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2013 pheasant reports


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We'll a new season is officially upon us.

I didn't make out yesterday for our resident opener but got out for an hour before dark this evening. I wasn't overly as eager to go as I usually would be with the bad reports of bird numbers. But I was pleasantly surprised.

After throwing both my dogs in the lake to combat some heat we hit a local public area in what I would consider far from great. I picked an unoccupied piece of land that had harvested crops all the way around it. We had 7 bird encounters 2 roosters and 5 others that I couldn't tell if they were hens or young roosters in about an hours work and ended just as the sun was going down. The 2 birds I brought home were both really really young.

I'm not sure who is more out of shape me or my dogs. I have an 8yr old gsp that had a run in with cancer and a few surgies this summer. He has definitely lost a step but the old gray nose still put me on some birds. He will come around hopefully with some more miles on him. He's at that age where it's pretty hard to do any conditioning.

Not a bad way to start the year for what little hunting we did. Here are some teaser pics to get everyone excited for the big opener next week:

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That's certainly some good news. About the same thing I heard from the mn opener. Look for harvested crops , not real heavy cover and be ready to take a long look at young birds looking for color. Nice job. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have my young dog bred next time she comes in. I will be needing another dog soon, and the young dog is 3already. Heard from 3guys that went west river. Seen hens but no roosters in two days..

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be ready to take a long look at young birds looking for color.

if this bird keeps his mouth shut and doesn't cackle he probably lives to see another day. Once he turned out of the sun he met some #2 shot steel.

not a lot of meat on this one lol

20131013_183035_zpsb863b1d4.jpg

I probably should have passed but the dogs worked it too good to let it fly. Perfect point, back and retrieve.

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Definitely a bit of good news, thanks for the update. I was just about to ask if anyone went out. I am planning to head to north central SD towards the end of the month, hoping crops will be down and that late hatch will have a little more color.

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I know everyone has their own opening day traditions, I didn't make any plans for this year as I wanted to wait for the crops to come out before I hit it hard. I'm out of shape and so are my dogs smile and I just had too much going on at home.

I did go out Sat and Sunday late in the afternoon. Saturday was great weather I had several bird encounters and still ran into lots and lots of young birds, missed some and saw several hens. Didn't bring any home but was good to get some miles on the dogs for just a short hunt.

Sunday it was really windy, I hunted a small piece of private land that still was surrounded by corn. Didn't see any birds out in the crp or food plots but ran the dogs down the end rows of the corn and bumped about a dozen birds and several were roosters. None of them made for a great shot (with the wind out into the corn) so I passed. I will come back and get them when the corn is out.

Did some more scouting and hunted a couple more pieces of public land and missed one easy easy shot. I ended the day with perhaps one of the longest shots of my life and it dropped like a brick. With the wind he was a ways out there. Still saw several birds again so I know they are out there.

I never hunted more than 25miles away from Sioux Falls, far far from great bird areas. I am pleasantly surprised by how many birds I am seeing. It will only get better as the corn comes out.

One last note, always great to put on some miles scouting and pull up to one of these:20131020_165848_zpsd542a5ed.jpg

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Can't read the sign, rundrave... is that supposed to be public land mowed down?

Its just a typical white WIA sign you would see on most any public areas. I am not sure how or why it even has a sign up? Whats the point of making it a WIA? That's an honest question, I am not looking for a debate? Who pays for that land, who farmed and harvested it? It wasnt mowed down, it was a bean field. And if its signed and declared a WIA who gets the benefits of it? We as hunters obviously aren't getting any benefit?

For the record I am totally fine if they planted beans this year, with the intentions to re-seed with grass, crp etc next year. But don't mark it in the hunting book as a WIA so myself and anybody else who wishes to hunt doesn't waste time and fuel scouting or driving to these places.

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The owner of the land is the one that farmed and harvested it. The thing with WIA's is the land is still in control of the landowner to do as they wish with it, just the state pays them to allow the public to hunt it. I believe the rate payed is set basically on habitat quality and usefulness to hunters, so in this case, there was most likely very little payed to the landowner.

As a pheasant hunter having WIA's like this may seem pointless, as a dove, duck, or goose hunter it may have some value. It is frustrating wasting gas to get to WIA's only to see this when pheasant hunting, I wish there was some way the maps could indicate the type of cover present.

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I knocked one down last week. Heard a raucous in the chicken yard and found a large pheasant rooster trying to sodomize my barred rock rooster. Not sure why he picked the only rooster among 10 hens.

Chased him off twice and the third time the ol’ model 11 put an end to his shenanigans.

I haven’t had pheasant in a while. He cooked up pretty dam good. Probably was the only gay pheasant rooster in MN…

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Update on harvest:

Quote:
The federal Agriculture Department says South Dakota farmers have harvested 75 percent of their soybean fields, and the harvest is 54 percent complete in North Dakota. Both crops were fully harvested by this time last year.

The corn crop harvest in South Dakota is 31 percent complete, and North Dakota's corn harvest has reached 14 percent. Both are lagging behind last year's pace and the five-year average.

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Any gut feeling if corn will be out by Nov 1 out there?

what area are you going to be in? Honestly I only saw a few combines out over the weekend not sure why there wasn't more. But by Monday they were out everywhere, here in the SE part of the state. I honestly dont have a clue what West or Northern parts of the state look like for harvest.

Its been pretty wet this week with a good portion the of the state seeing moisture of both rain or snow. No one area got a lot of precipitation but it was definitely enough to delay harvest.

Its supposed to remain dry now for the rest of the week I believe, but I don't see any warm temps in the forecast to dry things out.

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just got a txt and some pics from some guys up in Gettysburg, SD who hunted private land.

Landowner hasn't even touched corn yet. Still lots of sunflowers and beans in, said they have had 7inches of rain in the last month.

He said Monday and Tuesday were slow. But they were done early yesterday and today. Said birds were no where to be found on the first 2 days but they got a few. But then yesterday they had several "SD moments" where they saw hundreds of birds.

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Just got back. Two guys, one dog. Had a good first day, limit by 3pm with grilling lunch in between hunts. All private. Second day was tougher, seems like more hunters than I have seen in the past which was surprising given the low bird numbers. We got 4, but saw decent numbers of birds. The 3rd day was really tough, wind was howling and we just were not seeing many birds at all, the ones we did see were skiddish. Only got 1 bird. Farmers were combining corn, but I'd say over 2/3 was still standing. Only tried a few pieces of public land that had been good to us in the past and I don't think we even saw a bird on public. In all a good trip, but I sure hope the birds find a way to rebound.

Talked to a few farmers who hunt and they said if you were getting 2 birds per day per guy you were doing good.

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thanks for the report, I will finally be getting out to hunt the birds hard and will be in the Huron area starting tomorrow til Sunday.

Hoping there was a mad dash to get some crops out before the snow/rain that came through yesterday.

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Crazy weekend of hunting for me. Thursday and Friday were fantastic done with limits after a couple hours of hunting each day. All birds taken on public land, and I'm embarrassed to say I probably missed a couple limits also, very very poor shooting. Was very frustrated with myself. I should have been done by 11 each day. I missed super easy shots but was dead on the more difficult ones. Same thing for downed birds, had a couple that folded and dropped like a brick right at the dogs feet only to get away. Then there were others I thought were long gone and the dogs made a long track and found the downed bird. Hardly saw another vehicle on public lands. What was even more bazar was that rooster to hen ratio was probably about 3 to 1, lots of young birds still seeing roosters with not much color to them yet.

Saturday I took up an offer to party hunt on some private land which turned out to be bust. Was too windy and I wasn't enjoying walking unpicked corn rows with my pointers. Saw a lot of birds but they were really spooky and we just couldn't get close to them. Did manage to take out a coyote though. I decided to separate from the group I was with after one of my dogs got sprayed by a skunk.

I hit a couple pieces of public on the way home and bagged 2 birds and called it an early day to take care of the smelly dog.

This morning I hunted alone with my dogs and had trouble finding unoccupied public land to walk. Lots of hunters out everywhere. First place I found wasn't until about 11am. Right off the bat walked into one of those famous Sd moments where the sky just goes black and watched bird after bird flush. I was so taken back and in shock I didn't even get a shot off. Missed a couple long shots and set off for another place to walk. At this point in time it was getting pretty warm and the last few days was starting to take its toll. I set out for another piece of public I figured wasn't being hunted and I was right. Again right off the bat we had another big flush of double digit birds. This time there was no hesitation but I missed an easy double. Put one bird in my vest and called it a day.

Few observations from the weekend:

-not a lot of crops in near Huron. Head north and west still a bunch in

-really wet up that way lots of water in areas that are usually dry. Despite the drought again this summer

- it takes lots of loading and reloading to kill a coyote with a o/u lol. saw 3 total all weekend

- did not see a single deer at all the entire weekend

- I'm out of shape and so are my dogs

- skunks smell bad!

I'm beat and both dogs and I will sleep good tonight. Gonna rest up and wait for some more crops to come out. Small pieces of water had some ice this morning. Once some of these potholes freeze birds will be much easier to get to. Give me some cold temps and a light dusting of snow and I'll be set.

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Nice report Dustin,

I know that alot of phez fall to food plots and corn fields, but its just not my style, nor does it work well for my dogs.. Gimme some open fields, and Ill be happy with just a few birds, rather than the big flushes..

Im just back from 6 days also. came home with 3 short of my 5 day total. Lost one. Didnt hunt hard, Had a great time..

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crop update:

Quote:

South Dakota's soybean, corn and sorghum harvest is about where it normally is this time of year, despite the recent rain and snow in some parts.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service says the soybean harvest is around 97 percent complete. Roughly 79 percent of the corn crop is out of the field. And the sorghum harvest is about 81 percent complete.

All three crops were out of the field by this time last year.

The sunflower harvest is about 52 percent complete, well behind average.

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