Ken Cassens

Ken Cassens

Bart Pfankuch, Journal staff

When Ken Cassens decided to transform his traditional Edgemont cattle ranch into a hunting lodge and resort, there were a few hurdles he had to cross.

First, he needed some cabins. So to make his resort special, he went to Dewey, S.D., disassembled a 110-year-old log cabin and rebuilt it on his property on Elk Mountain. To make it sturdy, he labeled each log as he took the cabin apart, and then reattached each log in exactly the same place it had been before.

Then he had to breed or buy some elk, deer and bison to present trophies to hunters who spend roughly $7,000 to harvest a trophy animal after a three-day hunt.

Once he was set up, he then had two more things to learn. "I had to learn how to cook and to B-S," Cassens, 65, said from his vendor booth on the second floor of the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center on Thursday.

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But the few gents who stopped by to visit with Cassens would probably argue that he had the B-S part down pat long before he opened the Wishbone Outfitters resort, which he now runs with his son.

Cassen's vendor spot is easily recognizable, due to the giant elk mount positioned at its entrance. Doing double duty, Cassens is not only pitching his hunting outings, but also representing the South Dakota Elk Breeders Association.

People buy elk to stock their land, to raise them for meat, or for hunting purposes, Cassens said. "We don't offer them as house pets," he pointed out.

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