2017 hunting report


I have hunted SD 21 years in a row. I still saw a bunch of pheasants this year. More in 1 day than I'll see all year in IL. I didn't have any trouble shooting a limit every day, my point was the birds up there are down 50% from the 10 year average. My dad and I went every year. After he died, I love it so much that I've gone by myself the last 5 years.

The drought did have an impact last year in SD, but the underlying issue is the amount of CRP coming out every year. This is a very disturbing trend that is going to have a significant impact on the pheasant population everywhere. Every avid pheasant hunter needs to experience SD. There's nothing like it.

The late 80's through about 20013 were incredible in east central IL. It really is a hidden gem for pheasants. I just go back to my original post, and hope we get some good news in the 2018 farm bill this year.


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I've done SD and saw hundreds of birds too. reminded me of my first couple years hunting in IL (15-20yrs ago).

The very first ditch I hunted, not far from Hudgens we kicked up close to 100 pheasants and I had 30-40 boil out of one thicket. At another spot we pushed close to 200 birds across a pretty heavily traveled country road (has a state HWY designation). there were 4 cars lined up as they allowed the birds to run across the field in single file for what seemed like 2-3 minutes. It was amazing.

Problem is there is just not enough cover. Where ever we find cover we always find birds but those spots are becoming less and less.

I've thought about doing my own CRP program and paying a farmer or two to put in grass then post the living hell out of it try to keep people out. Some farmers do it themselves maybe others need a little help.
Even Livingston county and the counties around it had sights like that not all too long ago. Wild ringneck pheasants crossing through an open field to get to another field to feed or roost. Beautiful sights. Then within one year the bottom dropped out with a nasty winter and that was that. I miss those days. There's something special about wild Illinois pheasants.

Here's another lighter colored bird---this one was shot in McHenry County/last weekend. The last (wild Illinois) pheasant of my season. Surprisingly he was another late hatch bird with nubs for spurs. His crop was half full with corn.

wild illinois pheasant 2017 season by https://www.flickr.com/photos/151633916@N05/, on Flickr