Paul Nelson Farm


Written by: Paul Fersen

paul nelson lodge

Paul Nelson Lodge

I just spoke to Paul Nelson owner of Paul Nelson’s Farm in South Dakota. I hunted with Paul last year in one of the best days of hunting I’ve ever experienced and wanted to find out how the season was going.”

“This year, we’re seeing even more remarkable numbers of pheasant, because the habitat work we’ve done over the years is maturing and the resulting population is breathtaking,” said Nelson. Twenty years ago, Paul began creating on his farm, the finest possible habitat for wild pheasant. He’s planted thousands of trees over the years in sections aligned with feed plots and row crops to create the perfect environment for pheasant proliferation. The result is a hunting experience for pheasant that is impossible to duplicate due to the years Paul has invested in the cultivation of the birds and their habitat.

“We’re beginning to see clients who this time of year would be hunting doves in Mexico, now coming here because of the numbers we have. Last year due to the recession, things were a bit slower, but this year we are having a great year. November is really solid, but we do have availability in October and December.”

Paul Nelson’s is one of, if not the premier pheasant hunting operation in the world. Located in central South Dakota, the farm is dedicated to one thing, the creation of perfect pheasant habitat. From that one foundation arises an extraordinary hunting experience.

In a survey taken by the Orvis Company on its endorsed operations, guests at Paul Nelson’s were 100% in agreement in their desire to return. Some of the comments illustrate the quality of this hunting lodge.

“Best hunting experience of my life. If I must complain, it is that the Paul Nelson Farm sets such a high standard, that I fear future hunts elsewhere may fall short.”

“This is by far the best hunting experience in my long history of guided hunts.”

“As stated earlier, this is the best in North America. I can easily recommend to any executive this is the best place to hunt and cultivate a personal relationship with your customer.”

The facility, the staff, the guides, the dogs—all first rate, but perhaps there are two things that set them apart from other operations, the attention to the minutest detail, and the family itself who welcome their clients as if they were members of the family. Paul, Cheryl, Eric, and Tammy are all invested in the operation and take a hands on approach to each client’s experience.

When I wrote about this lodge in Great Hunting Lodges of North America, which comes out this month, I described the pheasant hunting this way.

“Perhaps the best analogy for hunting in the row crops of Paul Nelson Farm is standing in a stream during a mayfly hatch, except these are pheasants emerging from the surface in numbers that are sometimes bewildering.  The shooting is so prolific that one of the common mistakes hunters make is leaving the vehicle with too few shells to get through the field, finding themselves with birds coming up at their feet and nothing in their pockets but empty hulls. Standing at the bus at the end of the day and looking out over the fields, limit easily attained, a hunter is often treated to the sight of pheasants dropping into the fields in numbers that can only make an upland hunter shake his head and smile in wonder that such numbers still exist. ”
The season goes through Christmas. For more information call 605-765-2469 or e-mail them at hunting@paulnelsonfarm.com

If you do go, make sure Cheryl plays the harp for you at dinner. What other hunting lodge offers that?

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