Just got back from Chamberlain hunting private land with a guide (1st time with a guide). Got a limit daily with my Citori Superlite and Golden Pheasant #5. I was the talk of the hunt because, of course I was the only one with a 16ga.
Bird numbers down on public land and "in the ditch". We didn't see near the number of birds flying across the roads as we usually do. I haven't hunted around chamberlain before tho, usually farther north. We limited by lunch 2 of the three days on private land. The rooster/hen ratio was prob 10/1. That doesn't sound good if it is statewide.
I was up in SD last week. The Sweet 16, vintage 1959, was hitting well. Had to be the gun because I normally don't do that well. Bird numbers seemed about as last year. But that's no big deal as last year was no great shakes. Still SD is still the Mecca for pheasants even in a down year.
_________________ Many places remain undiscovered. Some because no one has ever been there. Others because no one has ever come back.
t bird we hunted the opener there in Chamberlain with guide first three days. 4 of us shot limits every day we worked hard for them but were done in 4 hours usually . i did not use my 16 but a win 101 pigeon Grade FWT in 12 Ga. Next year the 16's
For pheasants to return, in SD or other portions of the upper plains, they must first get thru the winter. That is looking to be a problem in many areas...not speaking of private business stocking efforts.
Fingers crossed for all the plains birds in the coming months.
Joined: 24 Dec 2009
Location: South Dakota
No doubt that weather is a factor for pheasants but more important is habitat. Thousands and thousands of acres of land coming out of CRP in the past 10 years has been a bigger factor. Now with grain prices down I'm hearing of farmers that are wanting to get land back into CRP. Hopefully the new farm bill will provide the financing for that.
_________________ My 16's:
Browning Citori White Lightning
Browning A5 Sweet Sixteen (1960)
I was under the impression that in much of MT and ND, SD as well, “weather” reduced habitat this year as surely as have decisions re set-aside programs like CRP and CREP.
There reaches a point where which negative factor affecting game and non-game birds is greater or more important is of little importance....especially so in the Appalachians today but that truth holds elsewhere.
In that vein, I wish the idea of “build it and they will come” never saw the light of day as it has distracted too many people for far too long.
That said, pheasants especially, can return in a comparable instant.
Good luck to them and all the plains critters in the coming days.
It ain’t all about us hunters.
Joined: 26 Jun 2005
Location: North ID.
I've been in daily contact with a good friend who's been hunting central to north central SD this week. He finished up with his limit of 15 birds yesterday. According to him, the numbers in the area hunted is down this year, but he was able to find some pockets with decent bird numbers. He said he covered more ground than normal to find roosters, hunting a combination of private ground and some walk in areas.
I'm usually back there with him, but had a hip replacement about 2 weeks ago so had to hunt this year vicariously through his adventures.
Joined: 04 Jun 2009
Location: N. Shore, mn
The drought hit hard in Western SoDak, Eastern MT. & Western Nodak. Bird numbers there aren't pretty. After spending ten days in N Central South Dakota there are birds to be found. Numbers up NO. Bird numbers returning NO. There are enough birds to keep a guy going but you will be burning extra boot leather unless you are hunting private land either stocked or "Managed" with proper cover / habitat for Phez for them to be plentiful.
Despite the doom & gloom the trip was fun anyway. Got some birds & had some laughs.
Joined: 24 Jun 2013
Location: canandaigua - western n.y. (formerly deerhunter)
4T - exactly correct . Standing Rock seems to be on 4 yr cycles . !st the ice , then the floods , then the drought - every time it starts to settle , the next problem occurs . Last yr , bird numbers doing well and lots of hens , then this yrs drought . No brood and few hens . Next yr will be down and hopefully the yr after will be back !!
My son and I have hunted several places in South Dakota over the last 15 years--from the mostly "preserve" birds found at clubs around Gregory and Winner (only 1 year of that nonsense) to the Crow Creek Reservation at Ft. Thompson (sharptails and prairie chickens as well as wild roosters) to the grassland, corn and sunflower fields found around Onida north of Pierre, again, formerly lots of wild birds. We had limited out on pheasants every day of every year we hunted....until late October 2017. To say this fall in SoDak was a disappointment would be a drastic understatement. We can shoot and we can walk, and we had a veteran Chocolate Lab weed/swamp buster who can find birds, but you can't find them if they just aren't there.
There were some crops still in the field, granted, and the screaming wind had to make the birds jumpy, but bird numbers were WAY DOWN from previous seasons.
We will certainly continue to come West and hunt birds...but next year it'll be Montana, Kansas or Nebraska--very unfortunately, not South Dakota.
_________________ One Man with Courage is a Majority
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