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Thread: Letís hear about opening day

  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hockeybob View Post
    I promise you guys coming from out of state and spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars on a pheasant trip absolutely care about the amount of birds seen and bagged. Most out-of-state hunters could hunt in their own state but it’s very very poor hunting. They come to the great state of South Dakota for one reason and one reason only and that is for the amount of birds. If the bird population is low there is no need to come they can stay and shoot Pen raised birds in their home state and save all that money.
    Yes, people do care.South dakota is great hunting, but charging people to hunt, is making it imposible for the average guy to hunt there.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Posts
    49

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    Quote Originally Posted by Goosemaster View Post
    Yes, people do care.South dakota is great hunting, but charging people to hunt, is making it imposible for the average guy to hunt there.
    Not sure I follow the comment. No charge for the (thousands of acres of) public land in SD, other than the license.

    I also don't understand the implication that people/businesses (farmers or outfitters) who are being crippled with tariffs and weather are under some duty to give us something for nothing, so we can pursue our pastime.
    Last edited by Woollybob; 10-24-2019 at 12:15 PM.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Woodbury, MN
    Posts
    67

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    Just like a drought year... we found all our birds next to water.

    Welcome to the jungle, we had fun and games... won 2 guns at the Millette FD fundraiser. First gun was to part the jungle, the second to shoot a split second after they ducked into cover.

    2LeggedBirddog learns new tricks... upland water retrieves and holding steady on point for fellow hunter with a bad knee to get in position.

    Hunted all 5 days within 60 miles of Redfield and limited out for two hunters without a dog walking ditches (top sides) and road hunting. Just average guys with no special access. Only gravel maintained roads were passable- no sections lines unless they previously had rock/gravel laid down so 9 out of 10 of the beaten track hot spots where impassible. It didn't seem to matter as no combines where running most of the time except for a couple bean fields and nothing had been stripped for hunters. Nothing to move them out of the crops as they had cover and water right in every field. We were all alone for 20 or 30 square miles at a time so we often had the best luck of the oils and main county gravel. Just nobody showed up in the numbers we are used to seeing. A few hunting lodge lands were getting worked over but nothing like previous years. We counted on harvesting and field hunters to scatter the birds into singles and doubles to the ditches that we go for early in the day. Those where a rare find this year and we normally didn't get action until after 4PM when they started coming out to pick gravel. Hard to predict that too with wind, rain and sun in various amounts changing that pattern.

    Hunted close by to the east and northeast of Redfield a little. Lots of standing water. All ditches full and with the relatively flat land, any low spot was full of standing water- Little Waubay on the Big Prairie. No section line roads passable by truck. But there was some isolated large covies of birds due to the good hatch in that area. Hard to find and get at due to all crops in and access restricted to water so we moved out of there to better ground. Surplus waterfowl licenses were available and some in the group picked those up. Filled out limits on ducks and geese in 1.5 hours in this area since every pothole is full and every popular species is available to jump from the road.

    Spent much more time west and northwest of Redfield. Limits were easy near Zell/Rockham and Chelsea/Cresbard. They had abundant birds and they rose up in flocks of 20s and 50s at times when we found them so we estimate about double the bird numbers over last year in this area. Still lots of water but the hills and low-land rivers drained it somewhat. Section line roads still were not passable. Rain made it a little greasy getting around but 4x4 handled it. Winds weren't shooting friendly but dried out the roads quicker. Ground predator numbers are way down due to coyote mange and raccoon distemper but with limited areas to move we saw more than most years. Got one of both but left them on the road for someone local to bounty. Hawks numbers were huge to the point they were busting some birds headed to the road and made them skittish much early in the week than normal.

    Like I said elsewhere, I welcomed the change in conditions for the new challenges it presented. It made for another fantastic SD opener.

  4. #24

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    That's a great report.I did not know you could hunt for free out there.Sounds like a great hunt.I wish i could get a Montana report in detail. All the crp is gone in Mt.In Montana, you are not supposed ti hunt ditches, and right of way land,.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    229

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hockeybob View Post
    I promise you guys coming from out of state and spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars on a pheasant trip absolutely care about the amount of birds seen and bagged. Most out-of-state hunters could hunt in their own state but it’s very very poor hunting. They come to the great state of South Dakota for one reason and one reason only and that is for the amount of birds. If the bird population is low there is no need to come they can stay and shoot Pen raised birds in their home state and save all that money.
    Agree and disagree. If you are spending thousands, you are probably hunting pen raised birds at a lodge anyways. To me, SD is about watching the time to see when it is 10:00am, and again when it is close to sunset. It's the putting the cell phone down and not watching the clock the remainder of the day. The driving a backroad and not seeing another person. The eating a lunch or dinner on a tailgate while the sun goes down. It's a getaway. I have said time and time again, a small group of 1-3 hunters can reasonably expect to at least get a shot at a limit of public land birds nearly every day in SD. Lots of variables to play, but at least a chance at it.

    SD also doesn't have to be expensive. Here's a general breakdown of my trip last December.
    4 nights lodging at a motel, $50/night x 4 = $200, split 2 ways = $100
    License (only counting half, since I would count the other half for my first trip of the year) = $60
    Gas (rough estimate) $250, split 2 ways = $125
    Food and drinks, brought all food with, no eating out. Crockpots, electric skillets, small tailgate grills make great evening dinners. Sandwiches in the field make great lunches. Electric skillet can fry up eggs and bacon each morning. Shop at Aldi = $10/day for food = $50.

    A very general cost of $335 for 5 days of budget hunting public land in SD, with a 2 man limit nearly each day. Eating out and nice hotels can skyrocket that cost in a hurry.
    If you want to get real technical, you could eliminate the $50 food cost, because if I stayed home I would still have to eat anyways. And I would be eating from the grocery store anyways, so the food cost is the same whether I take the trip or stay at home. Eliminate the food cost and it is $285 for 5 days of great hunting.
    Last edited by jackrabbit; 10-25-2019 at 08:35 AM.

  6. #26

    Default Well said

    Quote Originally Posted by jackrabbit View Post
    Agree and disagree. If you are spending thousands, you are probably hunting pen raised birds at a lodge anyways. To me, SD is about watching the time to see when it is 10:00am, and again when it is close to sunset. It's the putting the cell phone down and not watching the clock the remainder of the day. The driving a backroad and not seeing another person. The eating a lunch or dinner on a tailgate while the sun goes down. It's a getaway. I have said time and time again, a small group of 1-3 hunters can reasonably expect to at least get a shot at a limit of public land birds nearly every day in SD. Lots of variables to play, but at least a chance at it.

    SD also doesn't have to be expensive. Here's a general breakdown of my trip last December.
    4 nights lodging at a motel, $50/night x 4 = $200, split 2 ways = $100
    License (only counting half, since I would count the other half for my first trip of the year) = $60
    Gas (rough estimate) $250, split 2 ways = $125
    Food and drinks, brought all food with, no eating out. Crockpots, electric skillets, small tailgate grills make great evening dinners. Sandwiches in the field make great lunches. Electric skillet can fry up eggs and bacon each morning. Shop at Aldi = $10/day for food = $50.

    A very general cost of $335 for 5 days of budget hunting public land in SD, with a 2 man limit nearly each day. Eating out and nice hotels can skyrocket that cost in a hurry.
    If you want to get real technical, you could eliminate the $50 food cost, because if I stayed home I would still have to eat anyways. And I would be eating from the grocery store anyways, so the food cost is the same whether I take the trip or stay at home. Eliminate the food cost and it is $285 for 5 days of great hunting.
    Well said!

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Southern WI
    Posts
    8

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    Jackrabbit yes very well said. My son and I are heading out Sunday from WI and will be hunting Monday - Friday. We are both so jacked up about this but NOT the killing of the birds. We will be more than happy just seeing wild birds and enjoying a hunt we have wanted to do for years. My father and I always talked about doing this and never did. He is not able to get around these days and I will never experience this with my dad. I will NOT have my son saying that. 1 bird or 30 birds we will have the pheasant hunt of our lives and are already planning on doing this every year.

    For those in SD yes we are bringing some of our own food with but we have every intention of getting most of it in SD. Since we are buying it anyway might as well buy it local to where we will consume it.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    229

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elkhounds View Post
    For those in SD yes we are bringing some of our own food with but we have every intention of getting most of it in SD. Since we are buying it anyway might as well buy it local to where we will consume it.
    And I just want to clarify, I'm not saying avoid the local restaurants. Just that a budget trip can be done if you really want to. It is also very enjoyable to get breakfast and coffee with the locals in a small town cafe and enjoy the evening steakhouse and watering hole. Great connections and lifetime friends or potential hunting land can be had!

  9. #29

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    My very first year in SD 2015 I hunted on a $1000 budget, 10 days of hunting and driving all the way from the west coast. I have having terrible luck finding local wild birds to get my 1 year old pup on and my wife convinced me to sell a gun I didnít need and head for SD. The wife accompanied me on the trip. We stayed at the cheapest motel we could find, bought frozen meals from the local market to heat up in the microwave in the room for breakfast and dinner and made sandwiches for out in the field. Weíve been going to SD every year since but that first year on a budget was our most memorable trip because we ďmade it happenĒ. Our pup flipped the switch that year bagging just under 30 birds in 10 days, we realized anything possible if you want it bad enough, and we learned South Dakota winters are not very forgiving as we drove the truck off the iced road, didnít have enough warm clothes and both wondered what we got ourselves into. We reminisce about it every year as we pack for our road trip out. Just thought Iíd share. Happy hunting to all this 2019 season!!

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Cato NY
    Posts
    17

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    This years opener was very different from previous years, we normally hunt private grounds but have hunted some public if it has water. My house lost part of a support wall to the spring floods. We had a very hard time getting to the cattails and the sloughs on the private grounds as the roads were still under water. Three roads we needed have been washed out including their culverts that haven't been replaced yet, another driver was seriously hurt driving in into one of the wash outs.
    We found out we are not very good at road hunting, however we made friends with some new farmers and have lined up some additional grounds for next year.
    I think the crop situation looks to be about 45 days delayed and doesn't look good for harvesting this year. some of surrounding fields didn't get harvested from last year. The real good news is the birds are there in good numbers, we saw several hundred. Our group saw over 100,000 waterfowl in the stock tanks and fields.
    this year will probably go down as one of the worst years but I think future years will benefit from the conditions

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