Bird sightings

1pheas4

Super Moderator
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.

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!
We'll see how things turn out after the crops come out. We keep getting snow up here in this part of the state, then a melt-off so like most of the state and midwest, harvest has been slow. 3-5 inches tonight and tomorrow possible.

I hunted Green River Nov. 3rd/Friday. They open the season a day sooner than the rest of the state. Kinda wanted to hit the wild birds before the pressure hits. Saw one young bird. No tracks in the snow. I was surprised. One of the habitat workers out there said he saw a good number of hen's with broods this past summer so they're out there somewhere.

I hit another area near the Illinois/Wisconsin boarder for wild birds. Again, snow on the ground. No tracks. This was a first for this area (with not seeing birds or at the least tracks). I think the snow may have moved the birds out or had them hunkered down somewhere.

God willing I'll get out again this coming week.

Anyone else get out at all and Ehudgens how did your SD trip turn out over all?
 

ehudgens

Member
Had a much better trip yesterday. Hunted again with my buddy with the young short hairs. We managed to kill our 4 birds by 10 am. Went to 3 spots, and saw birds in each place. Probably saw 25 total, so not bad. His young female pointed her first bird, and fortunate enough to be a rooster, so that made the day.

Corn is probably 95% out. Still a few fields in, but it was nice not having standing corn everywhere. Glad we got done early, started to drizzle about 11, so took a couple of hours to just drive around, and do some scouting. I need to secure a few more places to go. I really don't like hunting my sweet spots more than 2 to 3 times per year. Haven't been able to make it to my best honey hole yet. Standing corn opening weekend, and just a little too soft to drive to. I'm to old to get stuck.

All in all a really fun day with some great dog work from my veteran, and the pups are coming along.
 

AtTheMurph

New member
Had a much better trip yesterday. Hunted again with my buddy with the young short hairs. We managed to kill our 4 birds by 10 am. Went to 3 spots, and saw birds in each place. Probably saw 25 total, so not bad. His young female pointed her first bird, and fortunate enough to be a rooster, so that made the day.

Corn is probably 95% out. Still a few fields in, but it was nice not having standing corn everywhere. Glad we got done early, started to drizzle about 11, so took a couple of hours to just drive around, and do some scouting. I need to secure a few more places to go. I really don't like hunting my sweet spots more than 2 to 3 times per year. Haven't been able to make it to my best honey hole yet. Standing corn opening weekend, and just a little too soft to drive to. I'm to old to get stuck.

All in all a really fun day with some great dog work from my veteran, and the pups are coming along.
I was out west of Kentland yesterday. Heard some shooting in Illinois and thought it might be you.

We got a couple of cocks before the drizzle. Didn't see 10 total but that beat the skunk we had last year at these spots.

Cover was better but had corn up next to it. Still a little snow and good # of tracks.

Saw a nice buck and 4 beavers.
 

ehudgens

Member
2 of the 3 ditches we were on were so wide you couldn't cross. Beavers have almost every ditch damned up. You can really tell no one is trapping anymore. We saw 4 bucks yesterday just standing with does in the middle of fields. One was even laying down 200 yards from the road. Bi big bucks, but all respectable. They are definitely rutting. We were by the stateline north of Prairie Green, and around Wellington to.
 
Saw the first two pheasants I have ever seen on my family's property in Henry Co. today. Had two coveys of quail two years ago, but this year only one covey. At least it was a healthy covey +\- 15 birds. Missed the rooster getting up as I was watching the hen fly off in the other direction with my mouth agape. Scratched down 1 quail over a nice point, and decided to leave the singles alone for next time.

Prior to the last three seasons it was a solid 10 years of never seeing one bird. Some CRP and a little sweat equity have paid off a little. No one would call it great hunting but its something.
 

1pheas4

Super Moderator
Thanks for posting all your reports. Please keep them coming when you get a chance. Maybe a few photos too if possible. Great to hear about the two pheasant on your families property Makintrax.

Below are a few photos from a couple hunts here in N. Illinois thus far.


The bird on the left has Manchurian blood lines hence the white cheek patch by his wattle. The bird on the right comes from the same area, but genetically from older/original bloodlines (of the wild pheasants) from this area. Both from this years hatch.

wild illinois pheasant 2019 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/151633916@N05/

wild illinois pheasant 2019 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/151633916@N05/

Uplandhntr/Mike shot this beautiful 2 year old wild rooster with me last week.
wild illinois pheasant 2019 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/151633916@N05/, on Flickr

Beautiful colors.
wild illinois pheasant 2019 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/151633916@N05/, on Flickr
 

AtTheMurph

New member
We got out yesterday (3 hunter, 2 dogs) and hit a few spots.

Put up about 20-25 birds but ran more than that out into the fields. One of our hunters can't really walk the grass any longer so he is designated blocker. Unfortunately he likes to sit in the truck or drive back and forth and not actually block! But I don't really care.

We got permission to hunt a little honey hole (first time in 3 years) on the state line and killed two cocks on it. Ran a half dozen out and saw a few hens. Out near Buckley have a nice little ditch that we flushed a few and ran a few out of but never pulled the trigger. Did kick 3 big cocks right toward out blocker at the end of the ditch but he was keeping warm.

Last spot flushed about half a dozen hens, 3 cocks and ran others into the fields. The other dog is young and full of piss. First thing she did was jump up and knock me good int he nutts. Later when he got out at the first spot, I already had my dog out of truck and was standing about 20ft from the truck with my back turned. That little SOB took on leap from the truck and landed on the back of my knee and nearly took me down and out. About an 80lb GSP. She's too rangy but has tremendous desire. Her owner is a 18 yr old boy. Good kid and wants to learn.

A good day in the field.

Did notice something that I thought was weird. Several of the CRP fields we drive past all look like they have been recently mowed. They are about 12 inches high and not 3 feet as usual. Wondering what's going on with that if anyone knows?
 

ehudgens

Member
Sounds about like our day Murph. Ran down to Milford on Saturday. Was an hour late meeting my buddy. Had a little too much brown liquor Friday night, so didn't start hunting until 8:45. Hit my favorite crp field first thing. First time I've been able to hunt it all year. Had standing corn, and it's been too wet to drive into it.

Got started and my setter pointed a hen right away. Pointed again a few minutes later, and a hen and a rooster got up, and I got the rooster. Had one in the bag in the first 10 minutes. My buddy had his two young GSP's down again. His female pointed, she was 25 yards in front of him, several hens got up then a rooster. He hit the rooster hard, and dropped a leg to. It flew down to the end of the field. We both got a good mark on it. Two more points on hens from my setter. Got to the end, and his young male pointed the rooster right where we had it marked. Glad we didn't lose it. Se we had 2 in the bag in the first 30 minutes.

Head to the second spot out by Wellington. Stopped and asked the farmer permission. Great guy who really liked my dad. I was so excited to hunt this ditch. It's a mile long and beautiful wide filter strips on each side. Made the pass down and back, and didn't see a thing other than a dead hen. Dogs never even got a whiff of one. I was pretty stunned. I know there's birds there, but I think they were in the corn stalks. Oh well, I'm gonna hit it again when it gets cold.

Hit one more small 10 acre crp patch north east of Milford. My setter pointed and one lone rooster got up, and my buddy killed it. Only thing we saw. So all in all three birds. Maybe saw 15-20 in total. Not too bad. Hit the bar for a few, then took my mom to dinner.

I've seen what you are talking about. Several of my good spots out by Bryce have mowed filter strips. I don't know why they mow them. I'll ask my friend who works for pheasants forever. It's maddening to see crp mowed.
 

AtTheMurph

New member
Went out New Years day. Hit six different places 3 NE of Milford and 3 out towards Buckley.

The one long ditch (close to 1.75 miles long) had not been hunted all year. We put up at least 25 birds out of that and I got 2 cocks. One my dog pointed and I went up to flush. Kicked around, thought I felt I had stepped on it, and looked down to see tail feathers sticking out of a tangled mess. I did my best Johnny Wiessmuller swan dive and grabbed him! Second one was put up on the other side of the ditch by hunting partners dogs. Easy shot for them but, as usual, they missed cleanly 4 times. I dropped him at about 50 yds with my 20ga.

My Braque Francais had another beautiful point on a cock in front of the same 3 guys. Bird flushed, easy going away shot and none of them ever ruffled a feather. I think deep down they don't like to clean birds.

We saw a few here and there, mostly hens. We started later in the day and I figured that's how it would go. But I had a great time. On the drive up from Indy in the morning I saw 3 coyotes (figures because most of the time I bring my .204 with me for just such opportunities but didn't), 2 big bucks with 3 does, and a bald eagle. Also had two cocks standing in the road just west of Dunnington, IN. There wasn't any cover anywhere I could see for a long way. Sort of weird.
 

ehudgens

Member
Sounds like a good day, and always look forward to your updates. Sounds to me like you need to start hunting on the same side of the ditch with your buddies, LOL.
I'm going down one more time on Saturday. Have a friend coming up from Southern, IL. I take him pheasant hunting in Iroquois county, and he takes me quail hunting in Franklin and Jefferson counties in Southern, IL.

I saw the USDA report on CRP for 2020, and they raised the cap almost 6 million acres. I hope we see some some new CRP acres in Iroquois County in 2020 and beyond. We really need some additional CRP acres to get our bird numbers up. Hope this mild winter continues.
 

ehudgens

Member
Made it down to Milford for one last hunt on Saturday with my friend from Southern, IL and his 16 year old daughter. She does a lot of waterfowl hunting, but had never killed a wild pheasant. Hit the stateline area out by stockland, and put up 7 or 8 on the first ditch. Dog pointed 4 hens, never got close to a rooster. Second spot had my friend block. Me and his daughter made the short 1/4 mile walk. Dog was birdy the whole time get right to the end and my dog pointed, and the bird got up on my left so she didn't have a shot. Killed the bird and my dog didn't see it go down. It landed on the other side of the ditch so had to walk across a beaver dam to get it. That was an adventure.

Hit the third spot out by Bryce. Really got into the birds. Had at least 7 or 8 rock solid points on hens several of which had multiple bird flushes, but we couldn't get a whiff of a rooster. Got to the end of the first field and my dog pointed hard, we had her in the middle and of course it flushes on the right side and my friend killed it. Walked the other side back and dog pointed 3 more hens, and a rooster got up wild and flew back over the top of us. She was in a willow thicket so didn't have a shot so I killed it.

We worked hard to get her a bird, but she never got an opportunity on a rooster. I can't tell you how many hens got up right in front of her on point. Just one of those days. We had a really nice morning, and probably saw 30-35 birds. Saw a red fox to. Haven't seen a red fox around Milford in years.

All in all a pretty good year. Bird numbers were better than I thought they would be given the cold winter last year and all the rain in the spring and summer.
 
Quail seem to have done well. Have been seeing several good broods of young birds. Cover looking great and plenty of bugs to go around.
 
Quail seem to have done well. Have been seeing several good broods of young birds. Cover looking great and plenty of bugs to go around.
Keeping my fingers crossed! Drove out to the farm in Henry Co a couple weeks ago to check a planting, and a pollintor plot. Flushed two quail from some clover by the road while walking in to take a look, and heard a quail call a little way down. Staying hopeful.
 
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