Bird sightings

1pheas4

Super Moderator
Thanks for the updates. Mchenry County-- I saw some wild roosters earlier this week. Also heard some cackling as they came out of the corn and into roosting cover. I haven't had time to check on bird numbers at all this past summer and fall, but by the way things are looking I'd have to say wild pheasant numbers will be up from last year which was the worst I've seen in a long time. Spring conditions where not good but turned around for the better later in the nesting season and chick rearing season.

Opening day is tomorrow. If anyone gets out there this weekend please post what you're seeing. If possible post some pictures.
 

1pheas4

Super Moderator
Any updates out there? I saw a half dozen wild pheasants flush at the last push from a combine here in Mchenry County. Blew it with my camera though. That was a bummer. Anyway, the birds looked mature. No indication of a late hatch (in those birds at least).

My buddy farms a good chunk of land around here. He said he's been seeing a good number of birds this year (while combining). That's a good sign.
 

AtTheMurph

New member
So I hunted yesterday for the first time this year in Iroquois Co. 7 different spots. In the first three put up only one cock and bagged it. Dog made a great find and retrieve which was really nice since I hadn't given him any work.

Next spot we saw 7 plus one lone quail. 1 cock 6 hens.

Next little ditch we put up about 40, 35 at least were hens. Had them blowing out both sides but I was never presented a shot and the rest of the party came up empty.

Next spot saw 42 and we bagged 4 cocks. Saw 6 cocks and the rest hens..

Last spot put up 19 birds and bagged only one that my buddy and I had to chase 3/4 mile across a corn field. We did finally get the dog on it. That was a ball buster but quite happy we got it before it made the next ditch 1.5 miles away.

Saw tons and tons of hens. Probably close to 8-1 hens to cocks. Numbers are better this year than last and the bee pollen ground I think helps. Seems to be quite a bit more cover.
 

ehudgens

Member
Good to hear. Was up in South Dakota last week, so haven't made it down to Milford yet. Hope to get down next weekend. Kind of strange to see one lone quail. They are few and far between in Iroquois county. I'm with you, have high hopes for the pollen patches. It's gotta help, especially in nesting season. Good luck with the rest of your season.
 

AtTheMurph

New member
Good to hear. Was up in South Dakota last week, so haven't made it down to Milford yet. Hope to get down next weekend. Kind of strange to see one lone quail. They are few and far between in Iroquois county. I'm with you, have high hopes for the pollen patches. It's gotta help, especially in nesting season. Good luck with the rest of your season.
I found out today that the farmer planted 10 quail last week. He said the hawks got them all. Maybe not all!
 

AtTheMurph

New member
So a 2nd hand report from south of Springfield. Know a guy who hunts over there and he said they saw close to 150 pheasants on opening day. I find that incredible since I don't think they have great cover.
 

1pheas4

Super Moderator
haven't made it down to Milford yet. Hope to get down next weekend.
Thanks for the updates. It's good to hear there seems to be more birds this season compared to last seasons lows.

ehudgens, did you make it out there (Milford yet)? If so what did you see?


Here's a wild Illinois pheasant from yesterday. There were good numbers of birds. They seem to be bunched up already too.
IMG_7844 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/151633916@N05/, on Flickr
 
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1pheas4

Super Moderator

ehudgens

Member
I was down on Saturday morning. I do have a couple of hot spots that always have birds. I probably should have hit a couple of spots to do some prospecting, but I was pretty short for time, because I was heading over to Ohio to hunt ducks on Monday and Tuesday.

Pull into a crp field that is in the middle of a section. I really don't think people know this field is there. Can't see it from a road, and it's hard to get to. Pulled in, loaded up, and let my dog out. I literally just started walking and my dog locked up. Two roosters got up and I killed both of them. So I was done in about 1 minute.

Kind of bittersweet. Always nice to shoot a limit, but that's a little quick. So I guess I don't have much of a report since I only hunted 1 spot, and really didn't even hunt any of it.

I'm heading down next week to hunt some ditches hope to have a better report.
 

AtTheMurph

New member
From your report I believe there are 12,631 pheasants per acre in Iroquois County. I had my wife who graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Math check my work. Apparently I was off. There are 12,634.)
 

1pheas4

Super Moderator
From your report I believe there are 12,631 pheasants per acre in Iroquois County. I had my wife who graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Math check my work. Apparently I was off. There are 12,634.)
Those numbers seem about right to me Murph. Give or take a few. Up here in the northern part of the state the bird numbers aren't quite as high but still around 9,000 birds per acre (in grassland areas). I"m almost to the point of throwing stones at them just to make it a challenge.
 

ehudgens

Member
Maybe not quite that high. Karma is a bitch. Was down early Saturday morning, and hunted a couple of ditches south of Sheldon that have done well in the past. First one I saw 10 hens and one rooster. 8 of the hens were rock solid points. Second ditch had a nice filter strip on each side. It's a 1/2 mile walk down and back. 6 or so rock solid points on hens, and 2 roosters that flushed wild.

Head down to Prairie Green area. First ditch nothing. Second ditch dog pointed 4 hens didn't see a rooster. One more spot I wanted to check on by Wellington. Get out of the truck, 3 roosters flush before I shut the truck door. Walked the east side. Noting, and came back on the west side. Dog pointed where small ditch intersects the ditch I was walking. One hen got up, and a rooster flushed wild in the corn stalks to far to shoot. That was it. Had to be back on the road by 11. So only got skunked, but saw birds in all but one spot. All in all a great morning. Had some great dog work, and saw a few birds.

Had to shovel out from a foot of snow at home Monday morning. Haven't talked to my mom, but sounds like mostly rain in Milford. These early snows are hard on birds, so hopefully Milford area can stay snow free for a while. Hope to be back down in a week or so.
 

1pheas4

Super Moderator
Had to shovel out from a foot of snow at home Monday morning. Haven't talked to my mom, but sounds like mostly rain in Milford. These early snows are hard on birds, so hopefully Milford area can stay snow free for a while. Hope to be back down in a week or so.
I was a little concerned too. All that rain that came with a cold front afterward can turn snow into a hard shell. Thankfully it was warm enough, long enough to melt most of it.
 

ehudgens

Member
Went down to Milford on the 26th. Hit 3 beautiful small crp fields that were good to me last year. Didn’t see 1 bird, and my dog never got birdy. I went to an old reliable spot just south of town, and we finally got on a few birds. Dog pointed 7 hens and 2 roosters flushed wild on the first pass. On the second pass back to the truck 2 more points on hens. About 50 yards from the truck my dog locked up, and of course I was looking right into the sun. Hen flushed then a rooster. Had to wait on the rooster due to the sun and thankfully he made a left turn and I bagged him. I’m prone to miss if I have to wait, but made sure I had my cheek on the stock. Had to quit at 11:30 to meet my mom.

Still think there’s birds in the first 3 fields. Huge frost and I got a late start so grass was very wet. I think the birds left early and were loafing in the corn stalks. I don’t think birds like to be wet. Especially when it’s warm enough for them to be in the open. Fun to get down. Gonna go one more time one the 6th.
 

ehudgens

Member
Made my last trip to Milford on Sunday. Got down at 7:30. First spot east of Stockland I saw 6 hens and no roosters. Dog pointed 3 hens on in the filter strip next to the ditch, the other 3 hens flushed wild. Hit my send spot at 8:30, which is a crp field in the middle of a section. Almost got stuck getting to it. Had a couple of pucker moments driving through the bean field. It was warm so the ground was thawing out. Was worried about getting stuck on the way out. So I was just going to make 1 pass through down and back. Dog pointed before we even got into the field. He catwalked in and locked up, rooster got up, and I killed it. 10 or so birds got up 100 or so yards away after I shot. At least 7 roosters in the group. They flew out into a cornstalk field. Made the walk to the end. Saw 2 hens and 1 rooster that flushed wild. Got to the end and the dog locked up standing in 3 inches of water. Rooster got up and I bagged him. I got the hell out of there. Kind of weaved my way out of the field avoiding any low spots and managed to get out. I was really sweating getting out of there. Was on my home by 9 am.

All in all a pretty good season. Had some luck go my way this year. As I get older I really enjoy hunting by myself. Still like hunting with buddies, but I have a few sweet spots that are typically good to me and am reluctant to take anyone to them. Starting to get like my old man that way. Lets hope for a mild winter and good spring.
 

AtTheMurph

New member
Got out for final weekend. Saw about 20 birds, bagged 4 cocks in the group and had some great dog work plus a 5 hen flush. Mostly near Sheldon and one spot near Woodland.
 

1pheas4

Super Moderator
I checked on a few areas earlier today and saw two roosters feeding. They looked very healthy and alert. That was a welcomed sight, though normally this time of year (within this area of habitat and food plots) it holds a good number/group of wild pheasants larger than two birds. Hopefully these two were just doing their own thing and the group is spending time in another area for whatever reason. I'll keep checking on these areas in the coming weeks to see if the birds start showing up.


Last Saturday I briefly checked on these same areas. The snow (which has since melted) was 3/4 to the top of the cattails. On the plus side the habitat was still sitting upright and not flat on the ground from the snow. That's good news.

Also on Saturday my dad said he checked pheasants/sign on the northern end of the county. He didn't see anything but mentioned that he's seen birds hunker down as long as a week to wait out the weather.

That said, last weeks extreme weather has me a bit concerned for the birds in this part of the state. I'm sure we lost some birds with the record cold temperatures and blowing snow. Time will tell how many were lost.

Wild pheasants are a tough bird. With the right conditions and habitat they can bounce back fast. God willing we'll have a decent remainder of this winter.


Has anyone else seen and good or bad signs with the birds within the state? I would appreciate any feedback.

Thank you!
Nick
 

ehudgens

Member
Made it down for the opener on Saturday. Buddy of mine went with me. He’s got 2 five month old gsp pups.

It was pretty tough to say the least. Corn is still in everywhere around Milford. It was warm and muddy to.

We hunted 4 hours. Went to 5 spots. Saw birds in 4. My setter pointed 11 hens. One of the pups had a nice point in a small crp patch. Just one of those days where nothing went our way.

We didn’t fire a shot but we had a blast. His pups look very promising. Both hunted hard and didn’t do anything stupid. I just love young bird dogs. Nothing on this planet has more enthusiasm. Makes me want to get a new pup next year. Mine is 10, and is starting to show some old dog signs. He’s still a machine, just sleeps a lot more on the way home lol.

I’m in South Dakota now. Killed a limit today. 95% of corn still in and all the sloughs are full of water.

It’s been a crazy weather year!
 
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