I just returned from a wonderful pheasant hunting experience in South Dakota at Paul Nelson Farm with a group hosted by good friend John White from Swisher International Cigars. Paul Nelson’s Farm (PNF) is located about an hour north of Pierre (capital city) and east of the Missouri River amongst 12,000 acres of prime pheasant hunting land. Having sent clients to several pheasant lodges in South Dakota and the distinct pleasure of hunting a few myself, I was acutely aware of different levels of comfort and amenities offered. And while I had heard from others that PNF was top notch, nothing prepared me for what I witnessed; the place is one of the finest lodges of any type I have ever stayed. Seriously, anyone who relishes fine décor as it relates to hunting and outdoor themes would love to have Mr. Nelson’s blueprints because very few can conjure up enough imagination to fulfill the job.
Essentially, there are three distinctly different lodges using a footprint of over 45,000 square feet all with single room status. The Main Lodge was initially built in 1992 and through the years of tremendous growth Nelson continued to expand the Main Lodge to 12 rooms and including a spectacular African room that could very well be the best lounge in South Dakota. In 2001 Paul added the Buffalo Suites of eight large, tastefully decorated suites and the wonderfully deluxe King Lodge of 15 rooms was built in 2006.
All meals are served buffet-style and taken in the Main Lodge only a sand wedge away from both the King Lodge and Buffalo Suites. All wines were rated 90+ and I can attest to their authenticity.I will tell you that it does not matter where you stay at PNF, all the rooms are large with king beds, first rate linens, down comforters and beautifully adorned with Western and Native American style décor. Geez, if you get tired enough you can just sleep on one of the many overstuffed couches throughout each lodge. Literally you do not want for anything at PNF as there are snacks on every table, a top shelf bar at every turn and an HD TV on the most well positioned river-rock walls. There are fireplaces, fire pits, outdoor heaters, cigar rooms, poker tables, Jacuzzi’s, exercise room and on and on.
Oh I almost forgot, the hunting’s not bad either as our group had no problem reaching our daily 5-pheasant/chukar limit. The majority of us chose to use their inventory of fine Beretta Silver Pigeon O/U’s provided at no charge with various chokes and barrel lengths. The walking through mostly corn rows was easy and dog work was excellent. The blockers were provided with hay bales for cover that worked quite well and made for great photo opps. We used Pointers, Flushers, and Retrievers and much care was taken to not overwork them. PNF like most all successful pheasant ranches, manages their game very well and provides the right amount of feed, habitat and cover so that birds flourish and hunters are happy. In summary I will say that Paul Nelson Farm has a proven business model, one that includes all the best ingredients for the upscale wingshooter. With that said PNF is not for every hunter, but if you are a successful corporation looking for a different incentive trip to reward your staff or executives, or if you are simply looking for the most upscale lodge with all the details covered you will do well to hunt at PNF.