A few observations from SD

carptom1

New member
So just returned from 5 days in SD and this is what I found

Lots of crops still in the field combined with warm temps made for some tough hunting. Hunted one day public and road ditches up around Gettysburg with limited success. Walked some awesome looking ditches really only had one shot all day that I passed on because I could not identify in time. Finished the day with a Steak at Mad Mary's with the bread pudding. I know Cattleman's gets a lot of run on here but Mad Mary's is a little more my speed. A 14OZ blackened strip with a lump of blue cheese/Jalapeno spread on top medium rare with the tin potatoes. Holy shit that was possibly the best steak I have ever eaten ( my wife says I always say that)

Day two hunted down south of Pierre. Lots of standing Milo and lots of birds. Managed to scratch a couple on really only 3 opportunities. My 9 year old Lab did manage a couple of retrieves and some good flushes so that was all I am there for anyway. PTM managed to find his first porkie of the trip. We ended up with 14 between 5 of us.

Day three. Hunting was a bit slow and had really found no birds by 2 or so. Did manage to find the biggest porkie I have ever seen. My dog had him pinned in some tall milo. He was standing tall tail going furiously but would not go in even after I told him too. I was sure he was on a bird at first, but he is not shy on getting after the birds as he has caught many a wild rooster so I knew it was something else. I looked over the milo and thought Holy shit that porkie was the size of a medium size dog. Unfortunately PTM's dog ended up with some in her mouth that needed to be pulled. We moved on to another field where we encountered two more porkies. In fact one of the Old Guy's with us realized he had ended up with a quill through his jeans and into his ball sack from the earlier removal process. ( I don't care who you are that is pretty darn funny right there :) ) I did managed a South Dakota Special at the end of the field. Had a rooster flush to my left out a ways that I whiffed on twice. Broke open the gun and shot the next two that flew over me. Saw a third coming out got the gun open and managed to slap one shell in the top barrel and dropped him too. Three birds in about a minute in a half with two reloads. Not bad for an old fat guy. ( we won't talk about the 2 shot whiff on the first one). We ended the day with 11 birds between the 5 of us with 3 lost birds and a lot of missing.

Day four. Moved to a different area with far less birds but at least no more porkies. Highlight of the day was watching PTM pop a bird my Lab put up with his side by side. Then watching the dog find the cripple in the tall cattails and dig him out. He was still going strong after four days. Me not so much. we did managed 12 birds between the 5 of us.

Day five. Really saw little in the morning I took off after Johnny B's golden got blasted by the skunk. I had to come back to work today and the 9 hr drive was looming. I was told they ended up with 11 between the 4 of them.

All and all a great trip. Bird numbers are definitely down where I hunt. I did have a shot at a limit everyday but that is concerning as we did not see many in quite a bit of great habitat. Lots of hawks and several coyotes so that does not help. Still the farm we ended at gave up nearly 600 hundred roosters in 200 hunting days just 4 years ago in the same habitat. I don't know if it will ever get back to that. It is time for another dog, and that makes me sad as I think of it this morning. I do see signs of him slowing down. We had to pull him out of the back of the truck Saturday night as he was cold wet and tired. But Sunday morning he was ready to go again. Well back to work until next time. Hope you guy's all have a good hunt when you go.


Ps. Be aware of your shots. Took one in the thumb at about 75 yards. Not fun.
 
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Woollybob

New member
Thanks for the report. Similar to what we saw - heat and standing crops make it difficult to judge the true population. Opener started well, but the heat moved in and all the public fields had been hit so things slowed quickly.

Once the crops and crowds are down, will hit SD again and reassess. The data point I am relying on now is youth opener - we probably kicked up about 2X birds vs last year in North-central SD.
 

PTM

New member
I would throw in that although I’ve had the privledge to hunt with Toms group when we put the smack down on them fairly quickly I didn’t have less fun on this trip in fact it was one of the most enjoyable. It did take a toll on our dogs with the longer hours in the field and porcupines for my younger dog. A guy could wait for better numbers in the coming years but 48 birds is still pretty good. Our dogs all have the same problem, they get old too fast. It sounds cliche but getting out with your friends and getting your dogs onto ground that is way better than the home front is what it’s all about, the success can’t entirely be measured by the bird count. I probably owe that old guy a dinner for taking a quill in the nads while helping pull quills from my dogs face.��
 

jonnyB

New member
One of Tom's "old guy's " reporting...fun trip and a lot of miles on the boots. As was stated earlier, hunting should improve as more crops are cut. Some of our favorite spots produced no birds, not even a hen...not good.

This was my first trip with a used A5-light 20. Love the gun! Having problems with the magazine cutoff lever, very difficult to pull. This gun is a 1994 version but seldom shot, everything is very stiff! Anyone have a solution to this issue?

Max the Golden is still very tired, not eating and suffering from a hot spot at the collar and residual effects of the skunk shot. He pointed one skunk earlier in the trip and I managed to pull him off. The next day another encounter but I wasn't close to him to pull him and he got blasted in the face. He's 8 yrs young and still going strong!

Looking forward to another trip - always a fun...
 
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Matt D

Member
Thanks for the great reports guys. One week from right now we will be about 5 hours in to our drive heading that way. Can’t wait!!
 

A5 Sweet 16

Member
Having problems with the magazine cutoff lever, very difficult to pull. This gun is a 1994 version but seldom shot, everything is very stiff! Anyone have a solution to this issue?
A5's are just that way. All you can do is keep it clean, oiled lightly & shoot as many pheasants as possible in order to loosen things up. And even then, don't expect a vast difference. Enjoy the stiffness of your awesome little shotgun!
 

dustin mudd

New member
Glad you all found birds , bet once it cools, and crops come out it can get better there? that said, you have beat my ratio of birds in Montana.
8 days out 7 roosters so far!
 

jonnyB

New member
Thanks for the guidance - will shoot sporting clay's with this gun and hope things loosen. Maybe a gunsmith has a fix for the magazine cutoff lever...
 

A5 Sweet 16

Member
Don't hold your breath. The only A5's I've seen that one might call "loose" are pretty darned old. My guess for the cutoff lever is that it would take a parts modification, which I, personally, wouldn't mess with. But yeah, if a good gunsmith can come up w/ something, more power to you. Good luck.
 

jonnyB

New member
The lever is very difficult to engage - getting your finger under to tab one almost needs a screwdriver to lift the lever. I have an very old A5 in a 12 ga. and the lever lifts easily, by comparison. Obviously was used over the years...

I do love the gun and my shooting has dramatically improved. Just need a fix on the lever...
 

Rude One

New member
Just got back from the Pierre area. It was pretty warm with temps in the low 60's. My dogs handled it pretty well considering. I had to make sure to keep them watered. I hunted 3.5 days and definitely put in some miles walking and driving. The crops were coming out fast and furious. I would say there was less than 40% of the corn in the field and probably about the same for the sun flowers. I shot 3,2 and 3 birds for the first three days and nothing on the last before I headed out. I think the bird numbers were about the same as last year. There were some pockets of birds but there were also many spots that I thought would hold something and the dogs never even got birdy. There were quite a few hunters out and about. I am pretty sure I saw a caravan of guys hunting for the Governors hunt. about 6 rigs and maybe 15 to 20 guys. Some of them looked pretty unfriendly. I thought bird hunting was about having a good time but I guess not. :) It seems like every year more cover gets mowed down. Also over the past 7 years then numbers just seem to keep declining. I was talking with the conservation officer and he was trying to get us to try and get more hunters out there because the number of hunters has been going down. Really nice guy.

Observations: The birds were almost always by corn or shelter belts. The walk-in-area program is a sham. Almost everyone of them is a cut wheat field or some barren wasteland. I saw one WIA that was grazed to nothing. Even the wet spots had no cover. Why pay these guys money to give access to something nobody is ever going to hunt. Heck the farmers I talked with agreed the WIA program is messed up. I guess it gives the state more acreage of public land to brag about. It is false advertising to say these are hunt-able. The School lands are the same thing. Those things are grazed to nothing so they really aren't worth mentioning as hunt-able public land. The good public land was being pounded by serveral people each day so that made things tough. I think it is going to be interesting to see if there is a continued decline in people hunting in SD. If you look at the drop in small game license around the country its not looking good. Not everyone wants to pay to play. Personally that style of hunting isn't my thing anyway. I love to be out there with my dogs and enjoying the surroundings. As the hunting places lease up more farm land for their operations it is getting harder to get access. Not impossible but much harder. It will be interesting to see where things go in the future.

All that being said I love hunting behind my dogs and there is nothing better than the sights and sounds of a bird flushing up close. Good luck to everyone heading out.
 

dag

New member
We just got back Monday from Pierre. We hunted north of there on private land and saw tons of birds. We also saw a bunch driving every morning. The property we were on still had most of, if not all of it sunflowers still in. We are heading back in 2.5 weeks and will hopefully have the same luck.
I was wondering if there was any decent sharptail hunting close to that area?
 

Benelli Rooster

New member
Just got back from the Pierre area. It was pretty warm with temps in the low 60's. My dogs handled it pretty well considering. I had to make sure to keep them watered. I hunted 3.5 days and definitely put in some miles walking and driving. The crops were coming out fast and furious. I would say there was less than 40% of the corn in the field and probably about the same for the sun flowers. I shot 3,2 and 3 birds for the first three days and nothing on the last before I headed out. I think the bird numbers were about the same as last year. There were some pockets of birds but there were also many spots that I thought would hold something and the dogs never even got birdy. There were quite a few hunters out and about. I am pretty sure I saw a caravan of guys hunting for the Governors hunt. about 6 rigs and maybe 15 to 20 guys. Some of them looked pretty unfriendly. I thought bird hunting was about having a good time but I guess not. :) It seems like every year more cover gets mowed down. Also over the past 7 years then numbers just seem to keep declining. I was talking with the conservation officer and he was trying to get us to try and get more hunters out there because the number of hunters has been going down. Really nice guy.

Observations: The birds were almost always by corn or shelter belts. The walk-in-area program is a sham. Almost everyone of them is a cut wheat field or some barren wasteland. I saw one WIA that was grazed to nothing. Even the wet spots had no cover. Why pay these guys money to give access to something nobody is ever going to hunt. Heck the farmers I talked with agreed the WIA program is messed up. I guess it gives the state more acreage of public land to brag about. It is false advertising to say these are hunt-able. The School lands are the same thing. Those things are grazed to nothing so they really aren't worth mentioning as hunt-able public land. The good public land was being pounded by serveral people each day so that made things tough. I think it is going to be interesting to see if there is a continued decline in people hunting in SD. If you look at the drop in small game license around the country its not looking good. Not everyone wants to pay to play. Personally that style of hunting isn't my thing anyway. I love to be out there with my dogs and enjoying the surroundings. As the hunting places lease up more farm land for their operations it is getting harder to get access. Not impossible but much harder. It will be interesting to see where things go in the future.

All that being said I love hunting behind my dogs and there is nothing better than the sights and sounds of a bird flushing up close. Good luck to everyone heading out.
Agree 100%. Well said. Can't wait to get going myself in a few days with my best hunting buddy and my "best friend" GSP!
 

mnbirdchaser

New member
Just got back from the Pierre area. It was pretty warm with temps in the low 60's. My dogs handled it pretty well considering. I had to make sure to keep them watered. I hunted 3.5 days and definitely put in some miles walking and driving. The crops were coming out fast and furious. I would say there was less than 40% of the corn in the field and probably about the same for the sun flowers. I shot 3,2 and 3 birds for the first three days and nothing on the last before I headed out. I think the bird numbers were about the same as last year. There were some pockets of birds but there were also many spots that I thought would hold something and the dogs never even got birdy. There were quite a few hunters out and about. I am pretty sure I saw a caravan of guys hunting for the Governors hunt. about 6 rigs and maybe 15 to 20 guys. Some of them looked pretty unfriendly. I thought bird hunting was about having a good time but I guess not. :) It seems like every year more cover gets mowed down. Also over the past 7 years then numbers just seem to keep declining. I was talking with the conservation officer and he was trying to get us to try and get more hunters out there because the number of hunters has been going down. Really nice guy.

Observations: The birds were almost always by corn or shelter belts. The walk-in-area program is a sham. Almost everyone of them is a cut wheat field or some barren wasteland. I saw one WIA that was grazed to nothing. Even the wet spots had no cover. Why pay these guys money to give access to something nobody is ever going to hunt. Heck the farmers I talked with agreed the WIA program is messed up. I guess it gives the state more acreage of public land to brag about. It is false advertising to say these are hunt-able. The School lands are the same thing. Those things are grazed to nothing so they really aren't worth mentioning as hunt-able public land. The good public land was being pounded by serveral people each day so that made things tough. I think it is going to be interesting to see if there is a continued decline in people hunting in SD. If you look at the drop in small game license around the country its not looking good. Not everyone wants to pay to play. Personally that style of hunting isn't my thing anyway. I love to be out there with my dogs and enjoying the surroundings. As the hunting places lease up more farm land for their operations it is getting harder to get access. Not impossible but much harder. It will be interesting to see where things go in the future.

All that being said I love hunting behind my dogs and there is nothing better than the sights and sounds of a bird flushing up close. Good luck to everyone heading out.
My group has been hunting the same general area at the same time for 4 years and although we saw more birds on the roads, there were hardly any birds on public land. Everyone we talked to at the hotel and bar said the same thing. We might try later in the year next year. Most of the crops hadn't been harvested so that attributed to some of the lack of success. The drought was really bad on the birds last year, but we managed more birds on public ground.
 

sdviking

New member
Just finished helping with some corn Combining West and south of Mobridge along the Missouri River. Was very impressed with the number of pheasants I saw each day. We were harvesting for a rather large land owner that lives out of state. Not sure if he hunts or lets other hunt his property. As an East river farmer I was very impressed with the pheasant numbers in the corn with some pigeon grass with sloughs next to the corn fields. SDviking
 

Kansan

New member
Just got done with a 3 day trip hunting public in east central SD. 3 days, 4, guys, 2 dogs. Didn’t kill a bird. Very few birds on public land, and the ones we did see were wilder than a March hare. Disappointing to say the least, but I’ll be back in December to try it again, hopefully with better results.
 

OKhunter88

New member
Just got back from my first trip to South Dakota and it was awesome! I got there last Saturday about 2:30 and started hunting. I hunted South Central the first afternoon and then moved North to various areas for the next 6 days hunting public land. Ended up shooting 18 pheasant and 1 sharptail (I gave 3 pheasant away to a guy that left early and had only shot 1 bird just to make sure i stayed within the possession limit). The birds are out there, just have to work for it a little. I hunted by myself for the first 5 days and then hunt with 1 or 2 guys the last 2 days.
 

Kansan

New member
UPDATE: Driving back home to Kansas, I decided to stop by a piece of public near Sioux Falls for the heck of it. Wouldn’t you know it, 100 yards from the truck the dog gets up a rooster and hen, and I dumped the rooster. On the board in South Dakota!
 

BrdHntr

New member
UPDATE: Driving back home to Kansas, I decided to stop by a piece of public near Sioux Falls for the heck of it. Wouldn’t you know it, 100 yards from the truck the dog gets up a rooster and hen, and I dumped the rooster. On the board in South Dakota!
Congrats Kansan!
No better way to finish a tough trip!!
 
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