You should never shoot young birds. Wait until November 12.Felt squirrelish last week and bought a 28 ga for the opener. Cleaned it, oiled it, and, without having fired a shot, made my way to southwest MN. Saw fewer birds than last year (which was also noticeably down from previous years), especially on roads and flying in and out of corn/grass during golden hours, but I shot my limits both days with minimal effort. Not sure I'm totally sold on the 28 for pheasants, but opening day birds in MN are not yet very educated in my experience, and there are often young birds in the mix, so I took a flier and it worked out. I'd always been pretty dismissive of 28 gauges for big birds, and it was good to teach myself a lesson. I missed one wood duck jumped off a pond, but otherwise didn't get a chance to test it out on decoying ducks, which is my only regret, cause there's no way I'm bringing that thing to my duck blind, nice as it is to carry. I think I'll be carrying a 16 in SoDak and Iowa or later in the season in Minnesota, but the 28 ga is gonna get a workout on Missouri and Kansas quail.
Good report, Bob. Hunting at Excelsior?St. Boni?I went out Saturday, got to my spot really early, first one there. It was a decent sized piece for a lone hunter, a guy pulled up at 8:30 and asked to hunt with me. We talked for a minute and I said sure. He had a pointing dog and I had a retriever. The property was surrounded by corn on 90% of its border and it had all come out in the last four days. I thought it would be an awesome hunt. We walked the entire property and only put up one hen and one rooster that exited thick cover and no shot offered. It was about the most disappointed I've ever been after hunting a spot. Just can't believe how terrible it was, especially with the corn gone. I don't know if I'd ever hunt that spot again! Saturday afternoon hunting alone a rooster flushed in some trees and I had a bead and almost shot, but just couldn't get the positive I.D. in time, and when he hit the tops and the jetstream I saw his white ring as he hit warp speed and off over the slough he went. Tried some private stuff at the golden hour but only flushed really young birds and I didn't shoot. I leave them until after November 12th. Sunday I was thinking of taking a pass, had stuff going on during the day. Decided I better go out for the golden hour, went to the same WMA I hit a year ago on the same day, and sure enough we flushed a nice rooster and I only had to use one shell and we had our opener pheasant. This was hunting really close to the twin cities suburbs too! I took vacation the end of this week and will be going somewhere in MN, probably far west part of the state, I need to actually get a limit of birds one of these days! Sorry for blurry picture, very windy and excited dog make it tough to get a sharp photo.View attachment 4287
Hmmm, how would you accurately age a rooster on the wing? Always willing to listen. I’ve shot a lot of pheasants in my life but I’ve never been able to see their primary feathers on the wing well enough to accurately age them without having the bird in hand and spreading out the wing and counting to see where they are at in the molt. Or are you talking about little white-headed late-hatch chicks?You should never shoot young birds. Wait until November 12.
I believe in giving pheasants a chance to live.I think November 10 is about right for first hunt.Hmmm, how would you accurately age a rooster on the wing? Always willing to listen. I’ve shot a lot of pheasants in my life but I’ve never been able to see their primary feathers on the wing well enough to accurately age them without having the bird in hand and spreading out the wing and counting to see where they are at in the molt. Or are you talking about little white-headed late-hatch chicks?