Prairie chickens

Nasty-G

Member
Top on my bucket list is bagging a prairie chicken. Father time's creeping up on me, I'm 80. Am hoping for some suggestions. Have a Lab & Britt. Even consider a well recommended guide. Thanks for any imput / suggestions. Thanks George.
 

hunter94

Active member
Top on my bucket list is bagging a prairie chicken. Father time's creeping up on me, I'm 80. Am hoping for some suggestions. Have a Lab & Britt. Even consider a well recommended guide. Thanks for any imput / suggestions. Thanks George.
best way is to scout and see the daily flight pattern they are using.....field to roost or loafing area to grain field. then set up at that general time of day and pass shoot them like geese.
walking them up is tough.....finding them is even tougher.
 

s.davis

Member
There used to be a guy out of Tipton, KS who guided on them. Patterned their movements as described above, and pass shot them from coffin blinds. I hunt them by walking them up, and yes, it’s a low success rate venture. They usually flush wild.
 

reddog

Active member
There used to be a guy out of Tipton, KS who guided on them. Patterned their movements as described above, and pass shot them from coffin blinds. I hunt them by walking them up, and yes, it’s a low success rate venture. They usually flush wild.
.

Agreed. I don't hunt them much, but have had some success. Seems to me that most seasoned pheasant pointers do not do well with chickens as they seem to pressure them too hard. What I've seen on the Grasslands by watching guys that do have great chicken dogs is that they want a big running dog who points and stays staunch at absolute first scent. Then the hunters walk up in front of the dog , upwards of 50 to 75 yards upwind. If they can't find anything, they release the dog to relocate. Rinse and repeat. My dogs do not do well with them..
 

Chestle

Member
I've killed a few somewhat north of Tipton, KS.

There was a ridge with a road that split the high point of the ridge. You could park on the north side, truck out of sight and get on the south side of the ridge. Chickens had a flight path along that ridge. They didn't come every day but if you sat that ridge for a week between about 4 -5, chickens would come by in strings maybe 3 days out of the week. If you were lucky and picked the right spot, you might get a shot or two. They always came from east to west.

Now...as to cooking Chickens...never had that much success. As my mentor at that time said "Put the chicken in an old rubber boot, baked at 350 for an hour, throw away the Chicken and eat the boot". I don't think he was that far off.
 

hunter94

Active member
I've killed a few somewhat north of Tipton, KS.

There was a ridge with a road that split the high point of the ridge. You could park on the north side, truck out of sight and get on the south side of the ridge. Chickens had a flight path along that ridge. They didn't come every day but if you sat that ridge for a week between about 4 -5, chickens would come by in strings maybe 3 days out of the week. If you were lucky and picked the right spot, you might get a shot or two. They always came from east to west.

Now...as to cooking Chickens...never had that much success. As my mentor at that time said "Put the chicken in an old rubber boot, baked at 350 for an hour, throw away the Chicken and eat the boot". I don't think he was that far off.

submerge in a strong marinade for 48 hours.....then invite people you don't really like for dinner!
 
I've shot two in my life. Second one to confirm that I hadn't just messed up cooking the first one. We usually get a couple pointed every year here in KS. I'll not shoot another.
 

Randy S

Member
I've shot a lot of chickens. Mostly in Nebraska but also Kansas and South Dakota. I would never rely on pass shooting due to the success demonstrated in the above posts. Just go to Fort Pierre Grasslands and walk high ground with the wind at your back, yes, the wind at your back, and gradually work your way lower untill you find birds.

If you're not up to much walking any game dept. staff will certainly give good local advice to a traveling 80 year old who wants a chicken. If you're there in early/mid October, ask game staff for a booming ground location. The males sorta congregate around booming areas in the fall due to the day light being the same as spring. Even fellow hunters on the grasslands will do what they can to help from a polite inquiry. The hardest part will be sorting chickens from sharptails. Good Luck!!
 

Nasty-G

Member
I think I came across one in SD one time but while I was trying to identify it, GONE !!. I guess I should have shot first.
 

Chestle

Member
I've shot two in my life. Second one to confirm that I hadn't just messed up cooking the first one. We usually get a couple pointed every year here in KS. I'll not shoot another.
Yep, exactly.

What I can't figure out is that they market hunted them and shipped them east in the millions. Jeez...I must be TERRIBLE at cooking them.

Tympanuchus cupido was once as iconic an American bird as the turkey is now. Legendary at the table, prairie chicken was one of the meals Mark Twain pined for when stuck on an extended trip to Europe. It’s been said that Twain based the character Jim from Huckleberry Finn on a waiter who was so impressed that Twain had ordered an entire prairie chicken that he sat down and began a conversation with the author.

Millions of chickens were once shipped via railroad to the markets of Chicago, New York and elsewhere. Prairie chicken recipes were in all the cookbooks of the age. The bonanza seemed endless. Until it wasn’t. Even after the era of market hunting ended in 1918, the prairie chicken continued to struggle....Before the boom, in 1821, a pair of chickens sold for the astonishing price of $5 in New York — that’s $91.50 in today’s dollars. https://honest-food.net/hunting-prairie-chickens/
 
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Chestle

Member
OK, I got to feeling so bad about not being able to cook a Prairie Chicken correctly, I went looking for recipes from the time when they were considered a delicacy and got market hunted for that reason.

I found two. Good hunting! (Not sure if I'll make a point to find one but maybe I'll stumble across one and give one of these a try.)

I found these here: https://books.google.com/books?id=a...nepage&q=early prairie chicken recipe&f=false

The book is called "Twain's Feast: Searching for America's Lost Foods in the Footsteps of Samuel Clemens"

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reddog

Active member
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If you really want to see chickens, make a trip up in the spring and visit the drumming grounds. It was definitely one of the coolest things that I've done in the outdoors.
 
I treat sharptail breasts like a cheap steak. Marinade in your favorite concoction (chipotle, cilantro, seasonings & canola oil for me) at least overnight. Cook to medium rare on a hot charcoal grill. Let rest for 10 minutes and slice thin against the grain. Should work for Prairie Chicken too.

Edit: doesn't hurt to let them age refrigerated in a mild brine for 4 or 5 days either.
 
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Should work for Prairie Chicken too.

You would think so...but that hasn't been my experience. I cook sharpies same as you. Good idea on the brine, but I'm still not shooting another. Too many other birds I actually enjoy eating.
 

Chestle

Member
Just about everything recent I read while I looked for those older Prairie Chicken recipes essentially said Prairie Chickens should be OK with any of your favorite standard grouse recipes. I remain skeptical.
 
We have shot a lot of chickens and sharptail grouse in SD. Local told me to salt and pepper then grill to medium. This is absolutely outstanding way to cook these birds. I know rare fowl sounds crazy but my family and I have ate many this way, even my young kids love them.
 
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