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Thread: Second trip this year to South Dakota

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Southwest Ohio
    Posts
    15

    Default Second trip this year to South Dakota

    I go to South Dakota every year. This year I went first in late October. Hunting was ok but not great. I always wanted to do a late season hunt and this year I was able to sneak away and come back.

    So I got here this morning and hunted south of Mitchell. First thing is there was a lot of ice getting here and snow drifts that were about two feet deep scattered randomly. So getting around was not impossible but Id really slowed me down.

    Second there is more water around then I remember. I hunted two of my usual spots and each had water in it that I had not seen before. It was mostly frozen, but I was nervous to cross it, because I do not know how deep it is.

    Third, there is more snow than I expected. I thought they had only gotten about four inches, but snow today was shin to knee deep in most places. Wore the dog and I out.

    I saw one rooster run across the road, and that was it. Dog worked hard and had two of her best points, but they were hens. One she really worked the scent and found the bird. No shooting but I am very proud of her.

    A lot of learning on both our parts. Going to try a few spots I know up north tomorrow. See how it goes. Still better than work.
    Ohiouplandhunting.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Las Vegas, NV
    Posts
    21

    Default

    I just returned from my second trip to SD as well. Hit it for 6-7 days in early November and it was a tough go; too much corn still in and some tough weather but we still shot a fair amount of birds; me and my hunting buddy from MN and my dog shot 22 in 6 days I think. I was so convinced that things would be FANTASTIC after Thanksgiving because the crop situation would be so much better that I talked myself into a second trip, solo, just me and my GSP.

    I ended up only staying two days over the weekend. One day north of Pierre and one day around Aberdeen, both places I know fairly well and usually do well. Tough go of it this time; WAY, way more hunters than I expected to see this late in the year. Holy crap. Several public pieces I hit I could tell from tracks, etc that someone was either there a few hours before me or a day before me. Seemed like there was more hunters this trip than there was a month earlier at the beginning of November. Never would have expected that.

    Hate to overreact from just one tough trip but it got me to think about the direction public hunting for pheasant in SD is heading and I don't think it's good. I'll probably go back next year but I have a long offseason to think about other options.

    Last December I took my GSP and my business partner to central and northern Utah (short drive from Las Vegas) to get some more work for the dog, trying out two different pheasant operations, looking for some decent secondary options to supplement the SD trip (unlikely to replace it but...) Shorter drive, you get what you pay for, and one of the two setups was really promising as the birds seemed a lot more "wild" than the dumb pen-raised ones I see wandering around some of the places I see in SD and they actually had really good looking cover. I may do that again this December or January to get the dog some more work.

    Happy Hunting!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Lonsdale, Mn
    Posts
    212

    Default

    If you hunted anytime around thanksgiving you will see a lot more hunters than you will say next week. A lot of families get together and hunt and people use those days for coming from out of state to hunt also. We used to plan our 2nd trip every year over thanksgiving for almost 20 years and we always saw hunters during that 5 day stretch. Just saying don't give up on public land because you had a tough trip, I have been out in late December almost the last week of the season and have done extremely well on public land.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Southwest Ohio
    Posts
    15

    Default

    Yesterday we went to the northeast from Mitchell and hunted public land there. We started in a large WPA and I did not hold out much hope. It did not look to promising, but there was some cattails I thought held some promise. So we gave it a shot.

    My dog is young, she just turned three, and this was a trip to help her learn. My older dog suffered a career ending elbow injury, so the young dog has been moved up and I’m trying to get her as much experience as possible. She still has a tendency to be crazy for the first 20 minutes of a hunt so I usually start her in an area I’m not to excited to hunt so she can burn off that energy and settle down. Because of this we went away from the cattails and started in some tall grass. What I hadn’t seen was there was a depression with cattails ahead of us. When we got to it there were pheasant tracks all over. She was definitely birdy, but no points. We spent 45 minutes in that area but never found a bird. I’m sure they were in there and just kept running us in circles til we gave up.

    We tried a few more areas, with little success. At least the snow was only about an inch deep. With golden hour approaching I found a WPA that was boarded on two sides by pretty busy roads. It was the last place for us to hunt, with out driving at least a half hour. So we gave it a shot. This place had several large ponds with pine trees around. I figured the pines may shield the birds from the wind so maybe they would hang there. After over an hour we found nothing so we started back truck. We were in the corner where the two roads crossed and I got my bearings as I went to walk on the dog wouldn’t move. After calling her a few times I realized she was pointing, I flushed the bird, which was a hen. We moved on back towards the truck. We went about 300 yards and she was on point again. And of course it was a hen. The grass we were in was about 60 yards wide. Since the road was bordering where we were I kept her away from the road mainly to one side. A few yards later I swear I heard something move behind me, I went to call her over and when she went on point. I went over and a hen flushed. About as soon as that happened a rooster flushed from the area I thought I heard something, he was out of range by the time I got my gun up. We went back about 100yards and covered the same area again, but no other points. By this time it was just about dark so we called it a day.

    We had to start for home at noon today. So we went South of Mitchell and back into the deeper snow. We stopped in several places, but all of them showed tracks of people having been there the day before. We ended up at a CREP that I limited out once while helping a buddy look for his lost dog. Saw a little sign and she locked up on point once. We searched the area but found nothing, not sure what it was. Spent two hours there and headed home.

    Looking back, I’m glad I got to come again. We learned a lot. Where we found birds in November are ghost towns in the snow. Also I’m thankful for the public land in South Dakota, and the land farmers enroll so we can hunt.
    Ohiouplandhunting.com

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