Report on our Annual DIY Trip

carpfisher

New member
4 Adults, 1 kid(11 YO) 2.5 dogs, 3.5 days in the field, Vic Pierre, Agar, and Cheyenne River Reservation. Some Private land otherwist all Public Access.
We saw birds every day, Sharptails and Pez. We harvested 7-8 Roosters and 3 Sharpies. We failed to connect on ~6 Rooster we shot at. All told, we probably saw about ~35 Pheasants, and 15 sharpies.
Rooster:Hen ratio favored rooster ~ 1:4. The numbers are based on what I can remember as I type, not recorded data.
We pretty much walked 1000 to 1700 daily, except when moving to a new field. Based on the past 4 yrs of hunting the same basic areas, we would typically see more birds. (~150?)
If there is no improvement next year, we're not sure we'll continue to hunt like we have been. Perhaps a Uguide facility, or an acquaitance just returned from a Big Game Outfitter in Montanna that has an excellent population on the property he manage/leases. Ringnecks and Goldens. It would add considerable expense to our current method but the Kid will be 12 next year and we want him to have the best chance for success. Plus, dogs (and hunters) get disappointed after putting in all those miles with little action. We quit 2 days early and left for home. We did get some good dog work. The last bird of the trip was a perfect Point, Flush, Shoot, Track, and retrieve from the dog in my Avatar. 10 years old and still going strong ( Thanks Previcox!) This was the only bird out of 1/2 section CRP grass WIA field with Standing Sunflowers on one side.
The tradition will continue somewhere next year as we Blood the kid with his first real hunt(He has walked for the past 3 years). We hope its in SD but time will tell.

PS. A telling point: We make a stop at Cabelas in Mitchell as part of the tradition on the way out. For the past 3 years there was always some level of a crowd in the Bargain Barn waiting in line to buy licenses. This year there was no crowd. I saw 1 guy buy a license.

PPS. Can you believe Cabelas was out of stock on chest protective dog vests 2 weeks into the season!! I asked our helper who got fired over that one! We (dogs) suffered thru OK and we stopped back in on the way out, still no stock. We found them in stock online and they accomodated with free Shipping to home so Kudo's for that but sheesh, really?! Also only about 1 case of Prarie Storm remaining.
 

carpfisher

New member
If Cabela's sold all the ammo and dog vests, someone must have been there. :D
Yea, I thought of that. I figured the shells went to the residents during the early days. Vest had to be poor inventory mangement. The Cabela's "outiftter" said they just didn't have any/many to begin with.

We didn't see many groups in the areas we normally see them. The WIA land east of Agar always has a few groups actively hunting and we saw just 1 other group over 2 days.

I understand this is all ancedotal observation and timing is everthing. Just relating what we saw.
 

Uncle Buck

New member
It has been a little wierd. On the opener we hunted all public and never saw another hunter on the ground. Possible only about two traveling. On the third weekend, we saw quite a few. Go figure.
 

carpfisher

New member
Carpfisher...that is a good and honest report. Thanks for posting. :thumbsup:
This website got us started with good information 4 yrs ago so I give back when I can.

We did a local Preserve hunt today and had a blast. One hunter brought his 10 MO Springer and she got her first taste of real hunting. She has been training in Close quarters and the trainer siad she was ready. It was great to see a young dog come into her own. The bird drops were flagged so we knew where to lead her in to. We put here on 5 birds and she found and flushed them all. On the shot she found dead and would stand there and bark at the kill to try and get it to fly. She did carry a couple for a while. Retrieving is in the future.
 

dekuiper

New member
Yankton

I stopped at Bass Pro in Iowa. Limited shells and expensive. Then we stopped in Yankton, SD at Dakota Archery to buy licenses. Better selection of shells, CHEAPER than Bass Pro. Wonderful people.
 

onpoint

Active member
We altered our plans several years ago. We no longer hunt pheasants in South Dakota. A very generous friend took us to a pheasant hunting preserve this year. Had a fantastic time. Pretty much duplicated a wild pheasant hunt at this place. Three people hunting, three dogs...cost less then two licenses in South Dakota. A win, win IMO. South Dakota isn't what it once was. IMO, those days are not coming back. Big Ag has taken precedence over any conservation. Public areas are grazed and hayed flat. More and more ground is put under the plow. Homesteads and tree's are being pushed into piles and burned. nearly everybody wants $150-$4-500 a gun per day. I'll spend it at a preserve where I know I'm going to see and harvest birds. This is a 180 from my former position on released birds. It becomes a financial decision along with success.
 

hunter94

Active member
We altered our plans several years ago. We no longer hunt pheasants in South Dakota. A very generous friend took us to a pheasant hunting preserve this year. Had a fantastic time. Pretty much duplicated a wild pheasant hunt at this place. Three people hunting, three dogs...cost less then two licenses in South Dakota. A win, win IMO. South Dakota isn't what it once was. IMO, those days are not coming back. Big Ag has taken precedence over any conservation. Public areas are grazed and hayed flat. More and more ground is put under the plow. Homesteads and tree's are being pushed into piles and burned. nearly everybody wants $150-$4-500 a gun per day. I'll spend it at a preserve where I know I'm going to see and harvest birds. This is a 180 from my former position on released birds. It becomes a financial decision along with success.
agree, it really is just as you say.....the drive especially, if i have to drive that far and hunt all day to kill 2 birds..maybe 3...i will stay much closer to home and kill 1 or 2 each day, maybe even get skunked..and that's hunting wild birds..plenty of stockers to work the dogs on too.
 

519vx

New member
agree, it really is just as you say.....the drive especially, if i have to drive that far and hunt all day to kill 2 birds..maybe 3...i will stay much closer to home and kill 1 or 2 each day, maybe even get skunked..and that's hunting wild birds..plenty of stockers to work the dogs on too.
To each their own I guess...I drove from Wisconsin this year to harvest six birds in 3 days. Non-Resident License about $ 150, Gas...another $300 at least. Hotels, another couple of hundred. The memories...PRICELESS.

I had such a good time just me and the pup that I am very seriously considering another trip out there next year, regardless of what the surveys and bird counts say.
 
4 Adults, 1 kid(11 YO) We harvested 7-8 Roosters and 3 Sharpies. We failed to connect on ~6 Rooster we shot at. All told, we probably saw about ~35 Pheasants, and 15 sharpies.
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Wow! Am I reading this right? You only saw about 35 pheasants in 4 days of hunting, and you hunted from 10 am to 5 pm each day.

What part of South Dakota were you hunting....... the Black Hills :)

I'm sure all of South Dakota is not this dismal, but that is not good.
 

519vx

New member
Wow! Am I reading this right? You only saw about 35 pheasants in 4 days of hunting, and you hunted from 10 am to 5 pm each day.

What part of South Dakota were you hunting....... the Black Hills :)

I'm sure all of South Dakota is not this dismal, but that is not good.
I hunted around Platte and then on to Pierre and total saw/flushed 45 to 50 birds for three days of hunting. I averaged about 4 hours a day of actual hunt time. Much time spent driving from spot to spot and looking for good cover. Most of the guys hunting in bigger groups on private lands had better luck and more flushes, but I wondered how many of them were on pheasant preserves vs. hunting wild birds. The guys I talked to hunting public land struggled and had results similar to mine or worse.
 
I drove from Wisconsin this year to harvest six birds in 3 days. .
519 at least you were only 3 birds short of a limit, carpfisher was 40 birds short of a limit, and didn't even see enough birds total to get a limit.

519 how many birds (estimate) do you see in 3 days of hunting?

I'm surprised, I didn't think South Dakota would be down that much.
 

519vx

New member
519 at least you were only 3 birds short of a limit, carpfisher was 40 birds short of a limit, and didn't even see enough birds total to get a limit.

519 how many birds (estimate) do you see in 3 days of hunting?

I'm surprised, I didn't think South Dakota would be down that much.
Here in Wisconsin I'm pretty much limited to PHG and state stocked birds. Some days its almost easy...two bird bag in a short time. Other days, its a lot of walking for little no results. While those birds can get a little wily after being poked at on a PHG, they aren't wild birds.

Wisconsin has an at best extremely limited population of wild birds, almost none of which live on public lands. Our spring survey showed an average of 0.36 birds per 100 miles of road driven.

So to average 15 birds a day in flushes in South Dakota was great for just me and my single dog. I would estimate the ratio at about 65/35 hens to roosters.
 
Here in Wisconsin I'm pretty much limited to PHG and state stocked birds. Some days its almost easy...two bird bag in a short time. Other days, its a lot of walking for little no results. While those birds can get a little wily after being poked at on a PHG, they aren't wild birds.

Wisconsin has an at best extremely limited population of wild birds, almost none of which live on public lands. Our spring survey showed an average of 0.36 birds per 100 miles of road driven.

So to average 15 birds a day in flushes in South Dakota was great for just me and my single dog. I would estimate the ratio at about 65/35 hens to roosters.
I here where you are coming from, nothing wrong with 2 wild birds per day, and a vacation to boot!

I'm just surprised that the numbers are really that low, the few times I have hunted South Dakota we didn't always get limits, but boy did we see a lot of birds!
 
Just returned a little over a week ago from a my first trip out to SD . We had four people hunting over a four day stretch with good pointing dogs. We ended shooting 36 roosters over the course of four days hunting.

We lost a few cripples after extensive searching, mainly due to the thick cover which is abundant this year. We had some other opportunities that we just simply missed on. We hunted mostly public, ditches, and a few small tracts of private land. All seemed equal for bird volumes. I would say we seen 150-200 birds in the four days of hunting. There seems to be very little pressure in the areas we hunted. We never ran into a single hunter on the public land. Heading back out over Thanksgiving and can't wait to hit the ground out there. Hopefully the crops will be down this go around. It should make hunting much better than the first trip.

The birds we shot didn't come easy though. We covered alot of ground(thick cover) on foot and by truck to shoot the birds we had. I can't remember a year in the past where we covered so much ground. But that's what it takes if you want to find birds. Once you find the pockets it can be amazing.

I fully agree with 519's statement- "the memories are priceless". Like I have stated in the past it's about the experience and shooting a rooster over one of my setters points. Numbers aren't the most important facet of the trip anymore.


:thumbsup:

Good luck to anyone heading back out late!
 

carpfisher

New member
Wow! Am I reading this right? You only saw about 35 pheasants in 4 days of hunting, and you hunted from 10 am to 5 pm each day.

What part of South Dakota were you hunting....... the Black Hills :)

I'm sure all of South Dakota is not this dismal, but that is not good.
Probably not but many reports are similiar to our results. I reported what we saw. We hunted Some land in the FPNG, WIA/WPA east of AGAR and the Reservation :west river. We also hunt a small piece of private land. We even tried some road ditches this year with little luck. I have been in electronic contact with a friend in the same general area and he had similiar results except for one of those sweet spots we he located a couples of fields that had flushes in double digits.

While in the Agar area we heard what sounded like WW3 off to the east which I am presuming was a canned hunt area..

Bierl setter: Yea, numbers aren't the most important thing but there has got to be reward for the effort. I can walk all day at home for no birds for considerably less $$ than commuting to SD from indiana. As noted in one of the above posts, the dog doesn't know/care if is a preserve bird.
 
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Carpfisher,

After buying a house in SD 4 years ago I guess you can say that I am fully vested in pheasant hunting in SD. I know the dog doesn't know the difference in a pen raised bird vs a wild SD bird, but I certainly do. When the dog can out-smart a wily SD rooster thats been chased for months, pen him under a point there's nothing more rewarding in my eyes. Every dollar I spend is worth it for my dogs to have the experience.

I understand the $$$ part of the equation, believe me I can cetainly relate. I make 2-3 trips out to the house over the summer for maintenance and then another three trips in the fall, all the way from northern wisconsin. Until I can't afford to make multiple trips I will continue, wishing and hoping that numbers will come back to some degree. There are certainly days that you get a glimpse of the old SD and that continues to motivate me to push the next field.

I will continue to be a loyal non-resident hunter until the last pheasant is shot in SD or I can't physically walk any more. I think the later will come first as there will be pheasants in SD long beyond my time.
 

GPowers

Member
Location!

It's all about moving to where the birds are! I read alot on here and it seems people just go where they always go and then even when they are told that there arent any birds, they go and sure enough they arent shooting birds.

I went alone last week and saw hundreds of birds if not a thousand (All Public lands)!

LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION! You cant go to areas that they tell you there arent any birds, before you even go, then say the numbers are way down! GO WHERE the birds are and you will see them! I put 1000 miles on my pick up last week. Cant hunt until 10:00 but that doesnt mean you cant watch or listen to a field at 8:00 and see if it has birds.

There are birds to be had, just might have to move out of your "comfort zone" to go and get them. Thats why they call it wild bird hunting!;)
 
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