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2017 Pheasant reports

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Only made it out for one day for resident opener this last weekend but we had a great hunt. Took the day off and got out yesterday and battled the heat. I almost chose to call it quits early but went slow and took our time but had to take lots of breaks in the field. It was 74 degrees out and if I found water the dog got dunked.

Was pretty slow day didn't see a single bird or shoot my first bird until 3:30pm. Ended up shooting all 3 of my birds in the same WIA in the span of an hour. Dog pointed a group of 3 hens in the same spot and then another by itself. Went about 30 yards further and dog locked up. Flushed bird it was rooster and dropped it on the first shot. As I shot 2 other roosters got up in gun range. With just one shell left in my O/U I rushed a shot going for a double, doh. Focused on where downed bird went down and sure enough another rooster gets up in the same spot it went down. Rushed both shots thinking it was the same bird I already knocked down. doh x2

Fortunately dog was able to retrieve first bird so was nice to put one in the vest for our first bird of the year. Took a water break and regrouped as that was a lot of excitement in a short amount of time and dog was overheated. Sat there for about 20 mins and let dog catch his breath. Started working field again and we no more and got started and dog locks up. Flush bird and its a rooster and he only needed one shot before he folded. Retrieved to hand and continued on.  

Continue working to end of the property and saw a few more hens and one other rooster that I didn't want to drop over the water and thick cattails. He didn't fly far and hoped to get him on the way back as we walked side we hadn't covered yet.

Dog locked up again on the other side and I let the bird get out a ways. Dropped it on the first shot and figured we were done for the day as it folded hard. It ended up being a runner and took off straight for the mud and thick cattails. We tried to track it, found some feathers so thought we were right on it. But once the dog got buried deep in the thick stuff it was just too warm. No scent going through there and he was getting way too overheated so I called him off the track. 

We did end up getting our 3rd bird of the day with another nice point and retrieve. Was a good day to be out despite the heat. I spend the rest of the day scouting out other areas to hunt. Put about 350 miles on the truck and other than that one walk didnt see anything else. Did shoot a couple coons though and found a great set of antlers. 

Unfortunately I forgot to bring my gopro and only took a couple pics.

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saw a few combines out last night taking beans out on my way home from work. Took dog for a run and saw a couple more. Based on the ruts left in the field probably going to be a while yet before they really get going on harvest. Ground is still pretty wet and soft. We are supposed to get more rain this weekend in the eastern half of the state so hopefully they get get a bunch of stuff out of the fields these next couple of days.

I have heard that in the northern areas, brown county, potter county etc where the drought was really bad they probably wont even harvest and just leave a lot of stuff in the fields until insurance can look at it. Those that have something to harvest got just enough rain late in the season that they may be able to salvage something but don't see them harvesting anytime soon.

Good luck to those going out this weekend I probably wont end up going. I just prefer cooler temps mainly for the dog. I shot 3 birds earlier this week so scratched the itch. I am gonna get things done around the house and wait for more crops to come out and cooler temps before I really start hitting it hard. 

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any reports from the weekend? Looked like the rain moved out before noon on Saturday but was windy both days. I never do well in wind but from people I talked to looks like a lot people at least shot some birds. I don't know how numbers were looking compared to previous years and I am sure its hard to say for sure with all the corn in. 

So lets here some reports? Where did you hunt? Public or private land? How many birds did you get and see?

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Here is crop harvest updates, still way behind:

Quote

The federal Agriculture Department says in its weekly crop report that the soybean harvest now is 81 percent complete.

The corn harvest is at 19 percent done, the sorghum harvest at 21 percent and sunflowers at 32 percent.

Finally getting some cooler temps. And even snow for later this week in North and Eastern parts of the state. 

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made it out yesterday. Had 2 roosters in my vest by 10:30am, both young birds hardly any tail feathers on them. Didn't see much of anything else the rest of the day. Both hens and roosters were hard to come by. Was nice and calm early and then wind picked up. Hunting solo and with just one dog it was hard to get those birds to fly. Would see a couple flush wild way ahead but they would sit right back down and just run.

I hunted around Hutchinson county which far from what I would call prime destination pheasant hunting area. Saw trucks from all over, Georgia, Kentucky, etc. I like to hunt these areas because its a challenge and any bird baggedis a treasure and usually not many people to compete with on public land. But lots of hunters out and about yesterday. I got to one spot at 9:30am and it already had 2 vehicles waiting for 10am so I had to drive around until I found another with nobody on it. 

It seems like after that first walk it just becomes a big game of roulette from where to go next. Seen some of the same vehicles 4-5 times throughout the day all coming and going different directions as I looked for other places to hunt. Some of those guys working stuff I already walked and I am sure I did the same thing.

Saw a really small WIA with not much cover and most of it was bailed hay but the corn right next to it was being combined. So I stopped and parked in the approach and took a snack break and listened to some football. I watched 2 combines take out row after row until the last row was left and we set out towards them on the WIA only to find an orange army on the other side of the fence  picking off birds in front of the combine. Oh well that's how it goes sometimes lol.

Looking forward to some more crops coming out, cooler weather and less fair weather hunters!

 

 

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Braved the wind today and man did it have a bite to it.

tried some new areas north of Huron today and it was brutal.  3 hens is all I had for bird encounters today. Saw a lot of  roosters along the road. none that offered any shooting options that wouldn't keep me out of trouble lol.

I know the bird numbers were projected low but today was one of the slowest days of hunting I have had in my 30years of doing this.

Not much for corn in at all. But what I found most shocking is the number of walk in areas that are just worthless for cover. I know drought was bad but a large majority of the areas I saw today were all mowed down. Not just thin but perfectly cut. Just isn't any cover out there for the birds to nest let alone stay warm for winter.

gonna try some different areas tomorrow and hope for better results.

 

 

Also for all you waterfowlers that strong south wind today has tons of birds stacked up in the Jim river valley. Saw thousands all over and most water was iced over but I lost track of many times I saw this today:

 

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What a difference a day makes. Only took a couple hours to shoot my limit today all on public land. Also got one of my favorite photos ever today:

 

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made it out Sunday morning for a quick hunt. Had to get back for some family things so didn't hunt long. Bagged 2 roosters both really young birds but held for nice points.

Will try to get some go pro videos edited and uploaded in the coming days. Its so hard to get good video, and I prefer not to be recording every second. So usually I just wait for dog to start acting birdy or go on point before I start recording. And sometimes I just completely forget.

Week of warm mild weather coming this week. Guessing I wont be walking on any ice again for a while to get at some birds. I want snow and cold then the hunting gets really fun.

Also here is a pic that shows how dry things are in the area. I bet about 90% of the walk in areas I drove too all looked similar to this:

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When numbers are low every bird on public land is a trophy:

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Seldom appreciate how hard these dogs work. This was just after tracking and finding a downed bird in some thick cattails. Face full of cattails and feathers

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Obligatory tail gate pick:

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he is one short video from the weekend, this is really about the only one that turned out and also  make sure to watch in 1080p.  

As I go back and replay this it was a questionable shot. Had I been hunting over someone else's dog I wouldn't have take the shot. But had I waited I don't think it would have cleared my dogs head for a shot until it was too far away so I quickly fired once. Had I missed on that first shot I wouldn't have shot again.

 

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Some handlers that run pointers do steady to wing and shot. Once they go on point they need to be steady to the flush and the shot. Its also needed for AKC senior and master hunt tests.

I personally don't do it with mine though.

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I finally got my new Cocker Spaniel out on birds this weekend and he got in his first flushes and finds. I have been too busy with work this year and really fell behind training but he has done potential.

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made it out a few times over the long holiday weekend around Huron. Friday was super windy so that made it tough. Saturday and Sunday was beautiful out but too warm for the dogs. It was like grand central station everywhere I went. Lots of deer hunters out as well as pheasant hunters. It amazes me how many people you can run into out in the middle of no where. Also please be courteous to farmers and understand they have large equipment moving up and down the roads. If you park 4 vehicles on the road make sure you leave enough room for those combines and large plows to get through. I wont name the blue plates but I saw some get an earful on Saturday lol. Never seen someone run so fast to move their truck.

I managed to a shoot some birds each day. Birds are really starting to get bunched up but getting really wild. Had a hard time getting many birds to sit tight. Its so dry and crunchy they hear you coming a mile away. My go to stealth attacks on hard water were no longer an option with the warm weather. I will say if you can walk areas with water they were holding birds. But this drought is just crazy a lot of water holes and simply dried up.

I really want some snow and cold. Would certainly help with tracking down birds to get some moisture weather it be rain but I would prefer some snow.

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hunted yesterday on public land around the Parkston area. Was looking forward to hunting in the fresh snow. Had a couple other guys lined up to go but they backed out night before. Was a balmy 0 degrees when I left the house and about 14 when hit the fields at 10. Could have used a little more wind to mask our sound. First walk of the day saw about 10 birds but they were spooky and all flushed wild well ahead of us. Would have been nice to have some blockers.

I ended up falling through the ice up to my knees on my first walk and after a change of socks and boots ended up going through the ice again in a different spot a couple hours later. I managed to keep hunting with some extra socks and groceries bags lol in the first set of wet boots that had partially dried out.

Was a pretty slow day only birds that sat tight were hens and hardly saw any roosters anyway. Was a pretty slow disappointing day. Hardly saw any bird tracks in the fresh snow and birds were hard to come by. Lots of hunters out also so it was easy to see if an area had been walked already. Every place I hunted I was the first the visit if I saw tracks I just went to another one. I walked sloughs and cattails, crp and transition areas between crops no matter what I tried just couldn't find any birds. Did see many birds while driving around either. Pretty slow day of hunting from 10am to sundown.

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