Last year was the first year we headed to North Dakota for the Michael Odermann Memorial Scholarship Pheasant Hunt. Mike tragically died in a hunting accident a number of years ago. His family started the Memorial Pheasant Hunt to honor Mike and raise scholarship money for area students.
The whole event is truly a family affair. Mike’s parents, siblings, his kids, uncle/aunt, nephews, and nieces all play a role in making this event the success it is. It’s a pretty amazing family unit.
To give you a sense of the type of people make up this family, the evening we arrived for the banquet we were greeted by family members as soon as we walked in the door. The next morning we went out the ranch to get organized. My adult nephew was celebrating his birthday and when he walked in the door he was greeted by the Odermann’s singing happy birthday with a caramel roll and a candle in the middle of it. It’s almost impossible to be around this family without a smile on your face and feeling good about life in general.
Things kick off on Friday nite with a banquet, raffles and door prizes. The Memorial Pheasant Hunt started a few years ago with a handful of teams and expanded to 10 teams this year and the promise of one or two new teams joining in next year. I believe there were over a 100 people that showed up to participate in the banquet portion of things and needless to say, a good time was had by all!!
I know the auctions were really successful this year with folks opening up their wallets for a great cause. It felt great to have the Trestle Pine Buddy that our team donated bring in $700 at auction. The blade was engraved “Making Memories ~ 2018” which was a philosophy Mike lived by and this Memorial Hunt does a fabulous job passing that feeling on to all of us.
The Memorial Hunt consists of teams of 6 hunters that compete in a Pheasant hunt on Saturday morning following the banquet. There are a number of ways to end up in the money including bringing in the rooster with the longest tail feather, which I believe was worth $500! Prizes and winnings can run well over a $1000 but even at that, the competition couldn’t be more friendly with lots of good natured joking back and forth.
Our team once again had the privilege (and I do mean Privilege) of hunting on the Odermann Ranch with Mike’s dad (Jim) and Jim’s brother-in-law Charlie as guides and ‘transporters’. In other words, we had a guided hunt on private property in the middle of pheasant country.
The weather was gorgeous and the birds were plentiful. The fact that all of us didn’t limit out fell on our shooting ability (or I should say, lack thereof). We definitely had our chances but no one left disappointed. Our host was concerned we didn’t get more birds but we did our best to convince him all of us had an incredible time. To top everything off, 3 of us came home with 3 new hunting rifles we won worth close to $3000 AND, an invitation to another prime rib feed and trapshoot next spring. Personally, I ended up with a new Prairie Dog gun in the form of a new Browning X-Bolt Hells Canyon in 300 Win Mag. Maybe not….
I didn’t take any photos cleaning up birds with the Hess Bird and Trout, but it did get pressed into service. Great little knife and really handy to carry.
I have to keep pushing to get Jacob Odermann to share some pictures with us of his knife making projects. Jacob is relatively new to knife making but it sounds like he’s getting into it. It’s always fun to see someone’s work.
I could go on but by now you probably get the feeling we all had a fantastic time. Again. Everyone on our team feels privileged that we’ve gotten to know the Odermann family. Their son Mike’s philosophy of Making Memories is sure working for all of us!!