Snow birds!

KBell

New member
That first snow is something awesome!

Got a late start as I forgot my blood pressure meds when traveling last night. Quick trip to the pharmacy was needed. Sophie and I didn't hit the field until 9:30 and I noticed a light wind and reasonably calm.

We are back in northwest Iowa and we are hitting the public today. Our first piece has zero hunters. That's right we had zero hunters in the field. I chose to work into the wind and slightly spitting snow.

Our first three points are hens. Continuing on I notice quite a few paths in the brome and canary grass converging on a section of bulrushes. As Sophie enters birds start to flush on the far side. I did not draw on the first five or six as they all appear to be hens. The next bird flies out to the right and I catch a glimpse of color. Rooster one is in the bag. Turning back to resume the walk birds continue to flush. I stop counting at twenty. The next bird flushes to the left and I see slight color and bird two is in the bag.

Not bad I thought for two birds with little walking!:) :)As Sophie and I near the end of the second side of crp what do we see?? Three roosters feeding in the corn on the edge. It is snowing hard now and I notice it is just after 10:25 a.m.

Sophie and I continue to the 3 feeding birds. As we approach I notice one by one each bird slips into the cover. Sophie and I head to the spot. Rooster three flushes left to right(my favorite) and joins his brothers in the bag.

As we head out for the day I notice the snow is building in intensity. We have two inches on the ground at this point. I did not see another hunter in this section today.

Here is photo of the very young first rooster I shot. I wonder how many I let fly were also roosters?:)

A final picture of a very young rooster number two. Notice the developing primary feathers on the wing?


Final tally for the day--31 birds Roosters? Hens?
 
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KBell

New member
Agreed!

Hello Carptom1!:)

This year will go in my books as the one where I have harvested many young birds and very young birds for this time of year.

The two very immature birds were so full of corn and greens that their crops just "bulged out" on them.

These birds had to have hatched in mid to late August. Unbelievable to me if I was not witnessing it for myself.

Sure make for some tender eating though!:p
 

mnmthunting

Banned
Glad to hear you guys are getting some good hunting.
I have lots of memories of Iowa pheasant hunting. :)
Those young birds need good cover and a lot of energy until the adult feathers fill in.
 

birdshooter

Active member
I have lots of memories of Iowa pheasant hunting. :)

So do I.

Back in the 80's and even into the 90's I spent several weekends a year down in the Audubon, Carroll, Greenfield, Atlantic and Creston areas of the SW. Still have a friend that farms in Greenfield. Back then that was the some of the best hunting Iowa had to offer. Now it would seem the stronghold may be in the NW?

Back then Iowa was king when it came to Phez, hope someday they can get back to those years where 1 million plus annual harvest numbers were a given.
 
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carptom1

Well-known member
So do I.

Back in the 80's and even into the 90's I spent several weekends a year down in the Audubon, Carroll, Greenfield, Atlantic and Creston areas of the SW. Still have a friend that farms in Greenfield. Back then that was the some of the best hunting Iowa had to offer. Now it would seem the stronghold may be in the NW?

Back then Iowa was king when it came to Phez, hope someday they can get back to those years where 1 million plus annual harvest numbers were a given.

Me too. During those times I was hunting around Bedford and doing very well. I had access to quite a bit of private land, and hunting was very good. It was 2.5 hrs from my house. Many times I would get the crews out at 7, be up there hunting by 10, back home with a limit by 6 and my wife didn't even know I went:D. A little harder to do when you have to go 9 hrs to SD:D
 

birdshooter

Active member
Your exactly right. While I had private land and a place to stay around Greenfield because of my friend. I had no problem gaining access to private land elsewhere by just a courteous knock on the door. Other than opening weekend, gaining access later in the year was, well.... not that hard. Times have change though on land access i'm afraid and while it's still possible, it's not as easy. Unfortunately, some of that is self inflicted due to hunters trespassing without permission etc.. a few bad apples has ruined it for the rest of us.
 

KBell

New member
Observations

Iowa is still a fantastic place to bird hunt and to gain access to bird hunt!:) I enjoy that each of you have fond memories of our Iowa pheasant hunting.

Access is still "doable" in our great state. You may have noticed that I did not see another hunter in the field yesterday and I was hunting a higher pheasant density and therefore higher pheasant hunter county.

IMO, our biggest challenge as a state is that the habitat is fractured and therefore so our the birds. They used to have a variety of habitat options close to their core areas once weather, crops and predators influenced their survival. This is no longer the case.

I drive across and occasionally(dumb on my part) hunt areas that are "void" of pheasants here in Iowa. It is quite easy to do. The last stronghold is currently in the NW corner as the public and private habitat is increasing pheasant densities. On the flip side, either of you gentleman could visit Iowa and the three of us could hunt--all day--in certain counties and not flush a bird.

I realize that may be hard for you to believe but it is unfortunately true. Hope does exist. Practices and patterns do change. As long as the pheasant draws air in Iowa there is hope that they may receive the habitat that had us at number one in the past.:)
 
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carptom1

Well-known member
We were in Bedford hunting one year and kept passing this farm about a mile outside of town that looked awesome. We finally decided we would stop and talk to the guy as we never saw anybody hunt it and we were there a bunch. He said no problem, and in fact said nobody had asked him in a couple years. We just figured a place like that had to get hunted a lot. Fun times. You are right that access was easy. I never met a bunch of nicer people than in Iowa. Much easier than any other state I have hunted in. My buddy worked at Colgate. We would stock up on damaged boxes of cleaning supplies and dog food at his company store. Farmers really loved getting a years supply of Tide, or 100lbs of dog food. People just like feeling like you give a sh^t. I pay a trespass fee to my guy up in SD. It is fair, to me, for what he provides. Fallow draws and food plots. I still bring him something every December. Some KC barbeque or something. I just want him to know I appreciate the two weekends I get to hunt.
 

KBell

New member
Agreed

I agree with you carptom1!:)

IMO, we are at a time where the private access folks that allow you to hunt deserve some "reward" for allowing you the hunting opportunities.

Mine vary from labor, alcohol, a good Webster City ham, a card and gift card to a local restaurant, etc.

When I re-visit these folks each year it is almost like we are "family". I know some of you like me have conversations with these folks that last for hours and cover the spectrum of topics. I have been blessed to have had a father and the state of Iowa who taught and allowed me to perform this practice each year.
 

birdshooter

Active member
I'd like to share a little story on how I met my friend from Greenfield. i'll try to keep this as short as possible.

This is probably around 1986. A couple of us stopped into a farm one day to ask if we could hunt a very birdy looking draw that snaked it's way thru this piece of property. When I knocked on the door a woman came to the door. I asked if we could hunt as I pointed to the piece of land we wanted to hunt. She said her husband was away that day, but if you stop in tomorrow i'm sure he'd let you hunt. We stopped in the next day and talked to the guy and not only did he give us permission, but he asked if he could join us....:eek:

We'll.... not only did we get the chance to hunt the piece i so wanted to hunt, we were also taken to other spots to make a full day of it and limits for everyone. As we thanked him and were about to say our goodbye's, I asked if it would be alright to hunt this again in the future. That's when i was blindsided by what he said next and I quote "Yeah sure come on down and you might as well just stay here rather than the motel" :eek: The rest is history.

Over the years I remember going down to offer some muscle on the farm prior to the season. One year a bunch of us went down and helped put up a big grain bin, two very hard days of labor, but was glad to do it. They were dairy farmers back then and most times we were down there hunting we chipped in by helping to milk cows to bringing food down so they didn't have to cook or just take them out to dinner. We even invited them up for a BWCA (boundary waters canoe area) trip to experience the northeastern Minnesota wilderness at it's finest. A great friendship that has culminated and lasted for years.
 

1pheas4

Super Moderator
Man I love Iowa Roosters. There's nothing like hunting that first snow of the season too!!!

Thanks for posting Kbell.:thumbsup:
 

KBell

New member
Look who showed up?

Had a visitor knock on the motel door at about 7:15 this morning. Guess I haven't taught him too poorly after all!:) Here is a picture of our youngest son and his share of our birds!


Great second day with a total of 40 birds put in the air! Nine were roosters. Only one of the roosters we harvested was last year's bird. We had one other group of two in the public with us. Heard a couple of shots early on. It was cool but a great day to track and pursue the greatest game bird.
 
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mnmthunting

Banned
You guys have just the right amount of snow for rooster hunting. Nice birds, looks like they are nicely feathered out.

My Iowa adventures started when I was 15 (1965) Audubon is 400 miles down US 71 from my hometown. My Uncle, older brother an I would head South over the MEA weekend.. My Uncle a WW II vet had a wartime buddy (Battle of the Bulge) farmed SE of Audubon knew everybody down there and we hunted many farms. All the old buys are gone, the last trip down for me was about mid 80's things sure did change.
 

D Bros.

New member
Last Sat. was a good day. Light snow, little bit of breeze. I was out with some friends in Sioux Co., over by Hospers, on some private ground. I lost count of how many birds we saw, and we bagged 7. :cool:

It was great fun, with lots of birds and good dog work.
 
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