How can they hay this much public ground

sjohn

Active member
(first posted this on wrong string, my bad)

Like others have said. "You have to get out and walk it"! I have found glory holes on public land that are not visible from the road. And finding that uncut strip at the very back right next to the cut beans or corn, or that hidden slew in the middle of a half section can make your day... or at least make your dogs day!

Correct me if I am wrong, but I can't recall a single poster on this site that said the conditions were such that it wasn't worth going. Or asked for their money back because they felt like there wasn't enough opportunities to run your dogs and use the smoke stick.

The NFL analogy was fine, but this exact scenario is indeed happening at the college level. When the players opt out of the bowl game for fear of getting hurt, this just ruins the game for all. However, I don't feel like haying is the same, and in fact the practice has to concentrate the birds in the areas where cover remains. You may have to knock on a door if the only cover remaining is now private.

The resourceful hunter will prevail. Cheers.
 

sjohn

Active member
Maybe a different view for Non-residents than Golden Hour suggest. I am from out of state, a long way out of state. My feeling is for the regular out of state hunter, they know the deal already and are resourceful enough to still make a successful hunt. For the first time out of state hunters, they don't know any better and hayed or not hayed will still have more opportunities than in any other state. Going in a drought/hayed year will also improve their learning curve and it's all about living, learning and getting the job done!

I love SD and have not been thrilled with some of GFP's recent changes and decisions, but at the end of the day it has not changed a darn thing for me or any of the folks we go with year to year.

In closing, the squeaky wheel does get the grease. Take Golden Hours advice and contact the state if you are unsatisfied. Cheers, john
 

Golddog

New member
My 2 cents is that as a non resident paying an additional habitat fee, I understand when guys head out to find the "habitat" is 2 inches long and they are pissed. What did they pay for? I can understand the animosity and believe the state has to make this kind of info blatantly obvious and the locations publicly posted & easily accessible on the licensing site.
 

haymaker

Well-known member
If you were reading the South Dakota page on this forum this summer you should have had a heads up that we were in a very dry situation.
 

Golddog

New member
If you were reading the South Dakota page on this forum this summer you should have had a heads up that we were in a very dry situation.
I don't hunt a lot of state land. This doesn't really affect me. I talk to my friend who owns all the land I hunt with out there every week. I know what I'm getting into.

I'm just acknowledging that the state should have responsibilities to the people they are selling their licenses to. There are people in this world who may not know how or where to find info. A simple addition to the licensing page that states " we are in severe drought , emergency haying has taken place, please follow this link to check on the status of the public lands we have authorized to be mowed so you can plan accordingly." That isn't rocket science, its customer service. Anything as basic as that would help the guys who are upset by current situation.

Its not quite bait and switch but its not too far off. Any other business operating like that would get absolutely trashed on the internet. If someone traveled a long ways and paid for a "habitat stamp", only to find minimal ground to hunt, they have every right to be pissed and should voice their concerns to the state.
 

Munster927

Well-known member
Its not quite bait and switch but its not too far off. Any other business operating like that would get absolutely trashed on the internet. If someone traveled a long ways and paid for a "habitat stamp", only to find minimal ground to hunt, they have every right to be pissed and should voice their concerns to the state.
I love that analogy. And the fact you acknowledge you don't hunt alot of state land but realize the issue for the public land hunter is great. I read alot of people on this site not giving a damn about public habitat because "well I only hunt private land idc" or "I pay to hunt this other place so idc".

Sometimes here and elsewhere I feel like hunters divide themselves into 2 camps, the private land hunter and public land hunter and neither like to acknowledge each other's plights.
 

Golddog

New member
I love that analogy. And the fact you acknowledge you don't hunt alot of state land but realize the issue for the public land hunter is great. I read alot of people on this site not giving a damn about public habitat because "well I only hunt private land idc" or "I pay to hunt this other place so idc".

Sometimes here and elsewhere I feel like hunters divide themselves into 2 camps, the private land hunter and public land hunter and neither like to acknowledge each other's plights.
We are our own worst enemies at times
 
And that perfectly sums it up! A little heads-up and some honesty about conditions. I’m not into deception and to me that’s what South Dakota did this year. Well said 👍
I sure do miss the pheasant counts! I think that was the first thing SD to eliminate honesty and transparency with hunters. Like many of you said we go to South Dakota no matter what but it’s nice to have an idea what to expect. Instead of doing counts they put that money into marketing. 😉
 

hunter94

Well-known member
I sure do miss the pheasant counts! I think that was the first thing SD to eliminate honesty and transparency with hunters. Like many of you said we go to South Dakota no matter what but it’s nice to have an idea what to expect. Instead of doing counts they put that money into marketing. 😉
i agree, the state just pissed people off doing this. seems deception for revenue is a common occurence these days.
 

A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
Some of this thread reads as though the State should only do things that cost money & benefit hunters. It would be interesting to know if anyone has avoided SD in the last couple years simply because there was no brood count report. I'm guessing few, if any. Without revenue, the State can't do the things that cost money, like brood count surveys/reports, letting people know whether or not land has been hayed, leasing more hunting rights, etc. They figured the brood survey/report cost more than it brought in and ended it. That's called doing business. Many of you have heard my opinion several times in the past on the brood report. I looked forward to it, but put virtually zero stock in it. I think it's funny that in all the years the brood count showed a drop in pheasant numbers, nobody questioned it. In fact, a lot of people conveniently forgot they even published a drop. But when they showed an increase, many people called it deceptive. And when they discontinued it....deceptive.

Now because the State doesn't let hunters know some of the ground it leased FOR HUNTERS (or even exactly which spots???) might be hayed, grazed, etc., it's again being deceptive, especially because we paid a "habitat fee". That land was leased. The landowner still deserves to get paid this year, whether his CRP was hayed or not. The State does other things with that money. They didn't just stop doing them. All that CRP is under contract w/ the Federal Gov't. That contract has haying, grazing, maintenance provisions. The State has no control over that aspect of it. I don't disagree that the State could've posted a "banner" on its pheasant web page saying, "Hey, heads up, your usual spots might look different this year." But what good would that have done? Really. To those who visit sites like this one, or the myriad of bird hunting Facebook groups, we knew it MONTHS ago. Everyone else had countless ways to have been clued in somehow. The drought & its affects weren't kept a secret.

I'd love to see the State do something everyone says they agree with & see how long it takes for people to complain. My guess? About 2 seconds.
 
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Hunthemup

Member
There has always being farming cycles which affect the wildlife habitat. Remember the CRP program changes, the ethanol cycle etc. Then there is Mother Nature which also throws in its effects. Studies on the history of hunting, has indicated there are more opportunities today in places to hunt then in recent history. The number of bird species has always fluctuated and has been affected by MAN as well. Join a conservation society to help in this endeavor,
 

dakotasj

Active member
Some of this thread reads as though the State should only do things that cost money & benefit hunters. It would be interesting to know if anyone has avoided SD in the last couple years simply because there was no brood count report. I'm guessing few, if any. Without revenue, the State can't do the things that cost money, like brood count surveys/reports, letting people know whether or not land has been hayed, leasing more hunting rights, etc. They figured the brood survey/report cost more than it brought in and ended it. That's called doing business. Many of you have heard my opinion several times in the past on the brood report. I looked forward to it, but put virtually zero stock in it. I think it's funny that in all the years the brood count showed a drop in pheasant numbers, nobody questioned it. In fact, a lot of people conveniently forgot they even published a drop. But when they showed an increase, many people called it deceptive. And when they discontinued it....deceptive.

Now because the State doesn't let hunters know some of the ground it leased FOR HUNTERS (or even exactly which spots???) might be hayed, grazed, etc., it's again being deceptive, especially because we paid a "habitat fee". That land was leased. The landowner still deserves to get paid this year, whether his CRP was hayed or not. The State does other things with that money. They didn't just stop doing them. All that CRP is under contract w/ the Federal Gov't. That contract has haying, grazing, maintenance provisions. The State has no control over that aspect of it. I don't disagree that the State could've posted a "banner" on its pheasant web page saying, "Hey, heads up, your usual spots might look different this year." But what good would that have done? Really. To those who visit sites like this one, or the myriad of bird hunting Facebook groups, we knew it MONTHS ago. Everyone else had countless ways to have been clued in somehow. The drought & its affects weren't kept a secret.

I'd love to see the State do something everyone says they agree with & see how long it takes for people to complain. My guess? About 2 seconds.
Well said and could not agree more.
The public land that I've hunted for 25 years, this year was not much different than previous years. The biggest difference were areas that typically didn't get planted as they are usually too wet and provided good cover surrounded by corn or beans, had been planted and harvested. Drought is the reason.
 

Zew

New member
A lot of complaining instead of being appreciative of what one has. A5 said it perfectly. If you didn't have an easy year of chasing pheasants in SD that's a bummer. Hopefully you were able to enjoy watching your dogs work.
I'm appreciative of the farmers that left some grasslands standing. They could have taken it all. They didn't.
I got to work my dogs last weekend and I'm going to get the chance again this weekend. I go to SD because of the ample opportunities to run my dogs. The kicker is the ample opportunities to see tons of birds.
 

Munster927

Well-known member
I agree and disagree with you A5. From a TOURIST perspective, no it wasn't worth the money most likely. However, as I've said here many times, the SCIENCE aspect is all I care about. If there is no baseline numbers that conservation groups can use or the states own fish and game, then how do they make decisions for habitat (i.e science)? How do they know if they need to increase leased land because bird numbers are really down for multiple years or decrease days allowed for hunting, etc.

I find it curious that JUST last year they bumped the season out to the end of January and then they stop the brood counts. How do they know the impact that had on bird numbers? Or the continuing impact on bird numbers since it looks like that end date is staying for awhile?

I'm not saying any decline in bird numbers now or in the future is attributed to the change in end date but without actual data, how can they review and compare? They just wait until hunters bitch about it enough?

That's my only complaint. You guys that say "brood count don't matter to me I'm still going" is all fine and well, but it's a poor management decision and that should be the point.
 

carptom1

Well-known member
Although I am sure budgeting concerns were taken into account, I don’t think that was the major factor. When those counts were obscene a few years ago, hunters flocked to SD as the counts published were five to ten times what they were in other states. Sometimes more than that. Mix that with a lot of public hunting and it was a no brainer where to go if you had to travel to hunt. The counts were fairly specific. After two or three years of decline for the brood survey it starts to severely affect tourism and income. Places that showed double digit pheasants per mile now showed one or two or less. When guys look back at the history it becomes detrimental. Hunters not experienced with SD assumed that meant there were not enough birds to hunt, not realizing in those thick years it was not uncommon to move thousands of pheasants on good ground in a week. More than you could ever shoot. I think it was more of a “ what was our greatest brag is now a detriment “ .

As to the mowed ground, it is the same in every drought state. I don’t feel like they owe us anything. It wouldn’t have been hard to find out. I guess next time you’ll know.
 

A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
I agree and disagree with you A5. From a TOURIST perspective, no it wasn't worth the money most likely. However, as I've said here many times, the SCIENCE aspect is all I care about. If there is no baseline numbers that conservation groups can use or the states own fish and game, then how do they make decisions for habitat (i.e science)? How do they know if they need to increase leased land because bird numbers are really down for multiple years or decrease days allowed for hunting, etc.

I find it curious that JUST last year they bumped the season out to the end of January and then they stop the brood counts. How do they know the impact that had on bird numbers? Or the continuing impact on bird numbers since it looks like that end date is staying for awhile?

I'm not saying any decline in bird numbers now or in the future is attributed to the change in end date but without actual data, how can they review and compare? They just wait until hunters bitch about it enough?

That's my only complaint. You guys that say "brood count don't matter to me I'm still going" is all fine and well, but it's a poor management decision and that should be the point.
The SD GF&P uses/used a lot more data than just the brood count. There's an interesting document available online; I think it's called "Past Pheasant Statistics". Parts of it take into consideration hunter surveys, habitat observation (yes, State employees actually sit & watch sloughs & stuff to estimate how many pheasants seem to be using them, both public & private), actual weather history, etc., etc. And it's just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the info the State collects & uses in its management decisions. I honestly believe if the State thought it needed the brood survey in order to manage pheasants, they'd have kept it.

Part of the reason the brood survey was discontinued, I believe, is that it had become less & less useful, as farming practices changed, ditch mowing practices changed, CRP concentrated populations, etc. You just don't see pheasants along roadsides like you used to. I think it's at least partially because there's less useful habitat NEAR roads. And...because of newer farming practices, I don't think pheasants rely on gravel roads for grit the same way they did in the past. There's no doubt there are more pheasants around today than when I was growing up in the 70s & 80s. Yet you see way fewer along or near roads than you did back then.
 

Zew

New member
Roadside brood surveys and ruffed grouse drumming counts are arcaic ways of counting bird populations. And easily skewed by many factors.
 

Tbear

UPH Master
Roadside brood surveys and ruffed grouse drumming counts are arcaic ways of counting bird populations. And easily skewed by many factors.
Can you back that up with some facts or statistics? Better more modern methods?
 
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