Late Season Report - We're Nearing the End

A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
I hope this post encourages some of you to get out & hunt in the last couple weeks of the season. There are definitely plenty of pheasants out there, & since it looks like it could turn into a long winter for them, as many roosters need to be shot as possible to take a little pressure off the hens.

Saturday I drove up the interstate about 100 miles to hunt with Golden Hour. Thanks for inviting us up, Lucas. During my drive, I saw many, many groups of pheasants out feeding &/or looking for gizzard grit, some small, some quite large. It was a little hard to keep track of, but my guess is I saw 750-1,000 pheasants....just driving up to hunt.

We hunted 2 private spots he has access to that contain cattail sloughs & food plots (corn). There are also large shelterbelts nearby. I'd say there was about 11"-12" of snow on the ground. Drifting, of course, presented some significant challenges. They'd apparently had ice in the area before the bulk of the snow. In some spots, this bent cattails over & has held much of the snow up about 3.5' or so off the ground. I can't imagine a safer, warmer place for pheasants under these circumstances. They get under there & don't want to come out, unless STRONGLY encouraged by a good pheasant dog. Similarly, a medium-sized, brown & white dog gets under there & gets disoriented until his human makes enough noise to be located. All that said, the corn plot was empty when we arrived & walked it first. But all the pheasants were in the slough. Most flushed wild & escaped safely. Again, a difficult estimate, but I'm guessing somewhere around 150 pheasants. 5 roosters did NOT flush wild & paid the price, although 2 were not recovered (which had appeared to be hit well too). We witnessed amazing dog work during our hunt, & judging by a couple birds the dogs DID recover, it really makes me wonder what, exactly, a significantly wounded rooster has to do in heavy cover & snow to successfully evade TWO pretty damn good, experienced dogs. I've said this before, but a rooster's will to survive & ability to do it boggles my mind. I hope those 2 heal to fight another day. And if not...coyotes need to eat to.

At the second spot, we found a good number of pheasants in the food plot, but I think the majority were in the slough. Again, I'll guess there were around 150 pheasants. That we SAW. Makes you wonder how many you DON'T see. We finished our limit without too much effort, although most birds were pretty darn wild (not surprising). One interesting thing we saw here was that, although they have easy access to corn & are certainly eating lots of it, they'd really been scratching/searching at the base of cattail clumps in the slough, as well as tearing into muskrat huts. I'd seen that before, but not to this extent (possibly just due to numbers of pheasants in an area). Our best guess is they're trying to get at cattail roots & possibly find a little gizzard grit in the process. I also wonder if they could possibly be after something like dead bugs or snails. Much of the stuff they scratched out of the way, they were obviously avoiding eating. Anyway, we hunted under 3 hours & had a fantastic day, punctuated by a couple of mystifying instances of "How in the world do Sage & Ace do what they do??"

Sunday Ace & I hunted public land, specifically a relatively small WPA that I commonly hunt 3-4 times a season. This area had roughly 24" of snow on the ground. The only thing of value right now on the WPA is the cattail slough, so that's what we hunted, & it was the most physically challenging hunting I've had in a long, long time. I suspect it's the most challenging work Ace has EVER had to do in his 4 seasons. Within 1/2 mile of "my" slough are a couple other sloughs, a couple big, thick shelterbelts, & picked corn/bean fields, all on private land. But some pheasants were in there, most of which began to flush before we even got to the slough, or in the first couple minutes of entering the cattails. I verbally identified each rooster I saw & checked my GoPro footage afterward. I believe we saw about 30 pheasants in 45 minutes, which is a real good number for that little spot. I've seen it hold more a few times, but commonly not quite that many. The unfortunate thing is of those 30 birds we saw, 11 were roosters. Fun for hunters, but too many! Fortunately, Ace & I (mostly Ace) were able to assist the hens & eliminate 3 of the 11. And I strongly suspect there are more roosters in the area somewhere, so we may get out there, bust our behinds, & try to help out those hens one more time in the next couple weeks. We're pretty serious conservationists.

The short story is Ace & I had a really great weekend of pheasant hunting. Please get out there & shoot some too!

20230118_074443.jpg

GX010072_Moment.jpg

GX020073_Moment.jpg

GX010077_Moment.jpg

GX010077_Moment(2).jpg

20230115_171316.jpg
 
Last edited:

Golden Hour

Well-known member
There are a LOT of roosters still out there. I've seen a higher rooster/hen ratio this year than any in recent memory. They need to be thinned out. Flushing a hen once or twice isn't nearly as stressful as another 6 weeks of trying to get grain and a roosting spot while competing with a bigger/stronger pheasant.
 

Birddog23

Member
Nice Report & details in your post!

We went back and tried to give pheasant hunting a try this past weekend, around the Mitchell area.
Needless to say, the snow was just way too much. We couldn't get into our private grounds due to the snow at the entrances.
My nephew and I tried to walk to the tree rows and do a little hunting, but by the time we got there, we were shot. And the Snow in the tree
rows was deeper than the actual fields. This area had 20 inches of snow this last snow storm.
I even got my F 150 stuck trying to enter one of the fields. Just didn't give it enough gas, but worried about breaking something.
Of course my nephew and brother in law are Chevy guys, so they got a kick out of the Chevy pulling out the Ford. :)
But anyone of those trucks would have gotten stuck, guaranteed.....

We saw pheasants driving around, but just couldn't hunt anything really due to all the snow. All in all a fun trip just getting back to the country!
Can't beat that!
 

remy3424

Well-known member
A5: "5 roosters did NOT flush wild & paid the price, although 2 were not recovered (which had appeared to be hit well too)."...I thought you said Sage was there??? How unlikley that was. Those might kick-up your uncovered percentage. Just busting on you! Most of us do lose a few birds over the season, those cat tails sloughs provide better chances for that to happen than most cover up there I am guessing. Nice work fellas, the best work you could have been doing!
 

Miforester

Well-known member
I hope this post encourages some of you to get out & hunt in the last couple weeks of the season. There are definitely plenty of pheasants out there, & since it looks like it could turn into a long winter for them, as many roosters need to be shot as possible to take a little pressure off the hens.

Saturday I drove up the interstate about 100 miles to hunt with Golden Hour. Thanks for inviting us up, Lucas. During my drive, I saw many, many groups of pheasants out feeding &/or looking for gizzard grit, some small, some quite large. It was a little hard to keep track of, but my guess is I saw 750-1,000 pheasants....just driving up to hunt.

We hunted 2 private spots he has access to that contain cattail sloughs & food plots (corn). There are also large shelterbelts nearby. I'd say there was about 11"-12" of snow on the ground. Drifting, of course, presented some significant challenges. They'd apparently had ice in the area before the bulk of the snow. In some spots, this bent cattails over & has held much of the snow up about 3.5' or so off the ground. I can't imagine a safer, warmer place for pheasants under these circumstances. They get under there & don't want to come out, unless STRONGLY encouraged by a good pheasant dog. Similarly, a medium-sized, brown & white dog gets under there & gets disoriented until his human makes enough noise to be located. All that said, the corn plot was empty when we arrived & walked it first. But all the pheasants were in the slough. Most flushed wild & escaped safely. Again, a difficult estimate, but I'm guessing somewhere around 150 pheasants. 5 roosters did NOT flush wild & paid the price, although 2 were not recovered (which had appeared to be hit well too). We witnessed amazing dog work during our hunt, & judging by a couple birds the dogs DID recover, it really makes me wonder what, exactly, a significantly wounded rooster has to do in heavy cover & snow to successfully evade TWO pretty damn good, experienced dogs. I've said this before, but a rooster's will to survive & ability to do it boggles my mind. I hope those 2 heal to fight another day. And if not...coyotes need to eat to.

At the second spot, we found a good number of pheasants in the food plot, but I think the majority were in the slough. Again, I'll guess there were around 150 pheasants. That we SAW. Makes you wonder how many you DON'T see. We finished our limit without too much effort, although most birds were pretty darn wild (not surprising). One interesting thing we saw here was that, although they have easy access to corn & are certainly eating lots of it, they'd really been scratching/searching at the base of cattail clumps in the slough, as well as tearing into muskrat huts. I'd seen that before, but not to this extent (possibly just due to numbers of pheasants in an area). Our best guess is they're trying to get at cattail roots & possibly find a little gizzard grit in the process. I also wonder if they could possibly be after something like dead bugs or snails. Much of the stuff they scratched out of the way, they were obviously avoiding eating. Anyway, we hunted under 3 hours & had a fantastic day, punctuated by a couple of mystifying instances of "How in the world do Sage & Ace do what they do??"

Sunday Ace & I hunted public land, specifically a relatively small WPA that I commonly hunt 3-4 times a season. This area had roughly 24" of snow on the ground. The only thing of value right now on the WPA is the cattail slough, so that's what we hunted, & it was the most physically challenging hunting I've had in a long, long time. I suspect it's the most challenging work Ace has EVER had to do in his 4 seasons. Within 1/2 mile of "my" slough are a couple other sloughs, a couple big, thick shelterbelts, & picked corn/bean fields, all on private land. But some pheasants were in there, most of which began to flush before we even got to the slough, or in the first couple minutes of entering the cattails. I verbally identified each rooster I saw & checked my GoPro footage afterward. I believe we saw about 30 pheasants in 45 minutes, which is a real good number for that little spot. I've seen it hold more a few times, but commonly not quite that many. The unfortunate thing is of those 30 birds we saw, 11 were roosters. Fun for hunters, but too many! Fortunately, Ace & I (mostly Ace) were able to assist the hens & eliminate 3 of the 11. And I strongly suspect there are more roosters in the area somewhere, so we may get out there, bust our behinds, & try to help out those hens one more time in the next couple weeks. We're pretty serious conservationists.

The short story is Ace & I had a really great weekend of pheasant hunting. Please get out there & shoot some too!
If i didn't live 900 miles away I would be there help you guys thin out the herd so to speak, unfortunately I didnt win the billion dollar lottery so I will have to wait to do my part this fall. I know the conditions would kick my ass, but would love to experience this late season hunting, have had grouse explode out of the snow but been a while since I have experienced a rooster doing that! Love the still photos and look forward to viewing the video!
 
I'm going to give it one more go this weekend for a few days, see what I can kick up. I probably won't put in long, full days but I'll definitely get some work in. Birds are definitely flushing wild but it beats sitting home in the recliner
 

A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
I'm going to give it one more go this weekend for a few days, see what I can kick up. I probably won't put in long, full days but I'll definitely get some work in. Birds are definitely flushing wild but it beats sitting home in the recliner
If nothing else, you drive around with the dog & watch them all out during feeding time. I love doing that.
 

Weimdogman

Well-known member
Me and a buddy hunted a couple hours today. Crusty crunchy snow made it tough. Had to walk a 1/4 mile thru snowed in crp to get too standing corn food plots and cattail sloughs.
Private ground that abuts public. Birds were spooky as expected. We got the only 3 roosters we had opportunities on. Our 4 dogs did all get points and wore themselves out.

We did hunt a public piece that our pf group aquired for the state. Cattail slough that had 2 to 4 feet of snow thru it. Deer paths thru out but pheasants were running around out there and we only got a couple up off points. I saw 1 rooster land in between us that we never did get up even with the 4 dogs canvassing the area.
 

Boomer-IN

Member
My labs and I are pretty disappointed that we won't be able to make a late season sojourn to SD!
Just can't justify driving 800 miles to watch roosters out in the field with no way to get close to them.
I would enjoy seeing that ....instead might hafta spend gas money on a few game farm birds!
 

Goosemaster

Well-known member
I hope this post encourages some of you to get out & hunt in the last couple weeks of the season. There are definitely plenty of pheasants out there, & since it looks like it could turn into a long winter for them, as many roosters need to be shot as possible to take a little pressure off the hens.

Saturday I drove up the interstate about 100 miles to hunt with Golden Hour. Thanks for inviting us up, Lucas. During my drive, I saw many, many groups of pheasants out feeding &/or looking for gizzard grit, some small, some quite large. It was a little hard to keep track of, but my guess is I saw 750-1,000 pheasants....just driving up to hunt.

We hunted 2 private spots he has access to that contain cattail sloughs & food plots (corn). There are also large shelterbelts nearby. I'd say there was about 11"-12" of snow on the ground. Drifting, of course, presented some significant challenges. They'd apparently had ice in the area before the bulk of the snow. In some spots, this bent cattails over & has held much of the snow up about 3.5' or so off the ground. I can't imagine a safer, warmer place for pheasants under these circumstances. They get under there & don't want to come out, unless STRONGLY encouraged by a good pheasant dog. Similarly, a medium-sized, brown & white dog gets under there & gets disoriented until his human makes enough noise to be located. All that said, the corn plot was empty when we arrived & walked it first. But all the pheasants were in the slough. Most flushed wild & escaped safely. Again, a difficult estimate, but I'm guessing somewhere around 150 pheasants. 5 roosters did NOT flush wild & paid the price, although 2 were not recovered (which had appeared to be hit well too). We witnessed amazing dog work during our hunt, & judging by a couple birds the dogs DID recover, it really makes me wonder what, exactly, a significantly wounded rooster has to do in heavy cover & snow to successfully evade TWO pretty damn good, experienced dogs. I've said this before, but a rooster's will to survive & ability to do it boggles my mind. I hope those 2 heal to fight another day. And if not...coyotes need to eat to.

At the second spot, we found a good number of pheasants in the food plot, but I think the majority were in the slough. Again, I'll guess there were around 150 pheasants. That we SAW. Makes you wonder how many you DON'T see. We finished our limit without too much effort, although most birds were pretty darn wild (not surprising). One interesting thing we saw here was that, although they have easy access to corn & are certainly eating lots of it, they'd really been scratching/searching at the base of cattail clumps in the slough, as well as tearing into muskrat huts. I'd seen that before, but not to this extent (possibly just due to numbers of pheasants in an area). Our best guess is they're trying to get at cattail roots & possibly find a little gizzard grit in the process. I also wonder if they could possibly be after something like dead bugs or snails. Much of the stuff they scratched out of the way, they were obviously avoiding eating. Anyway, we hunted under 3 hours & had a fantastic day, punctuated by a couple of mystifying instances of "How in the world do Sage & Ace do what they do??"

Sunday Ace & I hunted public land, specifically a relatively small WPA that I commonly hunt 3-4 times a season. This area had roughly 24" of snow on the ground. The only thing of value right now on the WPA is the cattail slough, so that's what we hunted, & it was the most physically challenging hunting I've had in a long, long time. I suspect it's the most challenging work Ace has EVER had to do in his 4 seasons. Within 1/2 mile of "my" slough are a couple other sloughs, a couple big, thick shelterbelts, & picked corn/bean fields, all on private land. But some pheasants were in there, most of which began to flush before we even got to the slough, or in the first couple minutes of entering the cattails. I verbally identified each rooster I saw & checked my GoPro footage afterward. I believe we saw about 30 pheasants in 45 minutes, which is a real good number for that little spot. I've seen it hold more a few times, but commonly not quite that many. The unfortunate thing is of those 30 birds we saw, 11 were roosters. Fun for hunters, but too many! Fortunately, Ace & I (mostly Ace) were able to assist the hens & eliminate 3 of the 11. And I strongly suspect there are more roosters in the area somewhere, so we may get out there, bust our behinds, & try to help out those hens one more time in the next couple weeks. We're pretty serious conservationists.

The short story is Ace & I had a really great weekend of pheasant hunting. Please get out there & shoot some too!

View attachment 5133

View attachment 5134

View attachment 5135

View attachment 5136

View attachment 5137

View attachment 5138
Man I wish my lab ,river could hunt right now.Nice pics.
 

jmuller19

Active member
I'm in the same boat, not going to make my late season trip out to SD, weather isn't to good. My dog is mad at me also. LOL
 

dag

Member
I gave up on the idea of a return trip this year as well. Gonna try our luck in Kansas this weekend instead
 

Chessie 67

Active member
I hope this post encourages some of you to get out & hunt in the last couple weeks of the season. There are definitely plenty of pheasants out there, & since it looks like it could turn into a long winter for them, as many roosters need to be shot as possible to take a little pressure off the hens.

Saturday I drove up the interstate about 100 miles to hunt with Golden Hour. Thanks for inviting us up, Lucas. During my drive, I saw many, many groups of pheasants out feeding &/or looking for gizzard grit, some small, some quite large. It was a little hard to keep track of, but my guess is I saw 750-1,000 pheasants....just driving up to hunt.

We hunted 2 private spots he has access to that contain cattail sloughs & food plots (corn). There are also large shelterbelts nearby. I'd say there was about 11"-12" of snow on the ground. Drifting, of course, presented some significant challenges. They'd apparently had ice in the area before the bulk of the snow. In some spots, this bent cattails over & has held much of the snow up about 3.5' or so off the ground. I can't imagine a safer, warmer place for pheasants under these circumstances. They get under there & don't want to come out, unless STRONGLY encouraged by a good pheasant dog. Similarly, a medium-sized, brown & white dog gets under there & gets disoriented until his human makes enough noise to be located. All that said, the corn plot was empty when we arrived & walked it first. But all the pheasants were in the slough. Most flushed wild & escaped safely. Again, a difficult estimate, but I'm guessing somewhere around 150 pheasants. 5 roosters did NOT flush wild & paid the price, although 2 were not recovered (which had appeared to be hit well too). We witnessed amazing dog work during our hunt, & judging by a couple birds the dogs DID recover, it really makes me wonder what, exactly, a significantly wounded rooster has to do in heavy cover & snow to successfully evade TWO pretty damn good, experienced dogs. I've said this before, but a rooster's will to survive & ability to do it boggles my mind. I hope those 2 heal to fight another day. And if not...coyotes need to eat to.

At the second spot, we found a good number of pheasants in the food plot, but I think the majority were in the slough. Again, I'll guess there were around 150 pheasants. That we SAW. Makes you wonder how many you DON'T see. We finished our limit without too much effort, although most birds were pretty darn wild (not surprising). One interesting thing we saw here was that, although they have easy access to corn & are certainly eating lots of it, they'd really been scratching/searching at the base of cattail clumps in the slough, as well as tearing into muskrat huts. I'd seen that before, but not to this extent (possibly just due to numbers of pheasants in an area). Our best guess is they're trying to get at cattail roots & possibly find a little gizzard grit in the process. I also wonder if they could possibly be after something like dead bugs or snails. Much of the stuff they scratched out of the way, they were obviously avoiding eating. Anyway, we hunted under 3 hours & had a fantastic day, punctuated by a couple of mystifying instances of "How in the world do Sage & Ace do what they do??"

Sunday Ace & I hunted public land, specifically a relatively small WPA that I commonly hunt 3-4 times a season. This area had roughly 24" of snow on the ground. The only thing of value right now on the WPA is the cattail slough, so that's what we hunted, & it was the most physically challenging hunting I've had in a long, long time. I suspect it's the most challenging work Ace has EVER had to do in his 4 seasons. Within 1/2 mile of "my" slough are a couple other sloughs, a couple big, thick shelterbelts, & picked corn/bean fields, all on private land. But some pheasants were in there, most of which began to flush before we even got to the slough, or in the first couple minutes of entering the cattails. I verbally identified each rooster I saw & checked my GoPro footage afterward. I believe we saw about 30 pheasants in 45 minutes, which is a real good number for that little spot. I've seen it hold more a few times, but commonly not quite that many. The unfortunate thing is of those 30 birds we saw, 11 were roosters. Fun for hunters, but too many! Fortunately, Ace & I (mostly Ace) were able to assist the hens & eliminate 3 of the 11. And I strongly suspect there are more roosters in the area somewhere, so we may get out there, bust our behinds, & try to help out those hens one more time in the next couple weeks. We're pretty serious conservationists.

The short story is Ace & I had a really great weekend of pheasant hunting. Please get out there & shoot some too!

View attachment 5133

View attachment 5134

View attachment 5135

View attachment 5136

View attachment 5137

View attachment 5138
Great photos, thanks for sharing!
 

A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
Wondering if you wore snowshoes? If so, did they help?

Thanks,

Jon
Jon,
No not that weekend. They were in the truck just in case. I wore them a couple different places last weekend though. They're great out in the open, or if there are "trails" through the cattails. But if busting through thick cattails in tons of snow is required, snow shoes are more problem than solution.
 

jonnyB

Well-known member
Jon,
No not that weekend. They were in the truck just in case. I wore them a couple different places last weekend though. They're great out in the open, or if there are "trails" through the cattails. But if busting through thick cattails in tons of snow is required, snow shoes are more problem than solution.
Brent,

Thanks for the info...can't imagine wading through the c.tails with snow shoes. Thought about a last hunt the next several day's but don't think the dog could manage the deep snow or me either! Enjoy the video's - keep producing so I can enjoy the hunt in my study...
 
Top