For the last 52 years, Purcil Jones has traveled 2,500 miles from Morehead, North Carolina to hunt upland game in the Goodwater area.
The 92-year-old hunter said that the hunting was the reason he came, and he kept returning because of the friendships that he made during the month-long hunting trips in the area.
“I flew up here the first three years with the president of the Bluebell Corporation, and hunted with Les Wilder,” said Jones.
For the other 49 years, Jones drove up the 2,500 miles to hunt upland game. Also, he stays for an entire month while hunting.
“Purcil was a big-time quail hunter in North Carolina, and also hunted ducks and geese,” said Bob Cato, who was up hunting with Purcil this year, and has hunted in the area for 29 years.
“It was a real opportunity for him to come up and see where all the ducks and geese come from,” added Cato. In addition to hunting in the Goodwater area, both also spent time hunting in the Kelvington area.
“You see so much more game and wildlife up here in one day, it is just incredible,” said Cato. “This is definitely the ‘Land of the Living Skies’, it is unbelievable to watch the migration.”
In his own right, Purcil knows a lot of information about hunting ducks and geese. “He knows this country like the back of his hand,” laughed Cato.
“The main attraction for us is the ducks, geese and the upland game, but once you meet the people it is addictive; you want to come back and see them year after year,” said Cato. “We have families who invite us in for dinner. We usually run out of time before attending all the dinners.”
Both Purcil and Bob do their part when the numbers for upland game are low by not hunting, and spend their time socializing with friends in the area during their time here.
Over the years, Purcil has had the opportunity to bring up many other hunters to the area. He recently had his grandson hunting with him for three weeks. “Purcil was instrumental in encouraging other hunters to come up here,” said Cato.
“We have taken farmers and friends, and their children with us on many occasions. We like to introduce upland game hunting to the youth. Surprisingly enough, most of the hunters up here don’t hunt ducks and geese, they are big game hunters.”
The biggest adjustment for the hunters is that there is a season limit of upland game in Saskatchewan. “This year, it was four Sharp-tailed Grouse and 16 Hungarian partridge,” said Cato. These numbers are based on the population each year.
“Years ago, there wasn’t a season limit, but there was a possession limit for every day,” added Cato. He also noted that the waterfowl limits have remained the same for the last 30 years.
Both Purcil and Bob left for South Carolina on Friday, ending their month-long stay.
One of the final stops on their way home was in Redfield, South Dakota for the opening day of pheasant hunting season.
In North Carolina, Jones operated the Camp Morehead by the Sea, a private sailing camp, from 1938-1995. He was married to Helen for 68 years, before her death in 2010.