Is It Worth The Trip?


New member
Thinking about heading to Emmetsburgh for a late season public land hunt. Probably something like 12/30-1/3. It's about a 12 hour drive for me, coming from Ohio. What are folks seeing on public land this year? Is it worth the drive out? I don't need to see a ton of birds to make it worth it for me. Can I reasonably expect to see 10 pheasant a day on public land this year? I'm familiar hunting public land pheasants out west, but have never hunted in Iowa. Mostly South Dakota and Kansas. Thanks for any info you can provide.
I live near Davenport IA and I'm not familiar with the emmitsburg area but if your goal is seeing ten birds a day I doubt you'll be let down. I have ten birds this year on 7 hunts all public ground with a few misses in there. According to roadside surveys that is one of the better areas in the state and I'm not having any trouble finding birds in a 'poor' zone. My success has come midday after the birds head back to cover after their morning feed. I just follow my dog focusing on valleys, field edges, and the edges of the thickest cover. Lots of flushes in the 30 yard range while my vizsla is working scent so a tighter choke helps, even the hens tend to flush well ahead of the dog, so keep yours close.


New member
I have hunted the area a few times this year and can say that the bird numbers have been better that I expected. There is quite a bit of public land betwen Emmetsburg-Spencer-Spirit Lake, even though much of it can be tough to hunt with just one guy. Don't be afraid to knock on a few doors if you can identify a smaller or more manageable piece of land better suited for just you and your dog. You should have no problem flushing 10+ birds per day, IMHO.