Hunting soggy cattails

Swagdaddy

New member
On my first trip to SD last week, I must have seen 100 plus pheasants fly into to a large cattail section with ankle deep water.
Do any of you venture out to hunt these kind of areas before the freeze? If so, do the birds hold pretty good in this kind of cover?
 

A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
I hunt it sometimes. Singles will sit tighter than groups. But generally they all run. Best bet is to try to hunt them inside out. Try to force them out into cover they're more likely to hole up in. This time of season, with educated birds, that's really difficult without a few inches of fresh snow.

Last weekend we had 20-25 of them run from thick CRP grass INTO soggy cattails. Quite a ways out. Couldn't figure out why Ace kept going further & further out. I couldn't see him out there, but it was way more than ankle deep.
Judging by the sloshing sounds, I'm guessing almost knee deep to a man. I don't know what they had to run on out there, but they did it. Until Ace caught up to them. I've seen pheasants do some incredible things, but this was a bit surprising. By now, even this year's birds have Master of Evasion degrees. Last year's birds have Doctorates.
 
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marn

Member
I have dry socks and 1-2 pairs of extra boots in the truck for this scenario. Have shot many pheasants that the dogs were sloshing and I was ankle to boot top deep in water. They definitely seem to hold better than the dry cattails where birds can run circles around you.
 

5 stand

Active member
I have ventured out into them in the past. I seem to wear out quicker than the pheasants do. And always seem to find some water deeper than ankle-deep. I do like cattails, but little small areas of them.
 

A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
I have ventured out into them in the past. I seem to wear out quicker than the pheasants do. And always seem to find some water deeper than ankle-deep. I do like cattails, but little small areas of them.
Me too: wear out quicker than pheasants; always find deep water; prefer small areas. But...even after quite a few years, I don't seem to be able to resist the seductive lure pheasants toss in front of me, regardless of how much I may regret my decision, how many times it's happened before, or even how much I know what the result will be when I decide to chase them someplace I'd really rather not go. The mere possibility of a rooster out there greatly diminishes my sense of reason.
 
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Miforester

Active member
Me too: wear out quicker than pheasants; always find deep water; prefer small areas. But...even after quite a few years, I don't seem to be able to resist the seductive lure pheasants toss in front of me, regardless of how much I may regret my decision, how many times it's happened before, or even how much I know what the result will be when I decide to chase them someplace I'd really rather not go. The mere possibility of a rooster out there greatly diminishes my sense of reason.
Ditto
 

5 stand

Active member
I'm 55 now and have a lot harder time keeping my legs under me for 4 or 5 days hunting in South Dakota. So I'm getting a lot better at resisting the urge to Chase those roosters in those cattails.
I will say I think there are humps out in those big cattail areas, and the birds know where they are?
 

Golden Hour

Active member
When I come across pheasants literally in the watery part of a slough, I believe they are taking advantage of old growth. Year in and out, cattails are flattened by winter and winds, while new growth pops up. I know that I have stepped on clumps of cattails at times to avoid getting my boots wet. I think pheasants do the same thing on a much smaller scale. And I don't think they are as concerned about stepping barefoot into the cold muck when it comes to increasing their odds of survival. Life and death matters will have deer go for a swim, geese diving like Redheads and I've seen a rooster "swim". Kind of reminded me of the Vikings trying to play football ;)

I know we've all seen some pretty remarkable efforts to survive from a variety of animals, but it does have to be mentioned that it is entirely possible that pheasants walk on water. ;)
 

A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
I know we've all seen some pretty remarkable efforts to survive from a variety of animals, but it does have to be mentioned that it is entirely possible that pheasants walk on water. ;)
I wasn't aware Satan could do that.
 
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