Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Hunting out west

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Posts
    2

    Default Hunting out west

    Took my first trip to SD a couple weeks ago. Stayed in Huron and hunted the surrounding area. What a disappointment... from all that Iíve heard I really expected better. Iíve honestly had better hunting in MN, Iowa, and Montana. SD felt like I was on a game farm looking for leftover birds. The public areas are pounded daily, sometimes multiple times by different parties in one day. I put on some miles and I can say it eased up a bit once I got over an hour or better from any real town. Shot a few birds but really had to work for them. Iím more into getting out there and walking the prairie where you may not even see another truck. Does anyone have any experience west of the river? Iím going back next week and was thinking of hunting the river bluffs or looking for sharpies out west. Too many guys for me east of the river. Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    205

    Default

    It's all hit or miss... The closer you are to the "big town" hot spots of Aberdeen, Huron, Pierre, Chamberlain, Mitchell, etc. the more hunters you will see. If you can get an hour or so away from each of those spots, you're chances will increase on finding ground that hasn't been hit as hard. In general across the state, if I run into a landowner that borders a piece of public land I usually ask them how often that piece gets hunted. The answers are pretty consistent along the lines of, "it really goes in spurts. Might go days or weeks without seeing somebody here, then it might be several days in a row with non-stop hunters."

    So the short answer, is it's all luck based on hunting public land that has or hasn't been hunted. You can do things to increase the luck in your favor, pieces that are down minimum maintenance roads, far from towns, a long ways off of paved roads, has good cover in the area (grass, cattails, water, trees, corn), being quiet when entering the land, not yelling at your dog, hunt a big piece of land but get to that tough to reach far corner that not everybody makes an effort to get to, hunt that small piece of cover that other hunters may overlook, hunt the piece opposite direction you think you should (birds are smart, and if hunters hunt it the same way over and over, eventually they will learn how to easily escape, so surprise them and come a different way).

    I used to live near the river bluffs and would hunt them because I lived there. My experiences are they are tough walking with lots of wild flushing birds, but there are birds. Chamberlain and Pierre are your bigger towns along the river and lots of hunters also go there, so there's competition. I don't have experience once you get west of that or on Sharpies.

    I do think that any one hunter can reasonably expect to get a 3 bird public land limit in most of SD if they have a little luck, decent shooting, work hard, and hunt from 10am to sunset. But all it takes is a few misses or a few hours spent in a bad area to throw those odds off pretty quick.
    Last edited by jackrabbit; 12-03-2018 at 01:55 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Thanks for the info! Iíll definitely be hunting differently on this next trip out. I think I was a bit disillusioned from watching too many TV shows on S.D. pheasant hunting and really didnít expect to have to work quite that hard for the birds. I did shoot my limit on my last day because I gave up on the big CRP fields and hunted about a 3 acre cattail swamp on the corner of an intersection surrounded by cut corn. Took all of 30 min to hunt it and jumped more birds out of that than walking an entire quarter section of grass. I really hate cattails tho 🙄

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    47

    Default

    I've been out there the last 2 years. I've done well on one trip and not so well on one trip. There's a LOT to learn. I can tell you that both years I tried to shortcut and hunt closer to the town I was staying in and both years got my butt kicked on the first day. That won't happen next year. All cover is not equal. I'm beginning to form some plans on what to look for and what to avoid. You very well may have hunted 3 days on stuff like I hunted on the first day? It looked good to me. But it doesn't look good anymore.
    But the more people ignore it, the more bird for me. I've hunted 6 days the last 2 years and have seen about 4 other hunters total.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    205

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by elietz View Post
    Thanks for the info! I’ll definitely be hunting differently on this next trip out. I think I was a bit disillusioned from watching too many TV shows on S.D. pheasant hunting and really didn’t expect to have to work quite that hard for the birds. I did shoot my limit on my last day because I gave up on the big CRP fields and hunted about a 3 acre cattail swamp on the corner of an intersection surrounded by cut corn. Took all of 30 min to hunt it and jumped more birds out of that than walking an entire quarter section of grass. I really hate cattails tho ��
    Unfortunately most of those shows are on released birds or provide unrealistic expectations, and probably none of them are shows filmed on public land. You'll see a number of places in SD that are nothing more than a strip of milo or something in the middle of a black dirt field. While it is private land, there's nothing there that can sustain a bird population and they are planting birds in there every day. Assuming the private land has good habitat practices and some other variables, I think most pay to hunt operations can nearly survive on wild birds if they take hunters for an extended 2-4 day weekend then don't touch the ground for several days or even a week or two before the next group arrives. If the pay to hunt operation has one group coming in after another all season long, it most likely is also releasing birds.

    A handful of times in my life I've been able to enjoy a SD hunt like you see on TV, however they all came years ago when I lived in the state. They were nothing more than a quick and last minute hunt on a friend, co-worker, etc. land along the lines of, "hey my uncle picked his corn and has a 2 acre cattail area in the middle that's loaded with birds today, if we leave right now." Or a "my grandpa's land is only touched for deer hunting, but we all got ours this year so he'll let us bird hunt it this afternoon only." The cattail one I recall being I think a 6 person limit in about 15-30 minutes.

    On public land, I usually avoid the big CRP fields that are 1/4+ section of grass. They are tough to hunt because there's nothing there to force the birds to fly. You need some type of barrier, whether the edge of field, different types of grass, tree line, something that breaks up the never ending sea of grass. That said, the big pieces could also hold a significant number of birds. So... yeah. Talent, luck, it all has to come together and some days it will and others it won't.

    The last thing I'll add, when hunting public land I really don't think a lot of people understand how important it is to be quiet from the moment you enter the parking lot. From the moment you pull up, through the hunt, and until you leave, have the mindset almost like you are on a silent stalk of a big game animal.
    Last edited by jackrabbit; 12-03-2018 at 02:18 PM. Reason: Grammar

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    92

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jackrabbit View Post
    The last thing I'll add, when hunting public land I really don't think a lot of people understand how important it is to be quiet from the moment you enter the parking lot. From the moment you pull up, through the hunt, and until you leave, have the mindset almost like you are on a silent stalk of a big game animal.
    This, X 100

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    20 miles south of Ft. Worth, Tx
    Posts
    373

    Default

    A friend of mine, and avid deer hunter from Georgia, used to come hunt pheasant in Kansas with me.

    He called them "winged deer" to emphasize the need for silence and stealth.

  8. #8

    Default

    "There's a LOT to learn"

    This line sums it up best, for a hunter new to any area they try. There have been some excellent posts this year, I really liked what Brittman had to say about moving when the action is dead. There are birds to be had in SD, but you are coming when numbers are nowhere close to what they were like when I started coming to SD, closing in on 20 years now; the first few years were tough. we had a lot to learn. You put your time in and try different areas, you will have opportunities.
    It has been said a number of times this fall, had to work very hard to harvest a limit. I could not agree more. Our experience in November was less birds than a year ago, but we still found birds. and the boot sores 3 weeks later, was my mile-odometer. Best of luck, stay positive, and keep working, it will pay off.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •