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Grassland Grouse

The vastness of the South Dakota grasslands makes finding its feathered occupants a daunting task. This is compounded later in the season, when sharp-tailed grouse and prairie chickens are scattered and flighty.

Rolling waves of prairie grass bowed to 30 mph gusts of wind, creating the appearance of an angry golden sea. It was easy to imagine hundreds of prairie schooners winding through the immense landscape, stretching to the horizon like a giant serpent—their hopeful passengers plotting a course for the promise of a better life. Those weary of travel, hampered by breakdowns or enamored by the prairie...