2015-2016 Season thoughts...

100%IL

New member
With the season now closed for both north and south, wanted to hear everyone's comments on how they thought the season went and their hopes for the future of pheasant hunting in IL.

My season started early in SD with a lot of birds seen but not many in the bag. First time ever going out there so it will be an experience I will never forget. Opener in IL was done on some public ground followed by a few more public ground hunts. The amount of birds we saw was amazing (truly some of the highest I've seen in awhile).

Hopefully the powers that be in Springfield can remove their heads from their rears and get this state back on the right track to prosperity. I also hope to see more marketing for conservation practices (CRP, delayed mowing, cover crops) in the coming years with the falling commodity prices. My long term hope is to see 250k hunters and 1M birds again in Illinois.

Getting close to banquet season so be sure to support your local PF chapter and get involved, the only way we can see the birds increase is with everyone's help.
 

1pheas4

Super Moderator
I didn't spend much time in the field this past season but from what I saw it seemed birds were up a bit in many areas. Also, talking with a few people from the area, it seemed as if they too were seeing more birds. Some reports were coming from deer hunters who were hunting near grassland areas, farmers, and a trapper who bumped a bunch of wild pheasants while checking his trap-line.

This winter has been okay thus far. The ice layer on the ground here in the northern part of the state seems to be opening up a bit/here and there due to some warmer days. That can only help some very hungry birds. More cold is on the way, then another warm up. We'll have a better idea as to how the birds fair this winter by the end of February/beginning of March.


Our birds really need a few good years of dryer, warm springs. If so, I believe we will see a nice bump in our pheasant numbers. Since 2006 or so our spring weather has been very hard on nesting hens. Too wet and too cool. Consider how much of our remaining habitat is low land and it's no wonder why they keep getting flooded out.

Another note; as the internet continues to inform people that Illinois pheasants are still out there---I'm hopeful we had another season with an increase in pheasant hunter participation this past fall. Reports will tell later this year.

100%IL--your hope for a 1 million bird harvest is also the long term goal of the ILDNR. God willing, with a lot of hard work and the right amount of funds it will some day it happen again.

Nick
 
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ROCK

New member
I pheasant hunt alot here,hunting Ford,Livingston and Iroquios counties and this year was not all that good.Saw alot more birds last year.I have sole rights to some great properties and knew right from opening day,it wasn't going to be a good year.This was also the wost year I have ever seen for running/skidish birds.I run a pointing dog which I also trial so I only shoot birds that are pointed and did have to pass on quite afew birds that refused to hold for the dog(not over pressured by the dog),just very spooky.Have a farm that I can't hunt untill after deer gun season(owner's family likes to deer hunt)It's 170 acres of solid crp that the first day I hunted it,just me and my dog,had almost every bird flush over a 100 yards ahead of the dog.Seemed that when one bird got up,it caused a chain reaction.Out of 40 some birds seen that day three hens and one rooster were the only ones to hold for points.The other times I hunted that property this year,it was the same story.I like seeing birds be smart and evasive but to a point!!Since no one pheasant hunts this property,my only guess is the coyotes harrass these birds alot.
As you said Nick,we really need a good nesting season,weather wise to get these birds on the right track.
 

ehudgens

Member
Totally agree Rock. I mainly hunt Iroquois county. This was my worst season in over thirty years. I didn't have any issues with birds being more skittish than usual, just a lack of birds. Hope for a mild winter and better nesting conditions.

My South Dakota trip was great Very concerned with the long term hunting prospects up there to. There is a ton of crp acres coming out every year.
 

1pheas4

Super Moderator
This was also the wost year I have ever seen for running/skidish birds.
We had an "okay" hatch this far north, but for the areas just south of here, and where you two speak of it seemed many reports were the same; older skidish birds. Even as far north as Lee County I experienced the same issue (running birds).

There's some a warm up on the way this week. These older birds have good fat reserves. They know the areas they inhabit well. If we have some decent nesting conditions this spring they can bounce back very fast. We'll see.
 

UplandHntr

Active member
I sure hope youre right Nick. I'll be hittin it hard this Fall! Actually feels good to say 'this' Fall instead of next Fall. We're in the right year! Im already looking at Montana info already..
 

1pheas4

Super Moderator
Yeah! Here's to this fall:cheers:

You know I think between weather, schedules, and in your case dogs, this past season had an "off" feel to it. Plus it seemed to end as soon as it started! God willing this fall will be a better story for many of us.

Mike, I picked up on a nice area to work your pup once she's big enough to run through some cover. I can't hunt it because (despite being in the county/ag) its incorporated. It holds birds and is small enough to break in your dog.

Nick
 

AtTheMurph

New member
I'm surprised by Rock and Hudg's comments. I hunt Iroquois and have for close to 20 years and this year was one of the best seasons I've seen in the past dozen or so.

Not only did I see more birds this year than in years but the cocks held for my dog more than in the past. It has gotten so bad that every good point I used to see meant a hen, but not this season. Most were cocks.

I saw more multiple flushes than I have in a long time, maybe ever. I saw 12 bird flushes, 7 bird flushes and one 20+ bird flush along with multiple other 3s 4s and 5s. Used to see one half dozen a year and feel grateful.

Last day out I watched the edge of the field we were going to hunt as a Marsh hawk hovered up ahead about 200yds. I could see literally 40-50 birds on the edge of the field.

Had spots produce 25-40 birds that have in the past 10 years produce maybe 10 and the majority were cocks. Seemed like the birds were very segregated this year by sex, more so than in the past. Early in the season and later in the season didn't seem to matter. It was cocks or hens.
 

UplandHntr

Active member
Yeah! Here's to this fall:cheers:

You know I think between weather, schedules, and in your case dogs, this past season had an "off" feel to it. Plus it seemed to end as soon as it started! God willing this fall will be a better story for many of us.

Mike, I picked up on a nice area to work your pup once she's big enough to run through some cover. I can't hunt it because (despite being in the county/ag) its incorporated. It holds birds and is small enough to break in your dog.

Nick
whenever youre ready! This lil shit is in beast mode! :D If I can control her speed and enthusiasm, she's going to be a good one! Ive been burying the chukars in the bushes etc etc and shes on them like a bullet. Not gun shy either.

edited to add: need to wait until the snow-ice is gone. I did a friggen half gainer with a twist last weekend running the dogs in Wilmot. Sweet mercy I was seeing stars before I knew what happened!!
 
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1pheas4

Super Moderator
Lol....whoa boy:D I think she has some growing to do first. It's thick stuff back there.

That's great news that she's already ready to rock and roll:thumbsup:

Nick
 

1pheas4

Super Moderator
I'm surprised by Rock and Hudg's comments. I hunt Iroquois and have for close to 20 years and this year was one of the best seasons I've seen in the past dozen or so.

Not only did I see more birds this year than in years but the cocks held for my dog more than in the past. It has gotten so bad that every good point I used to see meant a hen, but not this season. Most were cocks.

I saw more multiple flushes than I have in a long time, maybe ever. I saw 12 bird flushes, 7 bird flushes and one 20+ bird flush along with multiple other 3s 4s and 5s. Used to see one half dozen a year and feel grateful.

Last day out I watched the edge of the field we were going to hunt as a Marsh hawk hovered up ahead about 200yds. I could see literally 40-50 birds on the edge of the field.

Had spots produce 25-40 birds that have in the past 10 years produce maybe 10 and the majority were cocks. Seemed like the birds were very segregated this year by sex, more so than in the past. Early in the season and later in the season didn't seem to matter. It was cocks or hens.
Murph, this is great news. I'm glad to hear that you saw so many roosters this past fall Did you happen to keep track of the young birds vs. older birds? If so, what percentage would you say were first year birds?
 

AtTheMurph

New member
Murph, this is great news. I'm glad to hear that you saw so many roosters this past fall Did you happen to keep track of the young birds vs. older birds? If so, what percentage would you say were first year birds?
Most were first year birds. Probably 75/25 or there about. We did kill several older/bigger birds.

Was weird this year. When we saw cocks - WE SAW COCKS! When we saw hens we saw almost all hens. My biddy who lives in Iroquois Co said the same thing when he went out without me. He had cocks busting all over when they got into them.

I think the weather in the late spring was so spotty that small changes in geography had big affects on bird nesting. The farmers all mentioned that just a little this way or that way made huge differences in their yields. One guy had fields yield 50 bushel corn and 1/2 mile a way had fields yield 250. The rains were that erratic.
 

1pheas4

Super Moderator
That's strange for early season Murph.:confused: Your young vs old ratio was an obvious sign of a good hatch! If you can, this coming fall keep those photos coming:D

On another note; So far so good for wild Illinois pheasants this winter. January was tough on the birds in the northern part of the state, but they seem to be fairing okay. This warm up has exposed more open ground too.

Nick
 

Cody

New member
Sorry for not staying on topic

Dose any one on here know any one that is breeding pups for this year? I'm looking for an English setter.
 
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