We had a great North Dakota Hunt again this year at the 9th annual 2021 Michael Odermann Memorial Pheasant Hunt. This is the fourth year we participated and although the birds didn’t cooperate, we had a great hunt!
Michael Odermann Memorial Pheasant Hunt
The Odermann family lost their son Michael in a hunting accident a number of years ago. For the past 9 years, they’ve commemorated their loss with a Memorial Pheasant Hunt. It’s a family affair/fund raising event that supports scholarships for local students. Not only that, it’s a ton of fun. One of Mike’s favorite sayings was whatever he was doing, he was ‘making memories’. Little did he realize…..
Friday nite they hold a social with a great meal followed by auctions, raffles and door prizes without end. Saturday morning, the teams head to their favorite hunting spot. Around 3:00 in the afternoon we all gather to tally how many birds each team took as well as who’s bird has the longest tail feather. That tail feather is worth $500. Then there’s a buffet with all kinds of great creations.
Friday Nite Social
My wife and I got into Dickinson, ND mid afternoon Friday and met up with Erin and Pat (TSA Knives), and my two nephews. We headed over to the social around 5 and had a chance to meet up with old acquaintances and the Odermann family. Last year the hunt was suspended due to the Covid situation so it was great to see everyone again.
I didn’t do well at with the raffles this year but it was great to see Pat win a side x side 16ga shotgun. The frustrating part of that ‘win’ was Pat bought the winning ticket right after I bought a ‘loser’!!!!! Good for Pat (I guess…) My nephew also won a Savage 17HMR in one of the raffles as well.
The Odermann family is VERY family oriented and they make a great effort to include the kids. This year Jacob (the primary organizer) made a point of having a ‘raffle’ for the kids. There was a Crickett rifle given away and ALL of the kids got a decal or sticker. None of the kids walked away with a long face, unlike me. ( Hell, I never got a sticker when I lost!!!)
These kids are the future of hunting. I think it’s great they’re being introduced to the sport like this. If you’re not a hunter you might not understand that hunting is about a whole lot more then going out and shooting something. A lot of these kids have parents who are ranchers. These kids are growing up with an appreciation of the outdoors and hard work. They’re learning the hamburgers at McDonalds aren’t’ delivered by the hamburger fairy. They’re learning that hunting is about responsible behavior, respect for wildlife, giving back and so much more.
Saturday morning arrived in a gust of wind and it seems like it just blew harder as the day went on. The highlight of the day came when we arrived at the Odermann Ranch around 7:30AM to hot coffee, coffee cake and venison sausage. Understand, we were invited to hunt on their land. Jim Odermann hauled us around to the best hunting spots. On top of that, they fed us. And they already had a house full of family. Families like this are one in a million and truly treasured friends!!!
We spent the morning hitting some really great looking cover. The birds tended to flush either Waaaay out in front of us or I’m guessing we probably walked past more then a few. My nephew’s Brittany ‘Ollie’ got a work out as he was the only dog we had this year. He did a fantastic job but covering ground for 6 hunters in 30 mph winds is a bit of a stretch.
The ‘take’ of the day was a jack rabbit. They’re a pest as they love to eat the bark off from tree seedlings they plant.
Law of Unintended Consequences
The law of unintended consequences says that “sometimes unanticipated consequences or unforeseen consequences are outcomes of a purposeful action that are not intended or foreseen.” I think this hunt is a perfect example.
The family started this tradition to commemorate their son/brother/father and raise money for scholarships. I doubt the family realized at the time what a positive effect this tradition would have on so many people outside of their family and immediate friends.
Five years ago my wife only knew one of Jim and Leona’s daughters. Through a unique set of circumstances (a prairie dog hunt) we got invited to join in the annual Pheasant Hunt. Two of my nephews, Erin and Pat and a great nephew became friends and acquaintances of the Odermann’s. Every summer we’ve participated in a Prime Rib dinner / trap shoot that their son Jacob organizes. Today, we all consider the Odermann family to be special friends we look forward to seeing and spending time with.
We saw more kids show up to participate in the prime rib dinner this summer. We’ve watched the hunters bring their kids to the banquets. We’ve met some really nice people with similar interests. Even though we didn’t shoot a bird this year, we sure had a good time.
Pat & Erin, my nephews, Jan & I have spent time travelling around North Dakota as a result of our trips to the hunt and dinner. We’ve made multiple trips through Teddy Roosevelt National Park. Gone to the Medora Musical. None of this would probably have happened if we hadn’t participated in the Michael Odermann Memorial Pheasant Hunt. It’s truly resulted in all of us “Making Memories”, Michael Odermann.