Pheasants n More

Chuckntimber

New member
Hi
We have a trip planned to Pheasants N More in Belle Plain, Iowa this December. Just wondering if anyone here has been there and how it was.
Thanks
Chuckntimber
 

Frank C

New member
Went back in 1998 and 1999 before I had dogs. At that time they offered only wild bird hunting, now I think they offer pen birds if you so desire (and want to pay extra). Owner Dale Fisher and his family are great. Breakfast was included in the price. You'll be in an area that has both pheasant & quail. Accommodations are good and you should have a good time. Our first year was great, our second year we had a tool for a guide so we left a day early. If you have your own dogs you will be fine. If you don't, be sure to make your expectations crystal clear to your guide.
 

Chuckntimber

New member
Frank
Thanks for the reply. We do have our own dogs. We've been hunting SE ND for last 10 years or so and the birds just aren't what they once were. So we decided to try something different. Not sure what to expect as we hunted Hutterite property in ND and had access to thousands of acres. This will definitely be different, but hoping bird numbers will be up.
 

Frank C

New member
ChucknTimber,

Yes, Iowa is very intensively farmed we usually hunt 80% waterways which has good cover. As I recall, the biggest blocks of cover will be on public land. I go to Iowa every year to North Central area - best people on earth and the bird hunting is good too. It's not SD or ND so don't expect 100-bird flushes. The dogs will typically present opportunities for a daily limit, if you and your team shoot straight you will do fine. If you do hunt waterways or linear cover, be absolutely certain to post a blocker. You probably know this already, but it made a big difference in shootable birds for us. Enjoy your trip and good luck!!

Frank
 

Chuckntimber

New member
Just leaving Pheasants n More after our first trip there. I will try to give fair an honest report as I saw it.
First off, the lodge and owners were great. We had 4 guys in a large bedroom and 2 in another. I do believe it will sleep 14. 3 bathrooms and decent sitting area. It is not a high end lodge by any means, but was pretty much what we expected. They do a great job on breakfast each morning also.

Over 3 days of hunting our 6 hunters managed 30 roosters. We probably had opportunities at 10 more but failed to connect or flushed way ahead of us
We did not see any roadside birds as we have in the Dakota's. Our biggest flush was about 6 birds, not the 30 you would see in the Dakota's. The rooster to hen ratio was about 3 roosters to 1 hen, so quite happy there. Overall less birds seen than what past years we had in ND/SD. Conditions were extremely dry, so I would say that added to a few birds being walked by.

We hunted all grass fields. Much different than the slews and tree lines in SE ND. These grass fields did have some thickets that seemed to hold birds well. So from a walking standpoint it is totally different than ND. In Iowa we worked one spot the entire day, where in ND we could cover 4 or 5 different locations in the same day.
Personally I feel the Iowa hunt was much tougher on us and our dogs (Yes we and our dogs are getting older,lol)
Overall a good experience, but I would have to give ND/SD the edge based on what we saw this week.

Thank you to Dale, Joanne, Julie and Eric for an enjoyable 3 days away from work.
 

A5 Sweet 16

New member
Glad you had a good time. Not trying to be a downer at all here, but with a 3:1 rooster:hen ratio, it seems to me you were most likely seeing primarily pen-raised birds. If you expected wild birds (and assuming you guys & your dogs know what you're doing), it sounds like their wild bird numbers aren't good. But....at least you had some shooting & got over 1/2 way to your limits (which wouldn't be bad for this time of year, in Iowa, on wild birds). Now, if you paid for preserve hunting, I'd think you ought to at least be able to fairly easily SEE a limit's worth of roosters. Sounds like you only saw about 40 total. If you'd shot 30 wild birds, you'd have seen way more than 10 out of range this time of year. Again, not trying to make light of your experience, just offering my thoughts. I'm sure it was fun either way. You know what they say about the worst day pheasant hunting.
 

Chuckntimber

New member
Glad you had a good time. Not trying to be a downer at all here, but with a 3:1 rooster:hen ratio, it seems to me you were most likely seeing primarily pen-raised birds. If you expected wild birds (and assuming you guys & your dogs know what you're doing), it sounds like their wild bird numbers aren't good. But....at least you had some shooting & got over 1/2 way to your limits (which wouldn't be bad for this time of year, in Iowa, on wild birds). Now, if you paid for preserve hunting, I'd think you ought to at least be able to fairly easily SEE a limit's worth of roosters. Sounds like you only saw about 40 total. If you'd shot 30 wild birds, you'd have seen way more than 10 out of range this time of year. Again, not trying to make light of your experience, just offering my thoughts. I'm sure it was fun either way. You know what they say about the worst day pheasant hunting.


So A5 if these are pen raised birds, in your opinion, when would they have been released? Early in season or a day or two prior to our arrival? Also do you believe the "outfitter" is the one releasing them, or is this something the DNR is doing? We have never encountered pen raised so just trying to get a handle on everything. Thanks for your input....and yes it still was fun :)
 

A5 Sweet 16

New member
So A5 if these are pen raised birds, in your opinion, when would they have been released? Early in season or a day or two prior to our arrival? Also do you believe the "outfitter" is the one releasing them, or is this something the DNR is doing? We have never encountered pen raised so just trying to get a handle on everything. Thanks for your input....and yes it still was fun :)
I'm no expert on when preserve &/or pay-to-play operators release birds, but if they've got many hunters coming through there, my guess would be the majority had been released quite recently. Yes, I believe the outfitter is the one releasing them, as to my knowledge the IDNR doesn't do that, particularly on private land. According to PnM's website, they do offer preserve hunting, so I'm sure that by law they have to release at least as many birds as get shot as part of "preserve" hunts. At least that's what South Dakota law is. I'm sure Iowa is similar.

Just curious, did they tell you they were wild birds? What were your expectations going into it? Wild birds or "preserve" birds?
 
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IsThisHeaven?

New member
If you paid for a preserve hunt they release the birds in the morning before the hunt (put and take). If you paid for a wild bird hunt they were wild birds. If the preserve land is near where the wild bird hunts take place some released birds will mix in with the wild birds. The Iowa DNR does not release birds. Guides/outfitters are not licensed or regulated by the state of Iowa so they have no requirements for releasing a certain number of birds. The preserves I have been to here you pay by the bird, or you purchase a package. There are ways to tell a pen raised pheasant vs a wild pheasant. Pen raised pheasants' nostrils are much wider/more open, from having blinders on most of their lives.

There are very very few outfitters that offer pheasant hunts in Iowa any more. Iowa is quite different than South Dakota.
 

A5 Sweet 16

New member
If you paid for a wild bird hunt they were wild birds.
Or, they "supplemented" their wild stock - heavily. Again, in early/mid December, whether in IA or SD, there's simply no way to shoot 30 roosters, only see 10 others missed or out of range, and only 13 hens. Unless, of course, most of the roosters were released.
 
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IsThisHeaven?

New member
I agree with you. I hunt a few public areas in Iowa around preserves and have shot pen-raised roosters on the public. The differences I pointed out between Iowa and South Dakota were regarding outfitting/planting birds, which had been communicated incorrectly. If there is concern surrounding whether the birds were planted or not, a call to the outfitter may help to clear that up. There are very few pheasant hunting outfitters in Iowa, and the ones I am familiar with are not know to plant birds outside of their preserve areas. That may provide more accurate information than the speculation here.
 

Jack L

New member
I've hunted that area for years. You were shooting released birds. This year in the eastern half of the state we suffered a drought. There are simply not that many birds around. Glad you had a good time.
 
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