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TylerS

Season is fast approaching

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So who is planning to make the big trip to Nodak to hunt this fall? Lots of opportunities and prospects look promising across the board. 

I'm particularly looking forward to my first early-season sharp-tailed grouse hunt/camping trip. Haven't been after those rascals for a few years, so I'm due. Just hope they're still in their old haunts. Would be a nice surprise to see their numbers up again. 

Otherwise ducks and geese are in the crosshairs very soon. Another banner year awaits! Should be a good one.

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we are heading to Alsen area north of Devils Lake towards the end of October for ducks.  Hunted up there last year and had a ball.  I loved hunting in the am and then dinking around in the local small towns during the day and heading out for the evening shoot.  Can't beat that stuff.

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Sounds like a blast! I prefer a morning duck shoot followed by afternoon sharpies and then an evening cocktail with something from the grill. But hitting up the local watering holes is good sport, too.

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I don't drink before the evening hunt for sure.  After yes and we eat like horses.  Last year we had prime rib, turkey dinner, and Italian night the three nights we were there.  I'm the cook, I don't like cleaning.

It's fun having not a care in the world driving around during the day.  Last year we couldn't find the right kind of chew in Munich, ND and a guy at the store heard our problem.  He said he was driving to some bigger town that may have it and he'd drop it off at the place we were staying.  I gave him money and said to keep the change.  When we got back from the hunting that night the chew was in a bag with the change.  Gotta love that kind of stuff.

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There's just a different breed of folk in Podunk, ND, that's for sure. Then again, you get both sides of the spectrum. Just depends. But by and large I've met more of the former than the latter. 

Well good luck during your trip! I'll be sticking within proximity to Fargo for most of the year. Lone exception will be a western rooster road trip in mid November. Love me some frostbite and feathers!

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I'll be making my annual pilgrimage back home for a week of pheasant hunting in October but this year my second week of hunting will be focusing on fur rather than feathers as I finally drew a buck tag after about six years of applying.  My GSP won't be happy about that.  Maybe I'll get lucky and get the deer out of the way early so she can still get some bird chasing in.

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Way to go LMIT! What zone do you hunt? I've been stomping 2F1 since 2002. Deer numbers are way down, but I pulled a flat-top tag this year after not getting one last year. 

I'm with you on "getting the deer out of the way" so you can focus on birds. I allocated ONE weekend a year to venison procurement. That's about all I can stand to spare with two GWPs and plenty of bird-choked cover to explore. 

Good luck this fall, and let us know how you do!

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Looks like Pheasant Numbers are up again this year as well:

 

Game and Fish Summarizes Pheasant Brood Data

North Dakota’s roadside pheasant survey conducted in late July and August indicates total birds and number of broods are up statewide from 2014.

Stan Kohn, upland game management supervisor for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said the survey shows total pheasants are up 30 percent from last year. In addition, brood observations were up 23 percent, while the average brood size was up 9 percent. The final summary is based on 259 survey runs made along 105 brood routes across North Dakota.

“Our late summer roadside counts indicate pheasant hunters are going to find more birds in the southern half of the state this fall, with the southwest having the strongest population of young roosters,” Kohn said. “Hunters will also find average habitat conditions on the landscape.”

Statistics from southwestern North Dakota indicate total pheasants were up 34 percent and broods observed up 31 percent from 2014. Observers counted 25 broods and 207 birds per 100 survey miles. The average brood size was 6.2.

Results from the southeast show birds are up 27 percent from last year, and the number of broods up 21percent. Observers counted eight broods and 62 birds per 100 miles. The average brood size was 5.5.

Statistics from the northwest indicated pheasants are down 18 percent from last year, with broods down 32 percent. Observers recorded six broods and 46 birds per 100 miles. Average brood size was 6.3.

The northeast district, generally containing secondary pheasant habitat, with much of it lacking good winter cover, showed two broods and 15 birds per 100 miles. Average brood size was 4.3. Number of birds observed was down 17 percent, and the number of broods recorded was down 7 percent.

The 2015 regular pheasant season opens Oct. 10 and continues through Jan. 3, 2016. The two-day youth pheasant hunting weekend, when legally licensed residents and nonresidents ages 15 and younger can hunt statewide, is set for Oct. 3-4.

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Yeah, I'm hoping this weather cools down soon.  I was in ND late last October when it was 84 degrees one day.  Not ideal hunting weather!  The extended forecast issued by the NWS today shows "above average" temps for the next two months.  That doesn't bode well for deer hunting, either.  

Regardless of the weather (barring rain), I've got my PLOTS book already and will be ready to roll in 30 days for roosters.  But who's counting.  ; )

I'll be in 2J1 looking for my buck.

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Oh I hear ya LMIT. Weather here is insane. I've had snow in early October and temps in the 70s on deer opener in early November. Then, over night, temps drop 40 degrees and winter is here. Literally can happen in the blink of an eye. 

Last year was the perfect example. Day of deer opener, I drove to our spot. On the way I found tons of fields loaded with ducks and geese. Big freeze hit Saturday night. Ponds iced over. Birds left (well, a majority). 

You really gotta keep an eye on the forecast, no matter what you're after!

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Ya...no way I'm hunting roodies until the crops come down and the temps drop. I don't find the excitement in chasing them this time of year. Too much competition and too much cover (corn mostly). Good thing is the farmers are hitting it hard (rained yesterday so that'll stop them for a few days). 

But enjoy yourself! I'll be out that way in November when things freeze and everyone else is too cold to go outside. Best time of the year by far!

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Usually do two trips, opener and late nov, dec hunt.  Fortunate to have no pressure from others all private for me.  I am very fortunate.  

 

I hunt private and public. I just don't get my jollies watching my dogs overheat in the first 30 minutes of a hunt. Out west you'll be fine with crops (corn acres are much fewer than years past, thank God) but where I hunt there are plenty still standing. You'd be lucky to find a ring-neck in the grass this time of year with standing corn nearby. 

I bet you'll have a blast out there. I did opener a few years ago in the far SW corner of ND (all private) and it was a hoot and a half. Wish there was more PLOTS out there...I'd make more than one trip a year. 

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Had a great time as usual!   filled up everyday, hunted near water on warm days.  With the wind blowing 40-60mph was very interesting to say the least.  Cant wait to get back

They say the birds are down?  I didnt notice, I thought there was more than usual.  We usually have to work much harder than we did.  

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Hmmmm, I am sure I read somewhere the nw side was down 18 percent 

I stand corrected. The brood surveys did indicate an 18 percent decrease in NW ND, however overall the state was up 30 percent. 

Still, even for being down, the NW still had the second-highest density of birds per 100 miles, and it's brood count average was No. 1 in the state. That's probably why you saw as many birds as you did: good recruitment from a strong hatch. 

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Just got back from the central part of the state.  It was too hot to hunt pheasants past noon or 1 as the temps tipped upper 60's and even lower 70's one day.  We got our birds but we needed to work for them as there is still plenty of corn and sunflowers left up.  There was not much for ducks around.  The locals left already and nothing new has come down.  We found only 2 groups of mallards going 20 miles in any direction.  One was feeding on posted hunting club land and someone else beat us to the other group.  We still did one field hunt nearby and pulled in a couple of birds but when the first couple of 20-30 bird flocks go down in one area - they all seem to follow.  We still had a great time.  We enjoyed the scenery, hunted hard when it was cooler and loafed when it got hot.  It was a bittersweet hunt for me as it was my first hunt without my own dog in about 12 years.  It's still fun watching the other dogs (including my dog's sister) but it is not the same as shooting a bird over your dog.  We all got together on Sunday overlooking our favorite coulee, lit cigars, opened a beer, and threw ashes into wind and told "Jack" stories. 

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fivebucks, sorry to hear about your pooch. I know you probably aren't ready, but they say the best way to mellow the loss of a hunting buddy is to get another one. There's something about a pup that eases the sting a bit. 

As for hunting, your report is on par with everything I've heard as well. I think there are pockets of ducks around, but they're either on posted property or you have to sleep in the field to "win" it away from the other rigs...and even that's no guarantee they won't set up 100 yards away. The game has changed, sad but true. 

Anyone coming to Nodak should consider bringing field AND water setups. I know we're a great state to decoy mallards in corn stubble, but you didn't come all this way to birdwatch. Get beat to a field or can't find one? Hunt some state land with water. At least you're hunting, and water always is a safer bet than just setting up in some field that hasn't been used. 

Weather lately has NOT been conducive to migration. Too warm and too stable, and the 10-day forecast is for much of the same. If you have a flexible schedule and can plan your hunt, I'd keep an eye on the first good snow of the season and zip up at a moment's notice. Even into Canada the weather has been mild, and friends hunting in MB and SK are still piling up birds...birds that will need to wing this way eventually. 

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Thanks Tyler.  I do plan on a new pup come April.  I wasn't sure while Jack was still around but after a day or two later I knew I wanted another.  We did bring floaters and waders and had one water hunt that got us some shooting but due to low water the cattail cover was 20 yards from the water so it made for longer shots.  I burned both my waterfowl seasons going zone 2 & 3 rather than spending extra on a statewide license so it is only NoDak pheasants for me if I make it back out.  Never managed to do that the last 10 years though so not optimistic.  Good Hunting to those heading to NoDak.

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