Just got back from britton/hecla area, we got some birds but was disappointed on the number of birds we saw. Hunted all public ,crep and walk in areas. Not sure if the hatch was bad or just didn't luck out and see many birds. Anybody else see the same stuff as us?
I'm headed out that way in 11 days....4th year staying in Hecla. Hoping for a better year than last year, but the weather and crops were not in our favor last year. It was really warm, dry and the crops were just coming off.....so we pushed back 2 weeks this year hoping to get more favorable conditions.
Typically have hit spots just outside of Hecla, but last year they were tough, saw alot of pressure. Plus a few of the CREP spots which had been honey holes were transitioned out. I pushed a bit further west checking spots, which cut in to time on the ground as did the heat.....but did get in to some good pockets of birds.
1st year I went out there I stayed in Hosmer and hunted around there to Eureka.
This is my 5th year hunting South Dakota, so still learning.
We have been hunting east and south of Hecla the last four days. One day we did go west of Hecla. Hunter numbers appear to be up and bird numbers appear to be down from recent years. Lots of CREP land have been mowed. Seen very few birds out when driving. Hopefully numbers improve once the corn is down. Good luck.
My farmer friends in the Britton area couldn't believe the lack of pheasants when harvesting these past couple weeks. I think the last winter/spring snows put a big hurt on the phez in that area (and up into ND).
Seen plenty of birds today....brother-in-law and I, our 2 labs. Ended up with 3, but twice we pulled on the same bird from double flushes. Throw in 1 clean miss and 2 double flushes where never a shot was fired.....should of, could of been done by 1ish.
All on CREP land.
Heard a number of reports that there was a lot of big hail that went through late summer that took out a lot of birds from Onaka to Warner. Not sure if it kept going towards your direction but it's very possible. Despite all the crops in and the birds holding tight, I still believe in this area the birds numbers were down based on the widespread lack of birds in spots in this area specifically that have had them consistently for 15 years straight that just weren't there this year.
3 guys, 4 dogs…..2 labs and 2 pointers. We have seen/flushed/had shots at birds on every property we hunted thus far but one. These vary from CREP, GPA, and WPA areas. What we are finding is not “concentrations” of birds, they are sporadic, so you have to make it count. It’s one here, one there. We’ve been finding that hunting “small” on the properties is what is paying off. By that I mean, not trying to hunt the whole property, but just the area that looks the best and that the wind provides you the best advantage….go straight to it, if the dogs don’t get “birdy” quickly, bolt. Run and gun. Spending a lot of time on a property hasn’t payed off,….just how our week has gone, for what it’s worth.
Always good to be away from the grind and out enjoying time in the outdoors.
Overall, trip was a success....no one got hurt, 1 minor barbed wire incident with my lab, good banter, cold beer and delicious Old Fashions.....other than that.....sigh.
BIL and I put 8 birds in the bag between us 2, with 1 bird lost. About a half dozen "should of had that bird" shots. We ranged east of Hecla about 5 to 7 miles and as far west as Eureka hunting whatever looked good and spots that have produced for us in the past...mostly north of SD 10....
No large concentrations of birds flushed or seen except for one property Eureka way, but those birds flushed 100-150 yards out with no stragglers. Plenty of birds in the fields and roads around the couple hunting farms by Hecla....even some roosters with no tail feathers at all.
Beans are all down and the remaining corn was really been worked on these last 3 days.
I might try another run out there later this year, just not sure where yet.