Let’s hear about opening day

TheKChunter

New member
It was great.My dog made a great water retrieve on a sharptail.I found a great ranch.Got some birds, great weather!
Awesome, we had 4 guys one Lab. He worked hard with all the water around. Ended up leaving today around 2, 5 birds in the truck. Saw 15-20 roosters.
 

A5 Sweet 16

Member
Bleak where I was. Hunted maybe 2.5 hrs each day, late afternoons, up until sunset. Typically not hard to get limits, even if there's standing corn all over the place. Ace & I got 1 shot & 1 bird each day. Only saw a couple handfuls of other birds. Total.

Hunted public land & walk-ins, which are prime, grade-A habitat. If any place is going to have good winter survival & a good hatch....it's where I hunt.

This year, in this general area, there's almost NO corn or beans planted. The fields are either barren, w/ a tiny amount of last year's stalks poking up here & there. Or maybe some weeds & crap have popped up scattered around. Or they've been planted with some sort of cover plant, which in most cases is a short-ish (12" maybe) grass like plant that my agronomy & botany skills don't allow me to identify. So you hunt the edges next to this stuff. Nothing. You hunt around the edge of real wet cattails. Nothing. You meander around the middle of the field you're hunting. Nothing. You wait until sunset & hope to see birds fly in from somewhere (???) or at least move around the area. Nothing. No "cawk, cawk, cawk". No nothing.

I can't believe there weren't quite a few birds around earlier this summer. Did they migrate? How far? Are they in trees? Doubtful. Not at sunset. Are they standing around in the middle of an unplanted field pecking around for last year's waste grain? Doubtful, at least not for very long. There are hawks all over the place.

The 2 birds I shot this weekend each had beans in them. So they either found last year's beans lying around, or they traveled quite a distance to get them.

If there are still quite a few birds in the area that I'm just not seeing, I'm pretty concerned for their well-being over winter. With no corn & beans, I'm not sure what they'd eat.
View attachment 9453
 

Labproud

New member
Hey All .... first time poster, long time viewer of this site. Our group hunted both sat & sun enjoying seeing many birds hunting private CRP. However, the shooting performance was less than stellar, many first-time hunters schooled how challenging it was to connect on these birds. I've hunted this property for many years, this has been by far the best opener based upon the number of birds seen and shots taken. Seen many birds just starting to turn color (late hatch).
 

benelli-banger

Active member
Day 3, winds gusting to 50, very sporty conditions! Rained all day until about 4pm, started at 5pm...killed 2, missed a 3rd. My buddy sat out most of the day, has some physical limitations, wise to rest most of the day. Strange year, many fields unplanted, but have weeds growing in them... most crops standing...we’ve killed 17, most are this years birds, which is good. Bird #’s are down, but they are around. My 7 month old pup had 20+ days already hunting prairie birds earlier in the fall and 5 or more ruffed grouse outings....she knows the game well at this point...much fun!!!!!
 

Birddog23

New member
We hunted on Saturday and Sunday. The Farmer said he's been seeing tons of birds this year. He thought maybe it could be because there were lots of fields that didn't get planted around his land so they were possibly all coming to his land. We were unable to hunt some of our best areas due to flooding in the river bottom areas. We mostly hunted corn fields, sorghum fields, very little crp or switchgrass type stuff. That's what I would have preferred to hunt, but we were limited to what we could hunt. We had a large group and got 9 birds on Saturday, and just 5 on Sunday but we had a small group on Sunday.
Stuff was very thick in places, it was like a jungle in some of the sorghum. First bird we got on Saturday landed down in a ravine about 60-70 yards. My wife's family typically doesn't have a dog to hunt with, but I got to go with them this year. So the first bird this season was a blind retrieve. I sent him on a back, he took a straight line, found the bird, and I heard cheering from the group watching. Love it when the training pays off.
We would have lost 6 out of the 9 birds on Saturday if we didn't have the dog along. We couldn't find the birds, until we brought my dog over. So that was great that we never lost a bird.

Saw some very young birds, really saw only one bird that we shot with pretty decent tail feathers.

Had a great time! They are out there, just lots of cover with crops still in
 

Matt D

Member
State wide 9% of corn harvested and 33% of beans. As weather allows guys will be getting after it I’m sure. The early snow was a good reminder of what can happen at any time. Expect hunting to continue to improve as crops come out.
 

jmuller19

Member
hunted north east of aberdeen, lots of corn, water and wind. Still had fun and my dog was just as happy. Birds in the bag don't fully measure success.
 

Hockeybob

Member
hunted north east of aberdeen, lots of corn, water and wind. Still had fun and my dog was just as happy. Birds in the bag don't fully measure success.
I promise you guys coming from out of state and spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars on a pheasant trip absolutely care about the amount of birds seen and bagged. Most out-of-state hunters could hunt in their own state but it’s very very poor hunting. They come to the great state of South Dakota for one reason and one reason only and that is for the amount of birds. If the bird population is low there is no need to come they can stay and shoot Pen raised birds in their home state and save all that money.
 

A5 Sweet 16

Member
My dog made a 200 yard retrieve on a shaptail that fell in a pond.I made a great passing shot, of 60 yards.That was the highlight.
Great passing shot that resulted in a 200 yd retrieve. I made a true triple, all 60 yds plus. All retrieves were 1/4-1/2 mile, blind, & up hill both ways.
 

Labproud

New member
View attachment 9457

Not sure if this will work, but attempting to show a pic of a couple of very young birds crossing road on Friday before opener. Prior to taking pic, the was the mother hen and 4 chicks. Birds shown are very young for this time of year.
 

jags

New member
Family group of 8 hunted opening weekend and shot 15 birds, all private land around Eureka. Limits from opening weekend till the close of the season are typically easy. I did not even bother to cash in the remaining 5 days of my non-resident license, I instead chose to chase ducks around the countryside and did very well. Good news is the hunters still came in droves with lots of out of state plates in the area. The fireman's feed fed over 700 people on opening day evening, with hunting reports being very dismal. I did see more birds the week prior to opener while chasing ducks and deer, but from past experience the bird numbers are still very low.....lower than I have ever seen them in 23 years. Last Thursday the farmers were going full tilt on the beans but the rain on Sunday and Monday shut them down. Fields and fields and fields of corn are where the pheasants are hiding right now.
 

Woollybob

New member
I have always maintained that early season hunting is overrated. Still a hoot - don't get me wrong - and I will continue to do it, but opening day challenges are not unusual. If its not too wet, its too hot; Birds can be too young to identify; Crops are usually still up; Public lands are crowded, etc....

I like to get out once in October just to scratch the itch and find a few young-n-dumb ones, but much better hunting in late November through close in January. Crops are out, birds are matured and bunching up, and you are not competing with the crowds on public lands.

I have heard lots of reports that are across the spectrum from the past week - ranging from 'done in an hour' to 'One bird in 2 days'. As has been the case over the past few years, the better reports are coming from those that change their approach & location in response to the unusual conditions, vs 'hunted the same spot for 20 years' approach.
 

jmuller19

Member
Hockeybob, I guess success depends on the person. I want to see lots of birds but that isn't my only reason for coming.
 
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