MN report 11/23 11/24

Went out hunting on saturday with a buddy and his dog. Hit McLeod/Meeker/Renville counties. Started on public land shortly after 9 and didn't flush anything. We did hear two different shots on the public land just west of us, so we figured 2 roosters down. We then moved to private land where my buddy deer hunts, he had heard crowing all during gun deer season. We didn't have any luck there either. Tried more public the rest of the day and saw empty shells and even a spot where a pheasant had been bedded down and turds everywhere but no flushes for the entire day. Sunday I went to my uncle's farm in either blue earth or waseca county, I'm not quite sure. He has lived there a long time, and knows the birds tendencies so I was excited to go hunting with him for the first time. He lives on about 80 acres of CRP and it is good bird habitat with lots of tall grass and a large cattail slough surrounded by cornfields. About 40 mins. in I paused and two hens jumped up right in front of me, then a third one flushed somewhere behind me. A minute later I heard the cackles of a rooster flying away but couldn't see him over the grass and rise in terrain. 10 minutes after that a rooster flushed far off to our right, but crossed high and in front of both of us, flying into the slough. Even though he was slightly out of range, it was so cool to see a nice rooster crossing and cackling angrily as he flew to safety in the cattails. As we came to a road and walked to the next spot my uncle told me stories of pheasants he shot in the past, tales about him and his black lab Katie chasing smart old cocks that slipped away, and about times he had to get a little wet to retrieve roosters he's hit that landed in the slough. We walked down the long gravel drive going back towards the old farm house and entered a perfect strip of crp grass, with a harvested corn field on our right. He and Katie worked the edge, while I walked the middle. With a sudden blast of wingbeats and ornery cackles I looked to see a bird erupt from the grass to my right, as Katie had pushed a bird off the edge towards me. "ROOSTER, SHOOT SHOOT!!!" I heard my uncle yell, and I swung the gun up to my left shoulder and drew a bead on a beautiful bird right in front of me. I lead him a good bit and pulled the trigger once, then again, and again. I kept a close eye as to watch for feathers to fly, a shudder, or a drop, but he floated down in the cattails with his wings out and not a scratch on him. Another perfect opportunity at harvesting my first rooster, another bird that got away. I felt like I could have crawled underneath a rock. Thankfully my uncle is a good man, and told me to reload and that often times the rooster gets away. Even though he got the better of me, I won't ever forget that pheasant. I wondered what my grandpa would have thought, as it was his farm originally and he hunted there for most of his life. Although I'm now O for 5 on the year at roosters shot at, I've enjoyed pheasant hunting so much. Whether by myself and a dog, or a good buddy or relative along, it is really something I have looked forward to during my very brief pheasant hunting career. Good luck to everyone reading this who is still getting out hunting.
Good luck! I remember my first year hunting Pheasants 11 years ago, I think I went the entire year without hitting one but I was instantly hooked. Improved a bit each year since then. Even now I still have bad days. 2 weeks ago in SD I went 4/4 the first day (3 people in our group), 1/8 the next day, and I think 3/4 the third day. I'm not a great shot, I don't hardly ever shoot outside of hunting. I'm not a "gun guru" so to say, I just love walking a field and watching a dog walk. For the sake of my dog, I should probably practice a bit more.


Sounds like a great couple days in the field with your buddy and uncle. Keep at it and you will connect on that elusive first rooster, then at some point you will look back and laugh about your missed shots. I was out Saturday and couldn’t get close to a rooster. Flushed 6-7 hens very close and had 6 roosters that were not sticking around for the dog and I to get into range. Keep going out and learning from every experience. Best of luck on your next hunt.