, this is the place to get one. With the management practices put in place and the overall set up for lodging and catering to the customers needs, I felt the Cannonball Co. has done an excellent job!
|Overall Cannonball Company Scored 28 Out Of 30 Giving Them An "A" Rating. We Would Not Hesitate To Refer Them For Their Spectacular North Dakota Pheasant And Upland Bird Hunts! |
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Part 3: Booking Information
|Contact Information For The Cannonball Company|
Reservations: Nicole Haase
Phone: 1.800.920.4910 Fax: 701.563.4411
Address: P.O. Box 163 Regent, ND 58650
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Website Address: cannonballcompany.com
Additional Services Offered
In addition to their fantastic pheasant and upland bird hunts, the Cannonball Company also offers a limited number of trophy caliber whitetail deer hunts each fall as well. They do receive a select number of deer tags to be able to offer their hunters each year or you can apply for the state lottery drawing. They also offer prairie dog hunts for those interested in sharpening up those long distance shooting skills.