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Thread: End of Season Thoughts

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Posts
    720

    Default End of Season Thoughts

    As many of you know, the last month of my season was a tough one because my 6-yr-old springer Buzz died on Dec. 3 of pyothorax caused by a grass seed awn. Most likely inhaled, exited through a lung, into his chest cavity & killed him. I’ve been out a few times since then w/ friends, but the spark definitely wasn’t there. Even though the fellowship is great & it’s a blast to watch their dogs, it’s just been tough to get excited about hunting.

    Because the weather & harvest this year were so out of the ordinary, coupled with the fact that my hunting was curtailed once the birds in my area finally did bunch up, I really don’t think I got a good feel for bird numbers. I shot plenty of them though, & I guess maybe on the public land I hunt, bird numbers might have been up a little over last year. Maybe 15% or so??

    I’ve never experienced an entire season of such tough conditions. Late, late harvest. Tons of standing water. Then no snow until VERY late. Except for corn being picked, the birds had every option open to them in December that they had available in October. Then when we finally DID get a significant snow, the weather got nice again. Since pheasants usually use the lightest cover they can get away with, I think they spent LOTS of time this season standing around in picked corn fields for much of the day. Snow cover on the corn fields either blew off or melted quickly, allowing them to just disappear out there. Or they were sunning themselves on top of 2’ of blown-in snow, using the sparse top couple feet of CRP grass poking through the snow as minimal cover. Just enough cover for them to feel safe. Just really uncooperative weather.

    I ended my season on a “big” hunt that’s typically not really my thing. But since I’m dogless, I decided this was the year to accept the invitation. One day. 8 guns. 4 dogs. Private land that probably sees moderate to heavy pressure. 45-50 degrees. Sunny. No wind. We shot 16. Missed a handful. Never really found the big numbers that they know are around, but we still saw several hundred birds. Unbelievably spooky of course. Just too nice a day & the majority of the birds, especially roosters, simply made themselves unhuntable (probably as I described in the previous paragraph).

    So if I really try to be optimistic & find that silver lining, I guess it was an OK season. Really looking forward to a summer spent training a puppy & getting him/her out there next fall, taking the first steps to becoming another in a series of masterful springers who seem to be able to make roosters materialize out of thin air.
    Last edited by A5 Sweet 16; 01-07-2019 at 02:58 PM.
    "Most pheasants in South Dakota don't react too well to #5s." -The Hunt for Red Rooster

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Spring Grove, IL
    Posts
    1,697

    Default

    We'll have to get together again this Fall. Have fun smelling puppy breath! Its the best/worst smell! So bad it makes you smile!
    Mike

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Posts
    720

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by UplandHntr View Post
    We'll have to get together again this Fall. Have fun smelling puppy breath! Its the best/worst smell! So bad it makes you smile!
    Agreed, Mike! Even though the roosters weren't very cooperative, that was a fun day. We'll see what Annie thinks of a young, obnoxious little hunting partner.
    "Most pheasants in South Dakota don't react too well to #5s." -The Hunt for Red Rooster

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    2,191

    Default

    i was fortunate, my pup snorted a couple weed seeds on a trip to NE. this year. He started (sneezing constantly) and bleeding from the nose, so i rushed him into a vet in McCook, NE.

    the seeds were visible with the camera probe, but the vet had to put him under and irrigate both nostrils to remove the seeds, as they were far up his nostrils. the vet was great, $167 for about an hours work....i would have gladly paid twice the price.
    sorry for your loss.....good luck with your new pup.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    South Dakota
    Posts
    1,470

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    Just some simple numbers for this season. I have over 200 acres of CRP scattered over 15 plots of various types. Had 32 hunters from 7 states and they ranged from young to some of us OLD timers.With little experience hunting pheasants to those who should have it figured out.

    It was a very different year as far as hunting conditions (they favored the pheasants) and while pleasant to hunt it was just plain hard to figure things out and every bird was hard earned.


    Final numbers some where between 70 and 90 roosters shot and found ( not everyone has given me a total of their success ). Lots of birds left for next years nesting season so I'm very hopeful that next year the numbers will go up. Those with GOOD DOGS that hunt slow will do good. I raise all WILD South Dakota pheasants and NEVER charge to hunt---the way it was
    Pheasants Forever Life Member

  6. #6

    Default

    I hunted for 27 full days and about 5 partial days, some of the latter were just 40 minute walks before it got dark, some of the latter were 2-3 hours worth of hunting. As far as the full days, my worst day was hunting by myself about mid-december, and the birds were SPOOKY! Managed to bag 2, and lost a 3rd. Overall, an excellent year, despite crops being in late. The last hunt, which wrapped on Saturday, confirmed that there are good #'s overall, especially hens. If we have a decent spring/early summer, it could be another good year in 2019. As always, the dogs really stick in my mind..was blessed to witness some great dog work throughout the season, though conditions for the dogs were challenging early in the season due to dry conditions and warmer temps...the last several trips saw a higher % of downed birds making into the vest. have $ down on a litter, so I hope to have a pup with me next fall, along with the two adults, who will be 8 and 4....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Posts
    720

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    I complain about the uncooperative weather & related crop harvest as much as anyone. It was really challenging & not always fun to deal with. But every 40 degree day with minimal snow cover we get this winter puts the birds in that much better condition heading into nesting time. See? I can be optimistic.
    "Most pheasants in South Dakota don't react too well to #5s." -The Hunt for Red Rooster

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Central MN
    Posts
    710

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    I hunted about 14 days in SD. My opening trip was average to slightly better than average with the birds not being where I traditionally have been successful (public). Mid season was poor, very few birds, and lots of rain (all private). Later season trip was a home run (mostly private)! Anyway you stack it I had a great time except for skipping one last trip because I let the weather scare me off.
    "We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal man has ever made." M.Facklam

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    198

    Default

    Overall this was probably the most successful South Dakota year that I have had, hunting the state as a Resident 2009-2012 and a non-resident 2013 - present. There may have been some 2009-2011 years on private land that were more successful, but overall and especially public land, this year was my best.

    I'd contribute it to a few things: luck, right place right time, dog in his prime, and mostly just trial and error over the years - finding public land that has produced or not produced and keeping notes each year, and discovering what to look for not just on that specific public section but in the .5 - mile radius around it.

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