2020 Report

HS Strut

Active member
Tough hunting in Indiana for us upland guys.
I bought an illinois license for a draw hunt(unsuccessful) but haven't ventured across the state line


back in the '90's and early 2000's, I hunted just outside Kentland along one of the drainage ditches a friend of mine owned. We use to be able to get our limited along that mile long ditch. Unfortunately, the farms around that area cleaned up the farmland, took out fence rows, and planted crows up to the edge of the ditch. No more buffer strips. Now, you have to walk a mile to see the first bird. Now, I drive to either NW Iowa or SD for wild pheasants.


Active member
On the places in Indiana that have cover, there are birds. Just not that many. Illinois seems to have better cover or at least I have more access to cover over there. My friend said on opening day in Illinois they had a 50 bird flush at one of the spots we normally hunt. Haven't seen that in probably 10-15 years.
I have been able to bag a couple roosters in Indiana each year since I moved further north. This year I was fortunate to get an invite to check out some private land and had a hunt reminiscent of mixed bag hunts we experience in Kansas. I often do not pull the trigger on quail, but did shoot my 4 bird limit on this day and a rooster. There was something about this property that we moved half a dozen pheasants and 3(maybe 4 due to size of one group of 20 plus birds) coveys. My dogs were able to point every covey and a couple of pheasants, others flushed wild. Every covey was very healthy. What was evident in the area is that a lot private land owners seemed to be investing into habitat as there was a lot of strip cover and field corners left that seemed to greatly benefit the upland population. Even saw quail along the road while driving around. It did not feel like I was in Indiana. Birds are out there, just very isolated due a lack of larger expanses of habitat.


I was drawn for one of the game bird areas. Birds were there just flushing wild. Obviously had been hunted.


New member
My father was drawn for one of the game bird areas this year. 3 of us hunted the property in December. We killed 4 roosters (one was just winged and we were not able to find it as it ran across the county road and onto some private property). We saw probably 25 hens. This is the first time we have hunted one of these properties. There are pheasants in the state but they have to have habitat.


Active member
My son and I have been hunting birds together since the early 1990's, in North Central Indiana where I live, when he was younger and now still in Indiana but also in Illinois, Iowa and South Dakota. The hunting out west can be wonderful if you know where to go. When there was a lot of CRP in the 90's we shot ducks, pheasants and quail here in Indiana within15 minutes of home; now, we can do that with ducks but there's little upland cover for pheasants and quail. We've been drawn for the Gamebird Habitat Stamp hunts at least 6 times since then. I've noticed there are significant differences in the covers on the farms we've been drawn to hunt. Some have good numbers of birds, some not so much. Early on, there seemed to be lots of pheasants on the Benton and Newton County farms we were drawn for, and we usually took 3 hunters, with all limiting out (2 birds/hunter in Indiana). It seemed the DNR took pains to really manage the cover on those farms for optimum habitat, with plenty of food plots and heavy grasses to get the birds through the winter. But we hunted a Habitat Stamp farm this fall, just east of Fowler, IN with 2 good dogs, where despite a rather large acreage provided, little management had been done in terms of food plots and the surrounding acreage was not all in row crops; seemed to us like nearby food was lacking. We saw only 3 pheasants, 2 roosters and one hen on over 200 acres, and only one shot presented itself. We did get that bird, but were disappointed overall at the lack of birds.