MN 2016 season recap

Flushedup

Active member
Well, no one has started this so here goes.

- How many times were you able to get out?

- How accurate do you think the DNR report reflected the numbers?

- How do you feel about the hunting opportunities?

- Positive outlook for next year?
 

Flushedup

Active member
- I got out less than I wanted to, mostly because of the abundance of water. 6 times?
- I think they got it generally correct, maybe not 29% but an uptick nonetheless
- I experienced more hunters in the field so the public opportunities were somewhat competitive. Was fortunate enough to be invited to a private hunt and man, what a difference.
- I am generally positive, hope that the return of CRP is on the horizon.
 

GustavDaGSP

New member
Well, no one has started this so here goes.

- How many times were you able to get out?

10

- How accurate do you think the DNR report reflected the numbers?

Spot on in places and low in others never struggled to have opportunities just my shooting as always :D

-How do you feel about the hunting opportunities?

Plenty of traffic but in my opinion that is good, may have to move on and find a new spot but more people buying licenses helps the cause

- Positive outlook for next year?

Lets hope for a good winter and carryover should be strong

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limited multiple times and never got skunked :D

:cheers:
 
Only got out 8 maybe 9 times in MN 3 were close to home birds were up in all my areas I hunted the areas were way wet hard to access so no idea how many birds were really out there honestly...

DNR survey pretty accurate...

Hunting opportunities in MN are great after a month into the MN & SD hunting season I'd rather hunt MN way way way less hunter activity on MN public lands WMA system top notch habitat set up wise & u can usually kick up a rooster or 2 with a decent dog most every day out in W SW SC MN...

I hunted DEC 30 did a 2 & half hour walk seen 30+ birds killed 1 stud rooster seen 2 others I barely touched the area was another plot & cattail slough to hit with tree break last year did hole walk seen 80+ ez I'm sure there was as many in there or more this Dec ... I'm very positive if we dont have this icey crust artic cold crap all winter some birds will pull through then we need a good spring hatch...


If it was not so wet in most areas & cattails un safe so long we would a seen some awesome late season hunting SD was even tuff b4 the freeze...
 
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TBIRD19

New member
Well, no one has started this so here goes.

- How many times were you able to get out?

- How accurate do you think the DNR report reflected the numbers?

- How do you feel about the hunting opportunities?

- Positive outlook for next year?

Thanks for doing this Flushedup. I've been wanting to do an end of year reflection. This breaks it down easy.

-I hunted 12 days SW MN to be exact. 5 two days trips and 2 single day hunts. Only 3 of those 12 days in December which is less than what I want for December hunting.

-30% increase? No way. At least from what I observed in the SW area that I target. Could have been a hail storm this year down there I didnt know about or something that hit the population directly in my specific areas, not trying to start a huge debate on this, but from what "I" observed 30% seems inflated. December late season is usually a big indicator for me when birds flock up and are more condensed into areas. And from what I observed last year compared to this year was a significant difference. Last year scouting and driving field to field we would see flocks of 20-30-40 feeding in fields. This year I didnt witness that really at all. Seen birds feeding in fields yes, but not those kind of numbers or as frequent as last year. Just my 2 cents.

-Hunting Opportunities were okay. Seems like every year turns into more of a frenzy. Hunters are crazy. Everyone is out for a piece of the pie. Everyone is trying to beat everyone to the punch. Plenty of times I'd get to a spot at 9:30-10am and it had already been hunted. Person would already be gone, but fresh dog and boot tracks. How did you effectively hunt, load back up and disappear within 30-45 mins? (No it was not deer season, and I highly doubt they were hunting anything other than pheasant). Talked to a farmer who butts up to a WMA in November. Told us we are the 4th car to park and walk that area today. It was 2:30 in the afternoon.....
I love hunting and taking a bird(s) off public land, but with a 2 yr old dog time is precious right now. For his sake, I cant afford to walk spots and come up empty. I understand that comes with the territory of public land and hunting in general but in a time that I want to ignite his drive to hunt wild birds and put feathers in his mouth I cant have that. With that said, knocked on plenty of doors this year and surprisingly had A LOT of luck. This helped our season and dog development a ton and I'm hoping to keep these relationships alive.

- Hen count seemed healthy enough to keep me optimistic for next year. We'll see how winter survival and spring rain turn out.
 

BRITTMAN

Well-known member
I will try write a report later, but my initial and casual observations were birds down a little in the two main areas I hunt and higher in the area where I used to hunt (scouted there after limits and saw quite a few birds even in Oct/Nov just milling and moving about).

I have had very little issue with competition for spots.
 
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Areas I hunted SW MN W MN & within a hour of metro all seemed same or better #s wise & I seen birds in areas that used to just be a spot to walk my dog...

Hunter wise on opener was same old S*** but after that I was always able to go hunt plan B spot if needed... Had many WMA or WPA to my self all day after MN deer

Tbird I try to wait to start hunting sometimes and drive around at the 9:00 am start time & see wear other hunters are or are not it helps sometimes better then hope n & wish nobody was just there... & if they were there & gone within 30-45 min wait a lil & hunt it anyway they rushed threw it to fast...

This late warm fall kept the big flocks from forming & birds way spread out all over the terrain gotta keep that in mind... I shot more birds on 2 MN day hunts then I did in 5 days in SD they have more birds I'm sure I just did not see them this 2016 season...
 

Smokyhillsguide

New member
Had my best year in quite a while. I hunt an area of WC that has been in the "poor" to "very poor" zones on the DNR prospects map for the past few years, but thankfully this area always produces for me. Bird concentrations were spotty as usual, but overall I was impressed and I've hunted the same area for nearly 40 yrs. My son and I saw more birds in the first hour on opening day than I have in the past 8-10 years even flushing over 50 birds one afternoon, proving the range-wide pre-season predictions accurate, even though my area did not show an increase over last year according to the road counts. I've come to believe over the years some areas just don't "road count" very accurately..especially where I hunt. A good subject for another thread perhaps...

Got out plenty and would've liked to have hunted a few more times, but had to visit the in-laws in AZ after Christmas. Next time I'm bringing a gun and hunting Gambel's quail down there as they seemed to be everywhere! Had some great solo hunts with my 7 yr old lab in December getting limits on my last 4 trips. I killed a total of 32 birds for the season and only failed to limit once. In fact limiting too soon some days was my only "complaint", that, and the warm and wet conditions for much of the season which made things tough some days on both man and beast.

Have to say I'm worried about next year's prospects in WC due to heavy ice and crusted deep snow in much of the region. The only bright spot is that many low areas were left with standing corn or beans, which is surely helping survival in what's adding up to be a tough winter so far. Birds in areas without standing crops or food plots are likely suffering heavy losses. A good thaw next week would really help!! As usual we could use a lot more PF food plots out there for nasty winters such as this.
 

Smokyhillsguide

New member
Forgot to mention I also shot my longest tail feathered rooster in 38 years of being a pheasant hunting addict - 28.5"...This was a definitely memorable season for me!
 
Had my best year in quite a while. I hunt an area of WC that has been in the "poor" to "very poor" zones on the DNR prospects map for the past few years, but thankfully this area always produces for me. Bird concentrations were spotty as usual, but overall I was impressed and I've hunted the same area for nearly 40 yrs. My son and I saw more birds in the first hour on opening day than I have in the past 8-10 years even flushing over 50 birds one afternoon, proving the range-wide pre-season predictions accurate, even though my area did not show an increase over last year according to the road counts. I've come to believe over the years some areas just don't "road count" very accurately..especially where I hunt. A good subject for another thread perhaps...

Got out plenty and would've liked to have hunted a few more times, but had to visit the in-laws in AZ after Christmas. Next time I'm bringing a gun and hunting Gambel's quail down there as they seemed to be everywhere! Had some great solo hunts with my 7 yr old lab in December getting limits on my last 4 trips. I killed a total of 32 birds for the season and only failed to limit once. In fact limiting too soon some days was my only "complaint", that, and the warm and wet conditions for much of the season which made things tough some days on both man and beast.

Have to say I'm worried about next year's prospects in WC due to heavy ice and crusted deep snow in much of the region. The only bright spot is that many low areas were left with standing corn or beans, which is surely helping survival in what's adding up to be a tough winter so far. Birds in areas without standing crops or food plots are likely suffering heavy losses. A good thaw next week would really help!! As usual we could use a lot more PF food plots out there for nasty winters such as this.


Yeah 10-16 inch on the snow cover maps could be tuff on birds with no winter habitat this winter for sure...

When you say WC mind if I ask if ur are talking north or south of say morris MN. Up past Fergus falls them northern range pheasants mite get desamated if no let up...

Looking like next next WK we have a warm up we need it for the pheasants bad...
 

nater

New member
1) Hunted maybe 30-35 times, a lot of ~1 hr hunts after work before daylight savings times, a few after that, at least 1 day per weekend generally and a lot of weekends hunted both days. We got a GSP puppy in July so my goal was to get him out on as much birds as possible. Mission accomplished.

2)Statewide index for pheasants--have to take that with a huge grain of salt. I would say I saw more birds on the average trip this year vs. average trips hunting with friends last couple years. But I also was on a lot of solo hunts, know the areas I hunt better every year, etc. etc.. I will say I was stoked to get so many bird contacts; I would guess the pup sniffed out 125-150 birds with a lot of good points when the birds wanted to hold. We have some work to do in the off season but the birds are definitely better trainers than I am. Plus they're a lot cheaper than time with the real pro trainers. Now I just need to convert on more shots next year so the pup can practice his retrieves.

3)Opportunities were generally good. I think I had maybe 1 or 2 trips where I didn't have the opportunity to shoot a rooster. Even on those trips, we saw birds and got a point or two. Pattern last year and this year was heavy pressure on public early, dies down during deer and stays slow until maybe 2nd week of December...then public gets slammed again. Last week around Christmas is especially surprising in terms of pressure. Hopefully next year the hard water fishing picks up sooner and splits up the outdoor activity.

4)There are a lot of hens out there right now. At least in the southern tier counties, there is a lot of food freely available in the blown open fields. Birds have transitioned to heavy cover but don't have to travel too far to eat. We'll get some thaw this week that should also give the birds a little relief. I'm optimistic when birds go into late January in good condition without a ton of snow on the ground. But it's the ice in feb/march that seems to do us in.

Shot a hun on SW MN public land too this year!
 

Smokyhillsguide

New member
The area I hunt is all north of Morris and that's where the persistent ice and snow cover is (was). This recent warm-up has truly been a blessing for pheasants as well as the turkeys and deer. I believe the ice is now gone as is much of the crusted snow, especially on the hilltops. Birds can now scratch for waste grain again. Pheasants were in great shape before the ice and snow hit and lots of standing crops were left in wet areas - could have been much worse. Lets hope for a milder end to this winter and a warm dry spring and early summer!
 

Smokyhillsguide

New member
Yeah 10-16 inch on the snow cover maps could be tuff on birds with no winter habitat this winter for sure...

When you say WC mind if I ask if ur are talking north or south of say morris MN. Up past Fergus falls them northern range pheasants mite get desamated if no let up...

Looking like next next WK we have a warm up we need it for the pheasants bad...

The area I hunt is all north of Morris and that's where the persistent ice and snow cover is (was). This recent warm-up has truly been a blessing for pheasants as well as the turkeys and deer. I believe the ice is now gone as is much of the crusted snow, especially on the hilltops. Birds can now scratch for waste grain again. Pheasants were in great shape before the ice and snow hit and lots of standing crops were left in wet areas - could have been much worse. Lets hope for a milder end to this winter and a warm dry spring and early summer!
 

nater

New member
I still have a bag over my head. Not good on all. I have not seen it this poor in a long time.:( But there never used to be cow pies all over nesting cover either.

Do you mind me asking what general area you were hunting that had cattle grazing? I assume you mean on public land? Fed or state?
 
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