Freezer birds

KBell

New member
Had some farming operation business to take care of today in Bremer county. Any of you with some "experience" under your hat will remember that Bremer county used to be one of the premier pheasant areas in Iowa.

Sophie along for the ride and I decided it would be tough going as I planned to hit some public and the weather and all.

After the business was settled it was right around noon when we hit the first public parcel just north of Waverly. Wind chill at -15 at the time. The cover in this piece consisted of standing corn, big bluestem, cane sorghum and brome grass. It was surrounded on three sides by picked corn.

I notice very few tracks as we get nearer to the corn. In the corn I do not see any. Sophie's first point--a first--a barred owl--and he is a big boy.

We near the cane sorghum and I see tracks. Our next two points are hens. To work the strong wind I must walk into the sun. Next point--flush to the sun--hen I thought--closer look-nope--rooster one sails off into the picked field. Our next point is a hen. We work our way back to the truck and I wild flush the rooster below from the parking area beside the truck.

The next parcel we worked had zero tracks, we worked zero birds and no points were had.:( The cover was good and the big blue stem and switch grass are standing well.

Driving home I realize I am in Eastern Iowa and I know the area is void of birds. I felt good about the few that we encountered and how well Sophie and I held up in the cold weather. Not a feeling of disappointment but more one of this was how it was going to be.

I reassured myself again that one can still go to great cover, in a former strong pheasant area, and see few if any birds. On the up side we have no snow as of today, the weather has been cooperative and the birds have ample food. I believe it will still take several very good years to get some birds back into these areas.
 
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Daisy1

New member
I feel your pain as I live in extreme Eastern Iowa. I am looking forward to my journey to the NW areas however. I hope the weather cooperates, and the roads aren't too bad Saturday. I have not heard the latest weather forecasts.
 

carptom1

Well-known member
Pheasant hunting overall needs states like Iowa and Kansas to be decent pheasant destinations. The amount of pressure that is put on SD the last few years is insane in places. I have seen it happen in Kansas in some of the hot spots also. I know man is not supposed to have a great impact on carryover numbers, but when the same sq mile of ground is pounded 10-12 times a week by hunters it has to have some negative effect. I hunted Iowa in the eighties and nineties a bunch. Three hours from my door and I had decent hunts. It would be great if that was the case again.
 

1pheas4

Super Moderator
Pheasant hunting overall needs states like Iowa and Kansas to be decent pheasant destinations. The amount of pressure that is put on SD the last few years is insane in places.

I agree. I couldn't believe the amount of pheasant hunters in one particular area I hunt in SD. An area were I'll be lucky to see one or two other hunters within a week in years past.

Nick
 

KBell

New member
I could not agree more guys. Areas and pheasants in general can only handle so much pressure before impacts that are negative result.

I compare it to a very fine but affordable golf course. Plenty of action and over time the consideration is to go elsewhere to play. Courses of lesser condition get no play at all and eventually go under. Have several courses here in Iowa that have been purchased by the city they are in as an attempt to keep them open.

I believe we are in a time of "incentives" that will be needed in order for the pheasant to return-thrive in states like Iowa. The notion that it will be done for the "good of the land" or for "nature" is past. Hunters speak with $$$$$ and it is my hope that land and habitat will eventually be available for hunters that is purchased through a percentage of the $$$$$ spent on habitat and license fees. I also believe the guns and ammo folks would be willing to contribute as part of their future is dependent on the sales of guns, ammo and accessories.
 

pheasantaddict

New member
Definitely concentrating hunters to a few states and certain areas within that state. I wouldn't consider Iowa a destination right now, but it is amazing the number of hunters from Mn, Wi, and other states that I see in NW Iowa.
 

KBell

New member
Hey Pheasantaddict,

How was the wind chill today where you live? Strong winds had me at -18 to -22 all day long. Just didn't have the will to venture out.
 

Shawk

Member
Had some farming operation business to take care of today in Bremer county. Any of you with some "experience" under your hat will remember that Bremer county used to be one of the premier pheasant areas in Iowa.

Sophie along for the ride and I decided it would be tough going as I planned to hit some public and the weather and all.

After the business was settled it was right around noon when we hit the first public parcel just north of Waverly. Wind chill at -15 at the time. The cover in this piece consisted of standing corn, big bluestem, cane sorghum and brome grass. It was surrounded on three sides by picked corn.

I notice very few tracks as we get nearer to the corn. In the corn I do not see any. Sophie's first point--a first--a barred owl--and he is a big boy.

We near the cane sorghum and I see tracks. Our next two points are hens. To work the strong wind I must walk into the sun. Next point--flush to the sun--hen I thought--closer look-nope--rooster one sails off into the picked field. Our next point is a hen. We work our way back to the truck and I wild flush the rooster below from the parking area beside the truck.

The next parcel we worked had zero tracks, we worked zero birds and no points were had.:( The cover was good and the big blue stem and switch grass are standing well.

Driving home I realize I am in Eastern Iowa and I know the area is void of birds. I felt good about the few that we encountered and how well Sophie and I held up in the cold weather. Not a feeling of disappointment but more one of this was how it was going to be.

I reassured myself again that one can still go to great cover, in a former strong pheasant area, and see few if any birds. On the up side we have no snow as of today, the weather has been cooperative and the birds have ample food. I believe it will still take several very good years to get some birds back into these areas.

You were in my neck of the woods. :) Up until about 7-8 years ago I hunted a ton north of Waverly to Nashua, back over to Allison and down to Parkersburg. Those were some incredible days! I ran my Brit a few days a week and if I spent a couple hours in the field, I rarely came home without 3 birds. Many days I was on the way home within an hour or less. Fun times! I just started back at it this year with my 6 yr old GSP and still can't believe how things have changed... but they are what they are. Glad to here you came home with one. I'm sitting in front of the computer trying to make plans for a hunt tomorrow. Used to hunt almost exclusively private but the CRP on those farms is mostly gone... may hop in the car tomorrow and make a long drive somewhere... We'll see... I may just head to my old areas and expect to do some serious walking again. Best wishes!
 

KBell

New member
Good luck to you tomorrow as well!:)

I was about 2 hours from home. The cover was excellent! You have some very good public ground in the county. Hopefully the birds will make a comeback.

You don't want me to re-live the 60's and 70's as far as hunting goes. The habitat and the number of birds was incredible. It didn't matter where you went! I dream about it often.:D
 

Shawk

Member
Ha! That's funny... I do that to my kids when talking about the 90's. I have three (couple high schoolers a junior higher) and feel bad that I can't get them on birds. My middle kiddo went out a couple times this year but I totally get the lack of interest... just not much. I'll never forget taking my oldest out to an easy walking field when he was 6 or 7 and my Brit locked up... he walked in, flushed the rooster, dropped it and had her bring the bird to him... the look in his eyes was priceless!! He was hooked but by the time he was old enough to carry, the birds disappeared this way. You're right regarding cover, it's still there in spots. I mentioned in another post about a piece I still hunt that looks incredible but has NO birds. This used to be one of the best places in the county, period. We have a ton of coyote (and fox)... no doubt they play a role as well. I did a little calling and bagged a few of those a few year ago too... that's a tough game as well this way, but maybe easier than finding a rooster with the numbers I'm seeing! All well... it is what it is, we can do what we can putting a little money back into the sport and not much more. At some point we'll see better days and hopefully some really good ones too on this side of the state. In the mean time we'll keep smiling and watch my GSP get excited every now and then when she finds something that resembles a rooster. Best wishes with the rest of your season as well. Weather looks like a good day for a walk if nothing else. Later!
 
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VZWman

New member
Hey Pheasantaddict,

How was the wind chill today where you live? Strong winds had me at -18 to -22 all day long. Just didn't have the will to venture out.

North Central IA got to a real feel of 2 degrees. I hunted a couple low spots on some public. Wild flushes, but fun to get out and see birds. Had a couple hens about smack the kid I was hunting with.
 

1pheas4

Super Moderator
Good luck to you tomorrow as well!:)

I was about 2 hours from home. The cover was excellent! You have some very good public ground in the county. Hopefully the birds will make a comeback.

You don't want me to re-live the 60's and 70's as far as hunting goes. The habitat and the number of birds was incredible. It didn't matter where you went! I dream about it often.:D

My dad has a photo from the early 70's. In the photo he has a nasty looking mutt by his side and two limits of wild birds in his hand's (from he and his buddy).

As a kid I had that photo hanging in my room. Always dreaming of hunting pheasants in Iowa. Never made it though. Don't ask me why:confused:


Nick
 
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