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2014 Pheasant Reports

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Resident opener is tomorrow and goes through Monday. Youth opener was last weekend. The big opener is next Saturday.

Lets use this thread to post reports and pics of our hunts.

I have family obligations Saturday and Sunday but took Monday off to get out and hopefully get some birds.

Safe hunting and good luck to everyone this fall! Its almost time.....

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I got out and battled the wind yesterday which made for some terrible hunting conditions.

I hunted some public land I have hadn't been able to scout yet this year in the SE corner of the state. If I could have done things different I would have got further North and West from where I was.

Still lots of crops in the fields, some beans out and still lots of corn everywhere. We had a pretty wet spring and a lot of the grassy areas in the public walk in areas were full of left over corn stalks etc which tells me they flooded this spring which probably didnt do the birds any favors.

I didnt have as many bird encounters as I would have liked but certainly saw enough to shoot a 3 bird limit. I missed a few, but the number of birds I sawwas far less than what I expected. I hope its due to crops still being in the fields. My dogs and a hard time scenting birds with the strong gusty wind also. I have some great go pro footage I will have to get rendered and uploaded but here are a few pics:

Great WIA area last year, is now a sea of corn:


First bird of the year


Not alot of color on the one young bird yet:


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Here is a detailed report and press release from the SD GFP from over the weekend:

See full story here: http://gfp.sd.gov/news/news/october/18.aspx#sthash.WBHgi1k9.dpuf

details on south dakota's 2014 pheasant opener from across the state

PIERRE, S.D. - With the annual pheasant brood survey up 76 percent (statewide pheasants-per-mile index) from last year, today was filled with excitement for upland bird hunters across the state for the opening day of South Dakota’s traditional pheasant hunting season.

“Today is a day when resident and nonresident hunters, both women and men of all generations, take to the fields and share in an annual tradition,” stated Jeff Vonk, Secretary of the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks. “For many friends and family, it becomes a tradition or ‘holiday’ where more than just field experiences are shared; conversations, meals, ammunition, laughs and comradery are all a part of this opening day.”

Soon after the 2014 pheasant brood survey was released in late August, upland bird hunters from across the country and world began gearing up for this weekend. Survey results showed pheasant numbers rebounded the strongest in central South Dakota; especially in the Pierre, Chamberlain, Mobridge and Winner areas. This year’s results also indicated higher pheasant numbers throughout much of eastern South Dakota as compared to 2013.

Reports from the fields across the state indicate the following:

Central Region, Nathan Baker, GFP regional game manager

For most areas in central South Dakota, hunters averaged 1.5 birds each.

In Hughes, Sully, Potter and Stanley counties, hunters averaged 2-2.5 birds each.

Northeast Region, Jacquie Ermer, GFP regional game manager

In northeast South Dakota, Spink county reported hunters averaging 2 birds each.

In McPherson, Faulk and Edmunds counties, hunters averaged 1 bird each.

There were 12 violations reported at the time of this release in the northeast.

Southeast Region, Julie DeJong, GFP regional game manager

In Beadle, Aurora, Hutchinson and Bon Homme counties, hunters averaged 1-1.5 birds each.

Hutchinson county reported the highest numbers of hunters checked due to the abundance of CREP ground.

Western Region, John Kanta, GFP regional game manager

In Bennett and Perkins counties, hunters averaged 1.5 birds each.

In Ziebach county, hunters were limiting out, with 3 birds per hunter.

There was also one violation for trespassing and one dog death from a snake bite.

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Per the Argusleader here is the latest update on fall harvest:

Recent warm, dry weather helped South Dakota crops mature, but the corn harvest is a bit behind normal.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service says 19 percent of the corn is out of the field, which is below the 45 percent average for this time of year.

The agency’s weekly crop report says 88 percent of soybeans have been harvested, which is ahead of average and also ahead of where the crop was last year.

The fourth cutting of alfalfa was 70 percent done as of Sunday.

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Thanks for the reports. I am thinking of delaying my trip this year because of the late crop harvest. I normally go the last week of October. I am thinking of waiting until the first week of November to allow more time for crops to come down.

When is SD deer opener? I am guess most guys stay out of the pheasant fields during deer hunting?

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May not be a bad idea to hold off, but hopefully this indian summer and warm temps will pass, I don't see them lasting much longer. However I see the 7 day forecast is still on the warm side into the 70's for the Huron area this weekend. I just don't like hunting my dogs in this warm dry weather its just to hard on them. I like hunting late season so much better anyway so I am getting honey do lists out of the way and stock piling a bunch vacation for late season.

As for deer season here are the Season Dates I found here LINKY :

East River Deer - Nov. 22 - Dec. 7, 2014

West River Deer - Nov. 15 - Nov. 30, 2014

I typically hunt public land 90% of the times I am out and I usually don't have any issues with deer hunters. Most deer hunters are out of the public walk in areas by the time we hit the fields. I go out of my way to not walk any public areas that I see vehicle already parked at so I rarely run across them. I just make sure to wear some blaze orange and put some orange on my dogs as well just to be safe.

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I usually hunt out of Aberdeen area. I didn't realize deer doesn't open until Nov 22 in East River. That's a full two weeks behind MN deer opener.

Here in MN I tend to avoid being in the woods and fields during deer season. I'm sure we have a higher concentration of hunters and that's part of it.

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When is SD deer opener? I am guess most guys stay out of the pheasant fields during deer hunting?

Don't let deer season prevent you from hunting during that time frame. with the reduction in rifle tags, there won't be as many hunters out as one might assume. The spot I plan on rifle hunting, I actually hope some pheasant hunters will walk it; the deer tend to sneak out through a draw where I'll be set up.

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The spot I plan on rifle hunting, I actually hope some pheasant hunters will walk it; the deer tend to sneak out through a draw where I'll be set up.

I will help you out where you gonna be lol smile I have actually a seen few deer east river this year already. Much more than I have seen in the past couple years.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here a recap of my hunt the past 3 days in the Huron area:

Friday - balmy 11 degrees in the morning arrived at some public land at 9:30am only to find 3 other vehicles there. Move on to the next area.

First place I walked I immediately realized how dry things are and the grass in some areas was no more than ankle deep. Didnt have many bird encounters but had one rooster hold for a nice point that I missed. Really kicking myself for that one as roosters would be hard to come by as I was about to find out.

Walked a neighboring public piece on the other side of water. Pretty sure we bumped the same rooster I missed before and this 2nd flush resulted in the same result.

Move on to some other land and got one rooster out of some narrow cattails what was easily manageable for just me and 2 dogs. Other than that the rest of the afternoon was a big bust until about 3pm. I walked a huge piece of land and didnt have any bird encounters. Walking a the fenceline back to the truck we flushed 3 hens and 2 roosters. I pulled up on the first rooster and just as he flushed so did the 2nd. My only safe shot with out hitting a hen was to wait for the 2nd one. I dropped him on the first shot after letting all 5 birds get out a ways. Had I played my cards right I could have had a nice double.

Rest of the day was a huge bust until sundown. I know there are lots of birds out there, very little crops in the field. I think the biggest factor was all the other hunters. Every piece I public I walked usually had someone coming or going and it was just non stop all day long.

Could have shot my limit 3x road hunting on the way home. Lots of birds along the roads.

Saturday - greeted with 40mph+ winds I knew it was gonna be tough going. Had a hard time finding any open land to hunt. Even more hunters and vehicles out than Friday. Missed one random rooster early on other wise I didn't have any other bird counters. Put away the gun at 3pm and called it a day.

Sunday - Gorgeous day to be out weather wise although a bit on the warm side. Bagged a bird right off the bat first placed we walked. Moved on to the 2nd piece and had a great point on a rooster in some patchy cattails. I moved in for a shot and just waited for the bird to flush. As I sat there observing the ground I could see a tail feather sticking out and sure enough there he sat. I just sat there and waited for the bird to flush. He eventually let lose and I dropped him on the first shot. I got this one all on the go pro I will have to get it all rendered and uploaded.

By then it was getting too warm to hunt so I cut this walk short to get the dogs some water and cool down. I drove over to one smaller piece of land that had some water. Had birds flush out of there as soon as we pulled up. Missed one easy shot along a fence line and called it a day by 1pm.

Crop report -North and West of Huron in Beadle County into Hand county very little corn left. Go East of there towards Lake Thompson to Brooking still lots of corn in as of last night.

I found some birds over the last 3 days but had to work hard for them. Talking to other hunters this weekend didnt sound like many guys were having great luck hunting public land.

I think the birds are around but they are still out in the open feeding in the fields etc. I hope now that we are finally seeing cooler temps they will get bunched up and start hanging out in cover.

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  • 2 weeks later...

we hunted 4 days about 60 miles southwest of Aberdeen Nov 3rd on. It was only slightly better than last year and last year was poor for South Dakota. It seems the birds were definitely in the corn and hunting corn is probably my least favorite type of hunting. Our posters liked it though.

If you like road hunting the last hour of the day you can see quite a few roosters and frankly where we were if you are heck bent on getting your limit it probably was the best bet to accomplish that goal.

Even on the one day it was blowing 30-40 the birds weren't anywhere to speak of except for in the corn. We saw them in the morning when we were duck hunting in the thick stuff but by 10 am they were gone from there and corn bound.

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thanks for the report. I haven't been getting out as much as I should. Just quick hunts on small pieces of land here and there. Some times we get a bird sometimes we don't see a thing. I have couple more trips to Huron planned so hopefully bag some late season birds. The recent snow and frozen sloughs should make getting to the birds a little easier now. Sounds like most places north of HWY 14 got anywhere from 2" to 8"inches of snow.

My oldest dog (9yrs) just doesn't have the get up and go anymore and I worked really hard to slowly get him back into shape over the last few months. He got some sort of skin cancer last summer and after 3 surgeries and removing some muscle in his leg last summer its just taken too much of a toll on him.

His arthritis and joints especially now that its cold has gotten really bad. I have been giving him carprofen which seems to keep him from limping or any pain but its gotten to a point that he just slows me down when in the field. I am having a hard time coming to the terms with it, looks like my kids are gonna finally get a house dog again though smile

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  • 3 weeks later...

just spent the weekend hunting public land around the Huron area. Lots of birds, had some of my best hunts in a long time. Didn't seem to matter where I hunted but found birds in thick and short cover.

Didn't see many hunters out either, and if I did they were hunting deer. Hoping to get back out and get some late season hunting in. Anyone else still hunting?

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