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rundrave

2015 Pheasant Reports

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2015 Resident opener is this Saturday through Monday.

Supposed to be really warm out this weekend so I will probably be limiting my hunts to later parts of the day not to risk working the dogs to hard in the heat.

As for harvest, I have seen lots of beans going out the last few days and this morning as I drove in to work I saw my first corn field being harvested. I know the central portions of the state saw some moisture recently so it may take those areas a littler longer for the crops to dry out. I would expect the warming trend to help with that.

If its going to be warm and hot I will probably not be hitting it to hard until the temps cool off. I like hunting late season better anyway. I have some time off of work scheduled around halloween so hopefully be getting a good fix of hunting then

Good luck to those that make it out and be sure to report back here with reports and pictures of your hunts.

Rooster!

B090AWwCIAAshsj.jpg

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I have a tripped planned to hunt out by Gettysburg on Oct. 17th.  I saw the survey report said birds are up around 40% in this area.  I talked to the land owner that we hunt with and he claims that he hasn't seen very many birds this fall and doesn't think hunting will be very good.  He did say that most of the corn is still in the fields which could hamper seeing the birds.  I was hoping to see if any locals out in this area can give me their opinion on birds.  I was excited to see the report because I will be bringing out my 14 yr old son for the first time and I was hoping for it to be a good trip.

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you will have no shortage of birds up near gettysburg the numbers up there are very well. You might even find some grouse in the right areas. lots of big plots of land up that way I think you and your son will be well off up there.

Its just too far for me to drive up that way, but if I was a non-res hunter and had to burn my 5 or 10 days of hunting I wouldnt go to any other area than up there.

good luck to you and your son, probably gonna be a long week and even longer drive for ya anticipating Noon time next saturday lol

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Even when bird numbers are "low", there are still more birds than you will know what to do with in the gettysburg area.

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I decided to push back our trip back until the last week in Oct. with hopes that more corn is out.  By pushing it back only 4 of us and a 2 yr old dog will get to go.  I've had some very good trips out in Gettysburg so I know that area can hold lots of birds and having some private land to hunt on helps.  

Edited by CLPDB

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per KELO here is the latest harvest progress:

Dry weather over the past week in South Dakota helped farmers with harvest but also increased the risk for wildfires in the state.

The Agriculture Department says in its weekly crop report that the planting of winter wheat in South Dakota is wrapping up, and the harvest of soybeans has reached 90 percent.

About one-third of the corn, sorghum and sunflower crops are in the bin.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay is at 95 percent complete.

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My buddy is an insurance salesman in eastern SD.  Since Saturday he's had customers burn up 2 combines, a tractor, a shed, and a pickup truck all from the extremely dry conditions.  Hoping we get a shot of rain tonight, not only for the fire danger, but to help the dogs get scent on these dry grasslands!

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a good half inch to an inch of rain in the forecast for pretty much the entire state should help those dry conditions.

I havent even been out yet that will change this weekend. its just been too warm and windy. I have been roading my dogs every night just before dark and even just going down the gravel they have been getting pretty warm. I cant imagine how hard it would be in cover for them

The scent conditions have been pretty tough because its so dry. We have been bumping birds along the gravel that we typical would point. and when we come across a runner they have had a hard time tracking scent.

Ran 5 miles of gravel last night, bumped 5 birds and 3 deer in just a short trip out from the back yard. I am really looking forward to some cooler temps.

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here is the latest numbers on harvest:

The Agriculture Department says in its weekly crop report that the soybean harvest is virtually wrapped up at 96 percent complete, slightly ahead of the five-year average pace.

Nearly two-thirds of the corn crop is harvested, slightly behind average, and more than half of the sunflower harvest is done, ahead of average. The sorghum harvest also is about two-thirds complete, behind average.

 

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I hunted around the Huron area Friday - Sunday all on public land. Was pretty slow going for me and my dogs. Shot a couple birds each day but I had to work for each and every one of them.

I was surprised at how few birds we saw but there is still a lot of corn in. Worst of all its just random luck coming  across any birds because every public walk in area had more than one vehicle at them sun up to sundown, what a zoo. Unfortunately there are also a lot of inconsiderate hunters that cut me off in the middle of a walk multiple times this weekend as well.

Showed up to a place at 9:45 on Friday morning and not another vehicle in sight and park in the entrance. Start walking at 10am, truck pulls up at 10:15 sees my vehicle and drives right by it, sees where I am walking  and parks in the ditch and gets out and starts walking right front of me. Rinse and repeat that about summed up my weekend.

Really looking forward to some cooler temps. Bring on the snow and cold.

Few other take aways:

- My 10yr old GSP that had cancer 2 years ago and had to have some muscle removed from his back leg is like an entirely new dog this year. I tried to hunt him last year but pretty much gave up. His arthritis was so bad he just slowed me and my other dog down in the field. This year I resorted to a new regimen for him and got him in shape for fall just to see how he would do and he is like a whole new dog. I dont think he pointed a wild bird at all last season the few times I hunted him and this weekend he was back to his glory days. I had a great point and retrieve from him and I couldn't believe it. That bird would be on the wall if it had some good color to it but hopefully I will get another one over him later this season.

- I am rendering some GoPro footage I will try to get uploaded sooner than later.

Edited by rundrave

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forgot to mention I saw alot of young birds yet. shot this guy on Halloween, no way he makes it through the winter. hate to shoot a young bird but when you get good dog work and birds are hard to come buy you take what you get

photo 7F0C8FDE-3D66-4928-832F-AD891DEA32C9_zpslwijigvo.jpg

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weather stunk all last week for hunting and was super windy so didnt make it out much. Did sneak out Sunday and it was still plenty warm with temps 60+

Didn't see much during the afternoon but the last hour before sundown we saw plenty of action. My old dog nailed another rooster for me yesterday. He is a good dog but I have always thought where he lacks is tracking especially compared to my other dog. But I made a long shot about 40yards and knocked a bird down and knew he wasn't hit hard and we would have our work cut out for us in the thick waist high CRP we were in.

Well I made my mark and as always its a big guess to where the bird actually is. Well this bird doubled back on us and my old dog made a great track on the running bird even with the wind at his back. Was super stoked to see a dog well past his prime make a track like that. Very uncharacteristic for that dog so it made it all the more rewarding when I reached to put it in my vest.

I have been saying all fall, how hard the heat has been on us, this pic says it all. Totally earned that bird and a pic.

photo CBD3F4DB-E424-45F4-B260-3776E99F9A09_zpshak50isc.jpg

Also had a dog point a coyote, with the strong wind he must not have heard us coming. I think I got it on my gopro but havent gone back and looked yet. I fed him a few shots of 3" inch 2shot steel after a quick tussle with my dogs. Was very surprised by that whole deal. He got up and made a good move after I reloaded my O/U so he looked pretty healthy not sure how we ended up getting so close to him.

anyone else out shooting some birds? I really want some colder weather and even some snow and sloughs to freeze up then things get really fun.

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I'm coming to South Dakota on Monday, for the first time!!! It'll just be me and the dog.  Any general advice for me?  Things to look out for?  Good cheap place to stay?  Where I can get a map of public land?  Is all the corn out?  Any info will help me out a lot.  Thank you for any information

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that link I sent you in a PM with have all the public land info. otherwise if you stop at any sporting good store, walmart, farm and fleet stores and even some gas stations here in SD there is a good chance they will have a pile of public land hunting atlas free for you to take sitting on the counter by the cash register.

I would say corn is about 90-95% out I still see a few fields here and there. I cant help you with lodging but many hotels are hunter friendly when it comes to dogs etc.

again any info on regs, brood counts, maps etc can be found here: http://gfp.sd.gov/hunting/small-game/pheasants.aspx

I am heading to Huron next week for 4 days so hoping my late season hunts go better than early season been a slow year for me so far but only been out a few times.

also east river rifle opener for deer is this weekend 11/21 so just a heads up. typically nothing to worry about but you may notice a few trucks driving back and forth as you walk some cover. nothing to be concerned about but just something to keep in mind.

good luck

here a quick video I edited down to show our coyote encounter

 

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was hit or miss for me over the last 4 days hunting in Huron area, all public land. Some days I was done by 1pm and had several bird encounters. Other days I would hardly see a bird. Still lots of hunters out and walk in areas are getting walked hard, one right after another. I would leave and someone would pull in right behind me. didn't matter where I went hunters were everywhere.

Didn't really notice the birds getting bunched up yet, had a lot of single bird flushes. Got creative and walked some really really small walk in areas, off the beaten path and some of those birds sat really nice for me. Almost like they hadn't been hunted yet. I had one rooster and that flushed 3 times, first 2 flushed out of gun range but we just followed where he went down and he never flew far, but the 3rd flush he sat forever on a really nice point and I almost had to step on him to get him to flush. Not sure if I got it on the gopro I need to go back and edit video from the past few days.

Lots of snow south of I90 as of today not much north of there but that will probably change with storm today/evening. Most small bodies of water were frozen enough for me to sneak in on the some birds but I also fell through in a couple areas as well.

I didn't get many pics from the weekend but here are a couple:

photo 57326E5F-D814-4260-B574-191813448705_zps7wx3kxal.jpg

I shot this bird and thought for sure I hit it, but it just kept on flying, and I kept on watching it. It flew and flew, and then started to fly straight up, super high and then it dropped to the ground (heard people refer to that as a heart shot?). Safely got my dogs across the highway and sent the younger one out on a retrieve. who says pointers cant be retrievers? Love me some versatile dogs :)

photo 7CD5AA78-2B45-474E-8B9B-0C62E1939877_zpsvdw70xf1.jpg

photo F869AFA9-EEEC-493A-B7A4-2FFB580D145F_zpsey9r5z2c.jpg

 

Edited by rundrave

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ventured out to south central SD yesterday to explore some new public areas I have never hunted before. I had heard of some good reports in the area so thought I would check out some new areas. After all exploring and scouting new areas is half the fun. Was hoping for some snow over night on Saturday but it just rained.

Weather was great though yesterday a little bid of wind and lots of moisture to help with scent conditions. Grass and cover was soft and wet so didn't make a lot of noise to spook the birds. Unfortunately it ended up being one of slowest days of hunting I have ever had. Most the native grasses were packed down with snow, and even the typical pheasant condos weren't holding birds.

Some of these areas had received anywhere from 20+ inches of snow and due to the warm temps has rapidly melted over the last week or so. Everywhere I went it was just soft, wet and muddy. Needed 4x4 just to get by on the gravel roads as they were pretty soft themselves.

I dont know where the birds went but I couldn't find them and tried everything. Thick cattails, light grass, heavy grass, standing corn etc etc. The only 2 birds that were pointed came in about ankle deep water. Unless the birds were out in the deep water sitting on bent over cat tails I couldn't find them.

Hoping for colder temps later this week and some snow. Lots of good hunting left, just hope the weather cooperates.

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decided to get out today before some of the recent snow melted. went a little further west than I did on Sunday and had one of my best days hunting in a long time. Just myself and my 2 dogs and we literally saw hundreds of birds today. Unfortunately not many roosters but saw enough to shoot a limit. missed a chance at a nice double but at least I got to keep hunting the rest of the day.

was a cold day in the low 20's and wind was blowing 10-15mph with gusts up to 25. The birds just did not want to fly or flush today and it made for some great hunting. I lost track of how many bird encounters we had. Focused on smaller cat tail areas and it paid off. Seen birds just about every place we walked today and didn't see another hunter out the entire day. Snow and wind helped conceal the noise and some shallow sloughs were hard enough or in most cases slushy enough to make it manageable on foot. Going to warm up again in a couple days so sneaking in on them  via snow or hard water isnt going to be an option any more.

Just a couple weeks left and I plan on getting out a few more days yet on some great late season hunting.

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hunted yesterday, thankfully most of the light snow from previous days was still on the ground. Put up a lot of birds again but mostly hens. Had a hard time finding the roosters yesterday but still brought a couple home.

Also saw one of the oddest birds I have ever seen, this pic is from 12/20/2015:

photo 7355139D-6CD4-4C48-9519-C77EE11726B3_zpsbwtcrdqa.jpg

photo C7E71755-B34E-4783-B025-16DCE38102F5_zpsce0vo6fd.jpg

photo CEFD89AE-C2D5-4127-8758-4A89828DD2D8_zpsdmgtm8tq.jpg

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