New Member

mikeP

New member
Hello,

I just joined this forum and am looking forward to meeting you all. I live in Illinois (The land where our governors make our license plates!) I'm 63 and started hunting pheasants when I was a kid, although I haven't hunted in a while. I am planning on my first trip to South Dakota next year, however I don't have a dog and will be hunting alone. I've only hunted with a dog a few times and really enjoyed it I love dogs, and love watching them work, and used to be involved in showing Golden Retrievers.

I enjoy hunting alone and have taken many wild birds without a dog, but I know the advantages of a dog and have probably walked by hundreds of birds! I don't mind pounding the fields all day for a shot or two. I am looking for information on hunting public land, as that's what my budget will allow. Is it reasonable to think this would be worth it? I've always wanted to hunt South Dakota, for me it's not the number of birds I get, but rather the experience. Any and all information, tips, or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
Mike.
 

Chestle

Active member
Barring this current period, the winter has been pretty mild so far. Crops were out kinda late in 2020, so cover was good for the birds during the main part of the season. What I'm hearing is that the carryover numbers were pretty good, better than the last couple of years. So that's a good thing.

IF this extreme cold doesn't kill off a lot of birds and IF we luck out decent spring weather not too hot or cold, not to wet or dry...2021 could be a very good year for hunting SD.

In the really good years, I have limited out way too early in the day. ;)
 

A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
Hello,

I just joined this forum and am looking forward to meeting you all. I live in Illinois (The land where our governors make our license plates!) I'm 63 and started hunting pheasants when I was a kid, although I haven't hunted in a while. I am planning on my first trip to South Dakota next year, however I don't have a dog and will be hunting alone. I've only hunted with a dog a few times and really enjoyed it I love dogs, and love watching them work, and used to be involved in showing Golden Retrievers.

I enjoy hunting alone and have taken many wild birds without a dog, but I know the advantages of a dog and have probably walked by hundreds of birds! I don't mind pounding the fields all day for a shot or two. I am looking for information on hunting public land, as that's what my budget will allow. Is it reasonable to think this would be worth it? I've always wanted to hunt South Dakota, for me it's not the number of birds I get, but rather the experience. Any and all information, tips, or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
Mike.
Any hunting that fits your budget is worth it.
Here's a link to the online public hunting atlas.https://sdgfp.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=946eccdaadf84df6aa2bcf08e9fb1aaf
You can also get it in pdf or paper form.
In my part of the state (southeastern), WIA, CREP & WPA are best in terms of type of habitat, number of birds, & huntability.
Here's a link to the crop report. https://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistic...lications/Crop_Progress_&_Condition/index.php
With the crop report & communicating w/ others, your trip would ideally coincide w/ the very tail end of the corn harvest (which of course varies from locale to locale; the report is a statewide, comprehensive look).
For what it's worth, I estimate I see at least 7 times as many birds w/ my springer as without him.
 

Matt D

Active member
Welcome to the site. Obviously a dog increases your odds but with some thoughtful hunting you should be able to have opportunities with out one with hard work. Hunting without a dog beats not hunting for sure!! As the time gets closer you may post and get lucky to hook up with someone for a day? Good luck.
 

remy3424

Active member
Welcome MIke! If you can get a dog, do it, as you know, they change everything! They are a full-time commitment and not in the cards for everyone. I am not sure I would hunt much if there wasn't a dog along...any dog, it doesn't even need to be my dog. Heck, when you are heading out that way (SD), let us know, you might get invited to hunt along the way.
 
Hi mike hope the suggestion you may find some folks to hunt along side is a solid idea. If you are up to a non solitary trip.I have met Nothing but Rock Solid sportsman on UPH site , and hunted happily with several! You are at the right place! South Dakota is breathtaking when we have a good hatch!!! Good luck learning and meeting ! Regards
 

Birdybird

New member
If you don’t have luck on public land, consider quietly and slowly walking roadside ditches along corn fields and you should do just fine, especially towards the end of the day.
 

mikeP

New member
Thanks Mike, love those Goldens! Another question for you all. I'm not used to being able to hunt roadsides, I'm assuming not all are legal? If they're not posted are they legal? Thanks!
 

5 stand

Active member
South Dakota road hunting: This covers most of it.

Public-road rights of way, excluding the Interstate highway system, are open to hunting small game and waterfowl. However, no person may hunt within 660 feet of schools, churches, occupied dwellings and livestock. Furthermore, neither the person discharging a firearm nor the small-game animal being shot at may be within the 660-foot safety zone.

Dogs may be used in the unarmed retrieval of lawfully taken waterfowl and small-game birds from private property. However, under no circumstances may dogs be used to intentionally flush birds from private property to hunters in the right of way.

The public right of way along a section line or other highway is open for hunting if the right of way has been commonly used by the public for vehicular travel, as demonstrated by the existence of a well-worn vehicle trail. It’s also open for hunting if an intentional alteration of adaptation has been made to the right of way to enhance the natural terrain’s utility for vehicular travel or to permit vehicular travel where it was not possible before.

It’s important to note that fences are sometimes not on a right-of-way boundary and sometimes there is no fence. Most section-line rights of way are 66 feet wide. Some acquired rights of way are wider. Here are some other laws to remember if you choose to hunt public-road rights of way in South Dakota:

• Hunters can only take small game (except mourning doves) and waterfowl within the right of way on foot. The hunter must be within the right of way and the game must have taken flight from within or be flying over the right of way.

• Hunters must park or stop their vehicle as far to the right-hand side of the road as possible. If the person who discharges a firearm is more than 50 yards from the vehicle, the doors on the side of the vehicle nearest the roadway must be closed, but the engine may remain running. If the person who discharges a firearm is less than 50 yards from the vehicle, all doors must be closed and the engine should be turned off.

• It is not legal to shoot small game and waterfowl that takes flight from a public right of way over a Federal Refuge or Indian Tribal Trust lands. If a state-licensed hunter shoots at a bird across the fence on either of these lands, the hunter may be subject to arrest by federal U.S. Fish and Wildlife officers.

• Small game and waterfowl taken from the right of way that falls onto private property can be retrieved by unarmed hunters on foot.

• While hunting a right of way, any person who negligently endangers another person, or puts that person in fear of imminent serious bodily harm, is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
 
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sjohn

Member
Not really sure how I would attack a public area without a dog. you will definitely have to do what other have not done in the past. Walk that extra 200 yards to the neckdown and hope he waits for you. Come at it from a different angle as they get educated fairly quickly, so do what the other 4 groups in before you have not done. I would concentrate more on roadside ditches with good cover and good food near by. In a large field, without a dog, they are just going to run around you unless you can corner them or push then into a trap. And this is way easier said than done. If you are walking public, scout it out early in the morning and after hunting hours. Look for birds coming out of cover and returning. I, like most people on this forum, have pulled up to a spot to hunt late in the day and catch it just right as the birds are flying back into the cover you are about to hunt. Let them settle in and then approach them in a way that prevents or at least limits their running escape routes. Push them towards a road intersection, but be ready and never ever give up on the hunt..... especially without a dog.

But the first thing I would do is knock on a few doors and try to hunt private. One person hunting without a dog should be able to gain permission fairly easily. More likely to find birds that are not as well educated and may even be virgins.

Good luck and if you have a friend with a dog, invite him. And if you have a really good friend with a dog, ask to borrow his dog. I have borrowed dogs on several occasions through the years. Best to ya.
 

mikeP

New member
Not really sure how I would attack a public area without a dog. you will definitely have to do what other have not done in the past. Walk that extra 200 yards to the neckdown and hope he waits for you. Come at it from a different angle as they get educated fairly quickly, so do what the other 4 groups in before you have not done. I would concentrate more on roadside ditches with good cover and good food near by. In a large field, without a dog, they are just going to run around you unless you can corner them or push then into a trap. And this is way easier said than done. If you are walking public, scout it out early in the morning and after hunting hours. Look for birds coming out of cover and returning. I, like most people on this forum, have pulled up to a spot to hunt late in the day and catch it just right as the birds are flying back into the cover you are about to hunt. Let them settle in and then approach them in a way that prevents or at least limits their running escape routes. Push them towards a road intersection, but be ready and never ever give up on the hunt..... especially without a dog.

But the first thing I would do is knock on a few doors and try to hunt private. One person hunting without a dog should be able to gain permission fairly easily. More likely to find birds that are not as well educated and may even be virgins.

Good luck and if you have a friend with a dog, invite him. And if you have a really good friend with a dog, ask to borrow his dog. I have borrowed dogs on several occasions through the years. Best to ya.
Thanks sjohn for the advice, really good info. I have learned a lot of tricks over the years, zig-zagging, stopping frequently etc. If I am hunting a narrow strip, I will go partway through get out, and come back from the opposite direction, they think they're trapped and this has also worked well. If there are some corncobs available I'll throw them a ways away when I stop, then start walking. Not as fun as with a dog and I'm sure I've walked by many birds!

That being said, I was also going to ask if there are certain areas in the state where the cover is more suited for this type of hunting. Obviously heading into a large field is almost pointless. Thanks again for your advice.

Mike.
 

Golden Hour

Well-known member
While I've never done it, I've talked to folks who have waited in the grass at public land spots and wait for the pheasants to return to roost in the hour before sunset. Spot and stalk might be an option if you don't have a dog.

One other thing I would suggest is coming earlier in the season, if you are going to be by yourself without a dog. After a short time, even the spring of the year birds get wise.

Keep us posted as your plans develop, i.e., dates and location, and someone might be able to give you a real good steer in the right direction.
 

benelli-banger

Well-known member
Random hunters used to hunker down in the ditches adjacent to my ground...often in camo...to pass shoot! It worked, but pissed me off they were in camo and sitting low to the ground...unsafe...
 

mikeP

New member
While I've never done it, I've talked to folks who have waited in the grass at public land spots and wait for the pheasants to return to roost in the hour before sunset. Spot and stalk might be an option if you don't have a dog.

One other thing I would suggest is coming earlier in the season, if you are going to be by yourself without a dog. After a short time, even the spring of the year birds get wise.

Keep us posted as your plans develop, i.e., dates and location, and someone might be able to give you a real good steer in the right direction.
Thanks!
 

mikeP

New member
Random hunters used to hunker down in the ditches adjacent to my ground...often in camo...to pass shoot! It worked, but pissed me off they were in camo and sitting low to the ground...unsafe...
Yeah, not safe! I like to work for my birds, it's more rewarding.
 
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