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rundrave

2016 sd Pheasant reports

24 posts in this topic

I have been doing a little scouting just checking out some areas and trying to find whats wet and whats walk-able with all of the recent rain in the area. Unfortanately that also means a late harvest.

Really ramping up the miles with both dogs and getting some hard conditioning in now that temps are getting a little cooler. Unfortanately with each day we keep losing day light so its getting harder and hard to fit time in with kids, work etc.

Finding birds pretty frequently out roading, I wouldn't say any more or less than what we usually find just while we are running up and down the roads. 

I haven't been able to get out to the grasslands for grouse yet this year, dog in the pic below got nicked pretty bad on his back and I didn't like the way it was healing. Ended up taking him in for surgery to get it cut out and sutered so that set us back in not only on conditioning but hunting as well. Should be all set for pheasant opener though.

photo 313F5085-2227-4085-BBB2-EB2E1F92E839_zpsvob0vh7q.png

Its almost time!

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Bean harvest was in full swing a week ago, now lots of rain for pretty much the entire eastern part of the state over this last week.

resident opener begins today at noon. I will not be going out today or tomorrow unless I manage to find some time just before dark. I did take Monday off from work although its going to be a bit warm. I don't like hunting dogs in anything above 70 but will take it easy and hunt near water if I have to just to get some miles on the dogs.

Good luck lets hear some reports if you make it out.

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My dogs and I walked 2 pieces of public land this evening just before sundown in Turner county. Lots of corn, lots of beans and worst of all lots and lots of standing water. Didn't see, spot or hear a single bird all evening. A few other hunters out I had to drive to a few WIA's to find one that wasnt already occupied. Nice calm wind didnt hear a single shot either from the guys walking neighboring areas.

Hope its just because the crops are still in but man not a good start to the year for this guy. Wont make it out tomorrow, and Mondays weather doesn't look ideal but I will be headed out somewhere regardless.

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great day in the field today with my dogs. I am stoked and happy to report that despite the 70+ degree temps and strong winds we brought home a limit of 3 roosters today. 

We had to go slow and take lots of water breaks as the heat was tough on the dogs. Was pleasantly surprised with how many bird encounters we had and didnt see another hunter out until I was already on the road headed back home for the day. Pretty tough going mid afternoon and it was almost more scouting instead of hunting unless I could get the dogs in some water to cool off. Should have been done way early in the day, but missed some easy shots, just awful shooting on my part. I also dropped a leg on 2 birds so free coyote meal I feel terrible about. 

Hero shot of the dogs:

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265AA53A-4E1F-464F-96FB-5AF7F21703C4_zpslwicl356.jpg

 

PurpleFloyd and smalliehunter like this

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I got some gopro footage of yesterday hunt. Some footaged turned out and some didnt because of the wind or I just started or stopped recording at the wrong time. 

Here is a short clip of one of my dogs tracking a downed bird. Shot this bird as it flushed out to my right. We were going directly into the wind and I think it made it difficult to track. Dropped it on one shot but it took off running back into the thick stuff. We had already been tracking it for some time when I started to record. This was my 3rd and final bird of the day yesterday.

 

 

smalliehunter likes this

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Harvest progress right now according to the local news at noon today is only 20% of corn and 59% of beans are done. We had a good hard freeze last night and some frost and forecast looks dry. Hopefully that will help make some harvest progress.

Some high temps for opening weekend especially Saturday and Monday 75+. If you are hunting dogs be sure they get plenty of water and don't push them to hard. 

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Harvest update as of this morning is looking like beans about 75% complete and corn is still around 30% complete so way behind.

 

Anyone else been out or have any reports to share? I am heading to Huron area Saturday/Sunday and then Pierre area on Mon and Tues.

 

Good luck to those that are heading out.

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Short hunt today because of the heat but managed 2 on a quick sundown hunt 

 

 

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smalliehunter likes this

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just got back home late yesterday after 4 days in a row of hunting. Huron area was really slow. I got 2 birds a day, with at least a chance to shoot my 3 each day but birds were very hard to come by. Still lots of corn in so hopefully that will yield better results late season.

 

One thing that struck me as odd is that I literally didn't see any hunters out ANYWHERE. I hunted in different areas on Saturday and Sunday and I never ran into another hunter or party on public land. That is unheard of in my past experiences hunting public land around Huron in the last 10+ years or so. Even the hotels, restaurants etc are usually loaded with license plates from all over. I hardly saw any at all. I dont know if bird counts turned people away or if there was just a gap from people coming out opening week of the season and hunted 5 days and left. Just struck me as really odd.

 

Monday I headed West and hunted the National Grasslands near Pierre in search of some sharptail grouse and prairie chickens. Was super windy and birds were spooky and we just couldn't find them or get them in gun range. Shot a few pheasants though and ended the day with a porcupine encounter with one of the dogs. I was dreading pulling the quills out but wasn't too bad and thankfully he didn't get very many on his face. Good times I love this area. Saw lots of deer, antelope and prairie dogs and lots and lots of walking.

 

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Tuesday started chasing grouse at sun up and had many more bird encounters with grouse but again windy conditions make it difficult. Radar showed rain coming in the afternoon so got rained out and we just headed east back home and hunted pheasants along the way. Still lots of crops in which didn't yield many results walking WIA's. Did manage to shoot 2 coyotes though. 

 

Sundown golden hour was just awesome lots of shooting and did a little road hunting on the way home. Didnt take many tail gate pics but here are a few.  I am exhausted, put on a lot of miles walking last 4 days. Dogs are tore up and wore out also. Probably take a week or so off and let them heal up. Hopefully some more crops come out and the hunting will get better. 

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bobberineyes likes this

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Getting away for 4 days with the dogs , I'm envious.  Sure shooting birds is the goal but to me that's a bonus, just watching the dogs work in my mind is the best part. We can plan for certain hazards that the dogs might run across but it seems there's always one that a pooch finds. Good work on the coyotes!!

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Updated ag report for 10/27:

Quote

Rain last week hampered the harvest in some parts of central and southeastern South Dakota.

The Agriculture Department says in its weekly crop report that high grain moisture on late-planted corn and soybeans also is slowing progress for some farmers.

The corn and soybean harvests remain behind the average pace, at 47 percent and 89 percent complete, respectively. 

 

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wish I was out hunting right now but put together a few clips from the go pro from the last couple hunts. A few misses (why do they always fly directly right into the sun?) 

 

 

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Harvest update as of 11/03:

Quote

The Agriculture Department says in its weekly crop report that the soybean harvest is 95 percent complete, near the average pace.

The sorghum harvest in the state also is coming to a close, at 90 percent done, ahead of the average. The corn harvest is about two-thirds done and the sunflower harvest about three-fourths complete

 

Corn in my backyard must still be to wet. They started to hit it with the combine yesterday afternoon and just did the end rows. Would be really nice to see some more come out in the near future.

 

Warm temps again the next couple of days, as much as I appreciate the warm dry weather to help harvest could use some cooler temps to let the dogs do their thing. Does look like I will make it out Saturday but I will be itching to get out Sunday before sundown hopefully if its cool enough.

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Harvest update this week is as follows:

Quote

The Agriculture Department says in its weekly crop report that 81 percent of the corn harvest is complete, 89 percent of the sunflower harvest is done and the sorghum harvest is all but wrapped up at 95 percent.

 

I am still seeing some beans in here and there. But what corn is in seems likes its coming out fast. Dry weather is certainly helping things get wrapped up. I have also  witnessed 2 combine fires in the last week so. Just wish it would cool off temp wise. I haven't been out in almost 2 weeks so I am itching to go. Will report how I do this weekend.

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Hunted Sunday morning right at 10am. Quit at 12:30 do due the heat and dry conditions. Was 68 degrees out when I called it and my dogs were struggling. I even took a break and found a stock dam to get the dogs in some water and cooled off. 15 mins later back in the field working cover they were overheated. 

 

Kind of a frustrating day, lots of hens but no roosters in gun range. The birds that we did see were bunched up. First place we walked we saw a ton a birds but I think once it got warm out those birds were out scratching in the fields and not in areas we could walk.

 

And so it goes, sounds like next weekend temps will finally drop and maybe even some snow.

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Well update for anyone with dogs. Dont let them swim in the sloughs or drink water in the dry areas of the state. I have one dog that hasn't eaten in 2 days and just got back from the vet.  I knew something was wrong last night and he just wasn't his normal self. Monday he was fine but if he didnt eat not a big deal and yesterday just got worse.

 

Got him in to the vet first thing this morning and did some blood work etc. Doesn't sound like anything significant and I am thinking its just a bug but white cells were high so hopefully antibiotics will take care of it. Just need to get him eating again and should be all set. 

 

Just been a weird fall and I cannot wait to get a good hard freeze and kill any bugs parasites etc. out there. Shouldnt be a problem after this weekend. Its east river deer opener this weekend so probably wont go out but if we get any measurable snow friday I will be out chasing birds before guys start chasing deer.

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finally feels like hunting season.  Find a piece of ground with flattened grass and good cattail or brushy willow cover and getting birds is pretty easy.  Knee boots pretty much a savior, been flushing plenty of birds in ankle deep water with the snowmelt and rain.

rundrave likes this

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sounds very similar to my hunting over Thanksgiving. I hunted around Huron area and its been pretty dry up there and was good to finally see birds getting bunched up. It was pretty hit or miss, one field could have several birds and another would have zero. Birds were pretty wild but if you took the right approach you could get some good shooting in. 

 

I think I had my biggest "black cloud" flush of pheasants everl. I have been hunting SD since early 90's and I have never seen so many birds flush at one time. 

 

Would be nice to get a good hard freeze to make walking a little more manageable. I am looking forward to some hard water to make sneaking up on birds a little easier. 

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Hunted sunday, monday, tuesday.  4 man limits in 1-2 hours each day, plus some grouse.  west of 281, north of 212.  birds were flushing wild, but we had access to lots of small patches of heavy cover so there was always a few dozen birds that would hold and make for great points for the dogs.  Never saw another group of hunters.  I love hunting in cold weather.

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made it out yesterday 7 birds for 3 guys. hunting was awesome in the morning had a nice 15mph to mask our sound. Birds sat nice and 1 of my GSP's even caught a rooster.

 

About noon wind died completely and it was dead calm. Birds were hard to come by until sundown. Lots of hens just tough finding roosters. I will be out a couple more days this week hoping to keep finding some birds.

 

and here is a video of a deer we rescued that was caught in a fence:

 

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got out yesterday didn't hunt all day. Only 2 of us and my 2 gsp's. Got 2 birds is all. Had a tough time with just the 2 of us keeping the birds from getting out ahead of us. What was soft snow early in the week turned into melted frozen crunchy snow so it made it tough to get close to birds. They were definitely piled up in the cattails. We had lots of bird encounters but the rooster to hen ratio favored hens big time. 

 

Counting down the days to end the season unfortunately. Hope to get out a few time next week before it closes.

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season has closed. Last 2 weeks were way up and down for me. Just hard to get in front of the birds or keep them flushing. Hard icy crunchy snow made it tough to get close but still shot a few birds here and there.

 

Overall I would say this season was below average for birds shot and birds seen. I hunted in 16 different counties all over the state and 90% of that was public. Only real positives I would say were prairie chicken and sharp-tail numbers out west were great but that area has been hit pretty hard with bad weather already this winter so not looking good for next year already.

 

Now the long wait until next fall and start hitting the ice hard.

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