In 1982, Gary and Teresa Black moved from their hometown of Gibbon, Minnesota to Estelline, South Dakota to farm land that was owned by the family. Gary was looking to generate additional income and instead of expanding in farming, he saw the market for pheasant hunting in South Dakota and wanted to be a part of it. This also left him with the ability to continue hobby farming which helped create the beautiful variety of pheasant hunting fields that we have today.
In 1998, Gary and Teresa started a hunting business out of their garage. Teresa made meals for the hunters while Gary and his good friend, Jim Noem, brought them on guided hunts in the fields and cleaned the pheasants. Oftentimes, they would be up until midnight cleaning the pheasants only to get up bright and early for a hunt the next day.
In 2002, Poinsett Resort became available for purchase. This was a restaurant and resort on Lake Poinsett. It had a large bar and lounge complimented by lakeside cabins. It was going to be bulldozed to build twin homes, or duplexes. The owner of the resort reached out to Gary and asked him to buy the cabins for his hunting business. Gary was already in the process of buying trailer homes as lodging for the hunters, but after some thought on what would work best for the business he decided the cabins would be a good investment. He decided to get four cabins and continue out of the garage.
The owner of Poinsett Resort then insisted that Gary consider purchasing the whole resort for his business. It was perfect for the setting and the land was perfect for it with the large, picturesque pond. After more research and consideration, it was decided that a resort-type establishment would work very well for this type of business.
Once Gary purchased the resort, he was given 30 days to move all 11 cabins as they were preparing for construction on the twin homes. In the month of September, 2002, all 11 cabins were moved over to the farm. There was more time given for the lodge, which was moved over in February of 2003.
In fall 2003, the doors were opened and Gary had the first set of hunting groups at his new resort: Black’s Pheasant Fields. His mother and father, Lila and Clifford Black, were a big part of the early years at Black’s Pheasant Fields. Lila did the cooking and Clifford drove the bus to and from the fields. Gary and Jim guided hunts but no longer had to clean the birds. As the business grew, the staff did as well. Today we have an amazing staff: Bonnie Noem cooks all the delicious meals and helps run the office, her son, Haaken Phelps, handles the maintenance of the facility. Jim Noem can still be found guiding hunts or driving the bus.
Over the years there has been a lot of updates made to Black’s Pheasant Fields. In 2005, the cabins were re-sided making them the more rustic, wooden cabins we know today. A playset was also added out front for the summer guests who bring their children on reunions. The cabins have been updated twice since 2005, the first being additions of large open decks with a view of the pond on cabins 5 through 8. The second, started in 2017, was enclosing those decks to create larger cabins with beautiful wood interiors.