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muc33

Horrible Pheasant Forcast for SD, NW Iowa, Nebraska and SW MN

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This is the weather that can severely damage a pheasant population. Freezing rain is now upon us and snow packed behind in the forcast. This is sad news. I can only hope it is not as bad as they are forcasting.

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Its already horrible out there muc33. A lot of the cover we were in deer hunting this weekend was already in very bad shape due to the snow/wind. Its going to be a very bad winter if things don't change dramatically and PDQ too!

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I hear ya bud, today is not good, we got a half inch coating of ice here by Worthington and now the snow is falling. That wind of the last two weeks has blown down a lot of cover. But that can provide some good burrowing shelter, as long as they don't get froze into it.

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I caught a rooster with my bare hands last weekend and the dogs caught many birds as well. Sunday night when the storm broke birds where picking grain in the fields and they were like zombies. We had already limited out but could have shot another dozen from these lethargic flocks. One bird seemed almost tame.

I count on my native prarie to have enough cover with weed seed under the snow to help them ride it out, but this is a killer week. It didn't help that it was so warm so late and then turned cold overnight. The birds we shot didn't have there winter coat fully developed yet.

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No way. This weather may have a small localized impact (killing a few birds) but minimal impact on the population as a whole - most birds are in very good shape right now.

What will be a factor is - if we do not get a thaw in the next week or two or if we get into a nasty repetitive cycle of bad weather.

Native prairie is not winter habitat in a "normal" MN winter. Better have some cattails or big willow swamps in the section.

Maybe the lethargic / dumb birds you saw have never seen a human before - hiding in the corn all fall ....

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The birds the dogs were catching were young of the year, mostly hens, that had been buried or tunnelled under drifts of snow in native prarie. They were in pockets that had melted sides telling me they were in the same place long before we got there.

You're right about most native praire not being the preferred late season winter cover. It acts like a snow catch and fills in quickly. My birds spend most of the cold in the cattails,but early in the season they tunnel all over the praire and eat seeds of all kinds. Cleaning birds this weekend we saw lots of little black seeds and way less corn than usual telling me they were hunkered down for a couple of days eating in the grass. They didn't come out on sat. evening as they usually do on the farm.

When we saw them on Sunday at 4.00p they were coming out of the grass and feeding in the picked field. We drove the truck right next to them and even turned around before ons longtail rooster even bothered to get out of the way.

The bird in the area are usually very skittish by this time of year and they were just acting differently-like I said lethargic. Driving home across th 30 we saw similar flocks near each piece of native cover. Lots of big roosters still out there in Murray and Cottonwood co.

I have all the confidence most will do well, but I'm also sure some of these late hatch birds are dead under the drift, they just didn't have the feathers.

The thing I hate to see the most is an ice storm covered by deep snow followed by cold. The birds spend to much time out in the open breaking through to the frozen corn and preditors take a toll. It doesn't look like this storm will give us the deep snow nor the bitter cold.

Once the birds get aclimated they usually do fine but some young and dumb birds fall to the first big storm every year.

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Hunted deer in SW MN this past weekend and found a lot of the same things you did. The 25 mph winds along with the rain, and then wet snow really did a number on the CRP. What was once waist high or better was now knee high or lower with a crust over the top. Tough walks in between the heavier cover. This will separate the boys from the men when it comes to Rooster shooting and Rooster hunting betwen now and the end of the season. Worst thing for the hunters was the canopy of snow that formed over the cattails. Saw some birds running over the top of it after Duey chased them through the tunnels. They would pop up, take a quick look aroung and then run to beat the band until they dropped back down. Duey would come back and look at me with that " I don't know where it went? " He did get his revenge on two Roosters, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. Heard the chase under the cats and fully expected the Rooster to come busting out. Both of them must have run into dead ends, much to Dueys delight. Both came out heads up looking around, with Duey's jaws clamped lightly around the wings.

Late Saturday afternoon, saw three roosters feeding in a picked corn field, absolutely oblivious to anything but eating. Son ran out there to see how close he could get, a little quicker and he could have had two, one in each hand. Only one of the three flew. Never seen that before, and this was on a WMA, so it was not like they had not been hunted before.

We could use a 3-4 day stretch of sunshine and 45-50 temps, melt the snow and start over again. The area I hunted also had a fair share of corn left. Lots of geese and ducks down there also. I felt that pheasant numbers were about the same as last year in the area that I hunt. Will be back for a December hunt.

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I'm not sure either about this weather hurting the population. Found most pheasants hunkered down in the thick-tall natural grass this past Sunday. While pushing some deer I found a ton of roosters in the drainage ditches and cricks. The smart birds know where to find cover.

In fact, our several acres of CRP was somewhat short on roosters. I'm not sure why - maybe they moved into the neighboring slough?

Then again, I heard there was some nasty weather down in the south-western part of the state today.

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My comments to be clear are about the freezing rain and then snow we recieved today. Not last week, not the past month, today. Wet Wet Wet and freezing temps, disaster for pheasants. I have found more frozen dead birds than any other kind.

I am not in here to find an argument, just stating my past findings.

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Let's hope Accuweather is correct. Their forecast for Worthington is: Wed - High 42 / overnight Low 31 and Thursday - High 42 (with a shower) / overnight low 31. Then Friday and Saturday cooler for the highs, but above freezing (mid 30's).

If it is really 42 with a shower on Thursday that should take care of the ice and snow. If cooler than that, it could be more concern.

It is still really early and things could change (nice warm up), but if that does not happen. It could be really bad. I guess the good news is that if any of the standing corn is harvested after the ice, any waste grain should be easily accessible to the birds (sitting on to of the ice crust).

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I don't think we need to panic. It's only real bad when you get rain and then plumitting temps. Friday is going to be cold but like lovenlifeguy said, tomorrow will warm up a bit.

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Nov08198-1.jpg

Nov08192.jpg

Here's the dogs less two water spanials and the birds. Do not adjust your screen the first pick is an accurate representation of our orentation after all the wind and cold.Hans

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Thanks guys. Shu, I see from the number of post that you are relatively new or don't post often. Where are you from and how often do you get down?

Uplander, how did it go during the week. I'm heading down tonight and plan to hunt deer in the morning and birds during the day again. I only have one dog this week so I seriosly doubt I'll post another banner pic, but hopefully the weather will be better-or then again it was the weather that had the birds holding so tight. ?Hans

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Only went out for about an hour this week right around home...nothing at all. Going out on Monday like I said down by Owatanna/Waterville. Can't wait . 4 guys 3 veteran setters and my back up springer incase we have to dig em out. I'll let you know on Tues. Hopefully we have some good pics to post.

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Shu    1

Hi Hans,

I don't post here much, just stop in once in a while. I live in Scandia and have been going down there for quite a few years. I usually stay there with a buddy and hunt divers off the lake. Good luck this weekend!

Dave

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I was down by Atwater last weekend hunting the WPA's to get away from the deer hunters and did pretty good. Wife went with me for the first time and got to see the dog work. She shot at three roosters and didn't hit any but I did get one clean up shot. One good thing was that in just a couple of hours of hunting we must have put up 30 plus hens.. Thats always a good site. I am hoping for a little fresh snow tonight and looking forward to going tomorrow.

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just got back from a duck, buck and rooster hunt around the Mankato area. We saw the most roosters ever on our private land. A ton of this years birds the hatch was great. We limited out in about two hours and missed a ton before. They were holding mostly in tall switch grass and willow patches along the rivers. They held perfect for my lab to fushem and our friends pointing lab to point and pounch. All in all no ducks everything is frozen, deer hunting is over and our party went fifty percent with a feww small bucks passed on and now its time for a month and a half of pure rooster hunting. I want some snow so we can see some rooster angels after take off.

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I hope more than 4 guys were hunting... The limit in MN is two birds per day... Probably a good idea to post how many were hunting.

Must be lots of birds in your area... Great to see...

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Weather won't hurt the SD birds, barely any snow around redfield area. We were out to fill some doe tags on SD opener. Went out for pheasant opener, saw a ton of birds, but I prolly could of had my limit today If I had a pocket full of rocks. Pulled up into an old farmstead next to a slough and a windbreak surounded by picked corn and we had pheasants flyin around the truck while we were outside discussing what to do next. There were over 150 birds that got up around that slough and there were a good 70 roosters. I walked through tryin to kick a doe that went into the belt and kicked another 20 roosters out as I went. Almost got sick of seein them, too bad I didnt have the 12ga with. The neighbors dog did grab a bird someone had winged and we brought that home with us. I think they'll be fine in SD...

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I hunted last weekend and was hampered by the high winds. The few birds we put up were easily missed as they rocketed down wind. We were shut out for the weekend. Far cry from two weekends ago when we limited out two of three days

Twenty five less roosters on the farm from the week before had a little to do with it as well, but even the hot spot public spots weren't giving up the birds like the weekend before.

I hope others faired better-but that wind was brutal. Hans

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