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Thread: Ice Conditions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Sioux Falls, SD
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    Default Ice Conditions

    No offense, but I laughed at the guys who were so certain that by this time of the season all this water would become a non-issue. I was right. Still an issue. In the areas I hunt, open areas (no cattails) in sloughs are walkable. But even after a week of single-digit highs & some bitter cold still nights, cattails are iffy. Some are OK. Some aren't. Went through today, both feet, up to my nuts...twice. (2nd time during the 20' effort to get back to terra firma) Also, bear in mind that many of these areas of abnormally high water....have outlets. Meaning water is still flowing out of them. This not only means open-water creeks (yes...still unfrozen), but cruddy ice on top of & near flowing water. And those little creeks this year are DEEP!
    Last edited by A5 Sweet 16; 12-16-2019 at 12:14 AM.
    "Most pheasants in South Dakota don't react too well to #5s." -The Hunt for Red Rooster

  2. #2

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    Yep, they are nasty this year. I was in ND where the snow was drifted a couple feet deep in the cats. Went in up to my waist, fortunately had a solid bottom and used my gun to brace on the ice as I crawled out. Dog stood and watched me. Than we got a rooster as I sloshed back to the car. Never had gotten more than damp feet in that spot before. With all the snow they will probably never freeze solid until the season is over.

  3. #3

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    Cattail sloughs are a hotbed of exothermic decomposition. Keeps ice from getting strong.

  4. #4
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    Oct 2009
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    Wonder if light-weight chest waders are the answer for semi frozen sloughs? Obviously one should continue to be intelligent about thin ice. Waders would force one to go very slow...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Sioux Falls, SD
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    For my hunting, the only real answer to going through ice in cattails....is to stay out of the cattails. Unfortunately, with my mindset, that's not always an option. It had been the only option up until this weekend, but no more. I could walk on most of them this weekend, but just came upon an area that for some reason the ice was no good. My best guess is because it was near (maybe 150 yds) a tiny creek that emptied into the main slough. My theory is that the creek water is warmer & produced some strange, under-ice eddies much further from the creek than I would have guessed possible. While I KNOW cattails are iffy for several reasons (exothermic crap going on beneath, insulation by snow, creeks maybe), I still get wet every year because that's where the birds are. That's the insanity of it, plain & simple. Out there in sub-zero temps, walking on crappy ice...just to let my dog do his thing & shoot a bird for him. At least I realize by now that only 1 thing will change my mind, and I believe I'm just smart enough to avoid any situations that are truly life threatening. I hope I'm right.
    "Most pheasants in South Dakota don't react too well to #5s." -The Hunt for Red Rooster

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by A5 Sweet 16 View Post
    For my hunting, the only real answer to going through ice in cattails....is to stay out of the cattails. Unfortunately, with my mindset, that's not always an option. It had been the only option up until this weekend, but no more. I could walk on most of them this weekend, but just came upon an area that for some reason the ice was no good. My best guess is because it was near (maybe 150 yds) a tiny creek that emptied into the main slough. My theory is that the creek water is warmer & produced some strange, under-ice eddies much further from the creek than I would have guessed possible. While I KNOW cattails are iffy for several reasons (exothermic crap going on beneath, insulation by snow, creeks maybe), I still get wet every year because that's where the birds are. That's the insanity of it, plain & simple. Out there in sub-zero temps, walking on crappy ice...just to let my dog do his thing & shoot a bird for him. At least I realize by now that only 1 thing will change my mind, and I believe I'm just smart enough to avoid any situations that are truly life threatening. I hope I'm right.
    Yes we go where the birds are and hope we have enough common sense to avoid the really "bad" spots, unless we are absolutely sure there are birds there. I was worried when I got my artificial knee that falling through the ice would be a really bad thing to happen. Nope, it isn't any worse that with the real knee. They are both wet, cold and miserable.

  7. #7
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    Jan 2007
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    Spring Grove, IL
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    As hard as it is trying to climb out of chest high water on to the ice - I cant fathom trying that with chest waders on. No thanks
    Mike

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Sioux Falls, SD
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan swamp collies View Post
    Yes we go where the birds are and hope we have enough common sense to avoid the really "bad" spots, unless we are absolutely sure there are birds there. I was worried when I got my artificial knee that falling through the ice would be a really bad thing to happen. Nope, it isn't any worse that with the real knee. They are both wet, cold and miserable.
    I was soaked to the crotch, pants frozen, squishy boots. But oddly, even though it was only 10 degrees, I wasn't all that cold. It's amazing what long Johns can do. So I opted to continue hunting. But....the creek of which I speak (above) cut me off from where I really wanted to be. I stood there for a few minutes, pissed that I had to just turn around without being able to hunt my intended spot. And....saw several birds flitting around over there....taunting me. Luckily, the taunting was NOT severe enough to make me want to swim in ice water to get at 'em. But it did cross my mind.
    "Most pheasants in South Dakota don't react too well to #5s." -The Hunt for Red Rooster

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by A5 Sweet 16 View Post
    I was soaked to the crotch, pants frozen, squishy boots. But oddly, even though it was only 10 degrees, I wasn't all that cold. It's amazing what long Johns can do. So I opted to continue hunting. But....the creek of which I speak (above) cut me off from where I really wanted to be. I stood there for a few minutes, pissed that I had to just turn around without being able to hunt my intended spot. And....saw several birds flitting around over there....taunting me. Luckily, the taunting was NOT severe enough to make me want to swim in ice water to get at 'em. But it did cross my mind.
    tragedy is just around the corner, someone s bound to be unlucky eventually.....why risk it boys?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Sioux Falls, SD
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    Quote Originally Posted by hunter94 View Post
    tragedy is just around the corner, someone s bound to be unlucky eventually.....why risk it boys?
    Because..... pheasants!
    I've been duly warned.
    (as if this thread didn't begin as a safety "heads up")
    "Most pheasants in South Dakota don't react too well to #5s." -The Hunt for Red Rooster

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