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Thread: 2017 hunting report

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Indiana
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    619

    Default 2017 hunting report

    Had first chance to get out. Just two men and my dog. Hunted between Buckley and Milford. First spot has always been a honey hole but it is now mowed like your lawn...... Still gave it a show as there was some cover deep in the ditch but had little hope.

    Didn't take long and dog goes on point. Since my buddy was blocking 300-400yds down the ditch and released the dog to flush what I suspected was a hen. That it was a cock shocked the heck out of me. Had to gather my wits at the surprise. let loose one barrel and was shocked I didn't knock him down, just a puff of feathers.

    As I watched him for a second @ 9 other birds boiled up around me...... Had to let loose the second barrel at the winged cock and dropped him. Watched the remaining birds fly everywhere but towards my blocker, as usual.

    Next stop was a good piece of ditch and cover, about 1 mile long. Put up one measly hen.

    3rd stop was a bust.

    Reports from farmers is very low population this year. Our go to farmer has nixed hunting altogether this season because he just didn't see anything picking crops. He hunts too, but not this year.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Davis Junction/Northern, IL
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    83

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    Hunt the same areas. Killed two on Saturday, but had to hunt all day to do it. Really sad to see some of these filter strip on ditches getting plowed under. Unless something changes in the 2018 farm bill, there's no good news in sight for pheasants in IL, or anywhere else for that matter..... It baffles me how and why these CRP filter strips get mowed as well... Very frustrating.

  3. #3
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    Dec 2010
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    Indiana
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    Quote Originally Posted by ehudgens View Post
    Hunt the same areas. Killed two on Saturday, but had to hunt all day to do it. Really sad to see some of these filter strip on ditches getting plowed under. Unless something changes in the 2018 farm bill, there's no good news in sight for pheasants in IL, or anywhere else for that matter..... It baffles me how and why these CRP filter strips get mowed as well... Very frustrating.
    I don't know enough about maintaining the filter strips to know why they mow them. Perhaps it is needed every so often to keep the types of grasses pheasants like growing. A little pain for long term gain?

    What get's me is the guys who plow right up to the ditch edges. Hell, I'd be afraid the bank would give way and my $400,000 tractor would topple in.

    The Milford boys who hunted opening day said they bagged 2 cocks. That's half a dozen hunting for a long time on historically good to great ground. Worst they have ever seen.

    I'm trying Indiana on 12/1 near Kentland and some other areas of Newton and Benton Counties. Main place farmer reports seeing nothing.....Sad.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Northern Illinois
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    Numbers seem to be way down. Nothing we didn't expect considering all the rain and overly wet days throughout the nesting and brood rearing season. To top it off, any late hatches had to deal with drought late summer/September. Double hit on the young.

    I shot a young bird last week. He just had small numbs for spurs plus still had immature feathers on his underside/belly. Late hatch. Saw a couple older roosters on the south end of the county the other day too.

    Filter strips; A few years back I asked my buddy why he mows filter strips. He said to keep the noxious weeds from coming up. They would make great run-ways for birds to safely get from one area to another. Maybe some day.
    Last edited by 1pheas4; 11-21-2017 at 11:50 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    203

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    On mowing strips many farmers do it to keep trees from starting. However they could mow every 3 years and accomplish this. It took me 5 years to talk my neighbor into mowing around an old pond and field drainage every 3 years. He used to mow it at least once and sometimes twice a year. Now that he has started a 3 year rotation we have a covey of about 15 quail that bounce from my fencerow to his drainage. Cover works if we manage it properly. I also took some trees out of my fencerow and made brush piles. Trees were getting to large and choking out undergrowth.

    In southern IL quail numbers are up so that may be an option instead of chasing the pheasants!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Indiana
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    Got out Saturday and actually had a fairly productive hunt. First spot we walked kicked up a cock and two hens (ditch had been mowed but had a couple of nice little hair patches). didn't get a shot but good to see something.

    Next place is a little 5 acre grass patch. Great cover and dog went on point before we even entered the grass. Other younger dog came over and busted up a nice cock. we watched as he landed on the far end. Put up another cock and hen but again didn't get shots. Got to the other end and my dog pointed at the edge, cock went up and youngest member of the party (16 year old) bagged the first cock of his life. We kicked up another cock on the return loop back to car but he was a missile in the wind and flew at least a mile, maybe farther.

    Third place was plenty of action. As soon as dog went to bottom of the ditch kicked up a cock and I bagged my 2nd of the year. Not too much further put up another cock that I was hoping my buddy would get a shot at but didn't. He landed a couple hundred yards up the ditch. Put up a couple hens then got to where the cock went down and my buddy was able to drop him after a nice point from my dog. Dog made a nice retrieve across the ditch too. Thank goodness because it was deeper than either of our boots.

    Further up was had a blocker and we kicked up several hens, a cock that made a nice escape out the side. Then as we all walked back to the truck kicked up a cock that I dropped, a couple more hens and a final wily cock that made its way to the very edge of the road by the truck. He went up and my host unloaded three clean misses at him.

    Last spot none of us had ever hunted before. All Brome grass and i thought we'd see something. Only wildlife was a big, reddish coyote that made the mistake of running between two hunters. Thing was bigger and heavier than my 49lb bird dog. Probably a coy dog or something but that sucker was HUUUGE!

    Had very low expectations so bagging 4 cocks with 4 hunters and putting about 20 birds in the air made me happy.

  7. #7

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    I wasn't aware that you can hunt ditches in IL. Was this private land?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Davis Junction/Northern, IL
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    Had a good day yesterday. Met a buddy at my mom's in Milford at 8:30 hit the first spot just norteast of town. 30 acre crp field. Got out of the truck and a big coyote runs out the back of the field. Dog pointed right away and 2 hens got up, and a rooster flushed too far to get a shot. Kept going, dog pointed 2 more hens. Turned around, dog pointed 3 more hens. Got to the very end and he locked up, and nice big rooster got up. My buddy killed, it and we had one in the bag in the first 30 minutes. Not bad. Went out to the state line area south east of Stockland. Hunted one ditch, and nothing. Hunted another ditch further south, and the dog worked birds the whole way. Finally caught up to them where a fence line crosses. Solid point. 2 hens and cock. We have 2 in the bag and it's 9:45. Head to one of my honey holes south of Milford. 40 acre crp field that hardly any one knows is there. Some years you can't get to it because it is in the very middle of a section. Dog pointed 5 hens and 1 rooster. I shot the rooster. 3 in the bag and it's 10:30. Hit another spot west of Milford. Nice ditch with filter strips. Dog literally pointed before we were loaded. By some miracle the bird held. My buddy shot it. Got our 4 by 11 am. Had a few beers at old main pub, then headed for home at 1. All in all, I was pretty pleased. We didn't see a ton of birds, but we got the 4 roosters we had a shot at, and had some great dog work.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Davis Junction/Northern, IL
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    George,

    We are referring to man made drainage ditches that are all over east central IL. Many of these ditches have good cover and decent bird numbers. These aren't road ditches that you can hunt in South Dakota. That's not legal Here in IL.

    Just one random observation about these ditches the last 2 years, virtually every one has beaver dams in them. You can definitely tell no one is trapping these any more. It used to be a bid deal to see a beaver dam, and now they are everywhere. We had a hard time finding places to cross in the ditches we hunted yesterday.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Northern Illinois
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    3,701

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    Thanks for the updates guys. To anyone harvesting wild IL pheasants, what percentage would you say have been from this years hatch?

    Habitat---I looked at an area I hunted last year. One side of the road the habitat was put into beans. The other side (CRP) is on the way out as we speak. Tractors are out there now. Sad to see. It was a nice nesting area with rail road habitat linking it to other habitats.

    Some better news. I've talked with a number of land owners waiting to install grassland CRP on their lands. We'll see what the next farm bill brings to the table and go from there.

    Anyone have any luck on PHA's this season?
    "Through license fees and excise tax on arms and gear, sportsmen contribute over $200 million per year for wildlife conservation programs" (U.S. fish and wildlife service)

    http://www.pheasantfreaks.com

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