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Our story


Founder of Dakota 283, Greg Cronkhite has been perfecting the way we view pet protection for 45 years. 

Hello and welcome. My name is Greg Cronkhite and I am the founder of Dakota 283. It has been a 45 year pilgrimage to provide you with unparalleled pet protection for your best friends. We are excited about our story because it is close to many of your stories. After all, it really is about your story, your dogs, and your experiences.

In 1972 as a kid living in Northern Illinois my Dad informed me that we had been invited to hunt pheasants in northern Iowa. I had been hearing stories about the great grouse hunting in northern Minnesota for years but had no idea what this pheasant-hunting thing was all about. I was 10 years old and it was a chance to be with the Family.  I was “all in”. Back in those days, none had dogs. I guess that my Father did not want to feed a dog all year since when he would only have it working a couple weekends a fall…think of all the cost of food! He did live through the depression…nuff said. Not having a dog was really was not a big issue back then, Iowa was polluted with pheasants in the early 70’s and you couldn’t walk without stepping on them. My introduction to the world of pheasant hunting was fantastic. What I did not know at the time was that the men of the group were having me tag along since none of them had dogs. They needed someone to dig into the thorn bush draws, the wettest swamps and the thickest fireweeds to flush out the roosters. Once they were flushed out…I had the honor of carrying the bird's while they told me to get back into the thick stuff. 

“Greg ….get back in there!!!”

Little did I know they were making up for not having a dog.  Why did they need a dog all year when they had me!

What an introduction. I loved every minute of it and an upland game hunter was born.

Fast forward 25 years to starting my own plastics processing company (Sterling Technologies www.sterlingtechinc.com) a custom rotational molding company. Rotational molding is the same process used for the high-end coolers that have become so popular as well as kayaks and other products that need high impact properties in low-temperature environments. We developed many thousands of different products from concept to distribution over the years. One of our niches was in the military case arena, which served us well when we wanted to develop our own line of Dakota 283 products as we used tried and true military design requirements in regard to geometry, resin performance and colors to develop our product line.  

In 2011, Jane and I were fortunate enough to purchase a 2500-acre farm in the heart of South Dakota pheasant country. Our research lab is our own backyard and our own dream-come-true. 

While this property was not managed specifically for pheasants prior to our purchase, the previous owners took great pride in developing shelterbelts, establishing CRP and other nesting areas and providing food for wildlife. It was the perfect storm for the growth of peanuts and the perfect property for a pheasant hunter. Since that time we have added many additional food plots enhanced the nesting areas and have been able to make it one of the best wild pheasant habitats in the state (we also have sharp-tail grouse, “Sharpies” and Prairie Chicken,“chickens”). Check us out at www.cronkhitefarm.com

Our products are tested in the field, and they are products that we created for our own lives that we are truly proud to have by our sides and provide to other hunting and outdoor enthusiasts — but most importantly, those looking for the best products to protect their pets. We choose these products because we HONOR THE HUNT.

In 2013 Dakota 283 is created. Dakota (since we now lived in South Dakota and 283 since we live on 283rd Ave. Simple but effective. We thought it would be way cool to develop a product line near and dear to the heart for our dogs. I am a lab owner and I was tired of buying low end two piece end crates that would end up in pieces in the back of my truck after 30 days.  We decided to take our historic plastic processing knowledge and marry it up with our dog and hunting experience to develop our first products. We focused on the upland game and waterfowl hunter with a vault and kennel system that was placed in the back of an SUV or pickup called the Badlands Vault combo. Very cool product and a must have for the serious upland or waterfowl hunter.

Once we started the process there was no turning back. Since the original introduction, we have 3 generations of kennels developed along with various accessories and derivatives of the kennel. We continue to test at the proving grounds  (Cronkhite Farm) and listen to people like you that love the products and want to see us evolve into even better-performing solutions to pet protection.

Our goal is to protect your pet we will continue to get better and better with every progression the product line. If you like what you see, consider becoming a Dakota Hero, and also sign up on our email list so we can send you offers not available to the average dog owner.

If you want to pheasant hunt give us a call we can set you up with a hunt at the proving grounds in South Dakota at the Cronkhite Farm.

We appreciate your business and love serving the dog loving community.  Our goal is to provide you with “Unparalleled Pet Protection” this thought goes into every product that we develop.

Looking forward to providing security for your pets.

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