South Dakota

I'm heading out at 4am tomorrow and it will be remarkably better than MN has been for me in the last 20 years.
Really? Did you hunt between 2003-2009? I had many days during that time period where I'd flush 50-100 birds a day in MN. I had spots on public that would be a solid 50 bird flush every time I walked it as long as no one had hunted it for a few days. My party shot limits almost every time we went out....and when we didn't we would be 1-2 birds short. Those were some phenomenal years.
 

Golddog

New member
Yes, South Dakota was/has been definitely better.

In that time frame in my area of MN, it was big news if a farmer spotted a pheasant during harvest. I didn't travel as much in that time frame because of my growing family. Early to mid 90's was the peak for my area. Now if I go just to go out in Mower County where I grew up, I'd still be lucky to see one hen. The land has been stripped of all fence lines, sloughs, and wood lots. There's state land with great looking grass but heavily pressured. Hell, the deer population has shrunk quite a bit.

I just returned from 3 days +1 washout from East central SD and we took 93. Easily saw 500. 15 guys was the most we had in the field. Yep, a lot of guys. Its a yearly get together of friends. No limited out days but our group has some guys who couldn't hit the broadside of a barn, guys who were there for a day, guys who are just there for the social side(only days they handle their shotgun), and about 4 guys and 2 teenage boys who you would call hunters. 6 dogs, 3 aren't very good or even a pleasure to be around. This was private and public land. 100% wild. No pay to hunt. We have averaged around a 100 for this October trip for the last 4 years.

YMMV
 

Munster927

Well-known member
Mower county is and has never been a pheasant mecca in MN. Where I predominantly hunt, if I went there with 15 guys and 6 dogs, I could probably get close to 93 birds in 4 days hunting private and public. I could probably get close to it hunting the public land I know. I don't hunt any private land anyway.
 

Golddog

New member
Mower county is and has never been a pheasant mecca in MN. Where I predominantly hunt, if I went there with 15 guys and 6 dogs, I could probably get close to 93 birds in 4 days hunting private and public. I could probably get close to it hunting the public land I know. I don't hunt any private land anyway.
Good for you on only hunting public land.
We’re you there in the timeframe I mentioned? I never said it was “a mecca” of pheasant hunting but it was fairly common to limit out without a ton of effort then.
I was merely stating my experience. Do you have a personal issue with the fact that my experiences are different than yours?
 

Munster927

Well-known member
Good for you on only hunting public land.
We’re you there in the timeframe I mentioned? I never said it was “a mecca” of pheasant hunting but it was fairly common to limit out without a ton of effort then.
I was merely stating my experience. Do you have a personal issue with the fact that my experiences are different than yours?
No I don't have any issue with your experiences at all. I was just stating you can't compare marginal pheasant land in MN, even on it's best years to exceptional pheasant land in SD on a bad year.

And yes I hunted MN in the years you mentioned (I was in my teens) but the hunting was great during those years where I hunted in the core pheasant land. That was the only point I was making. Is that there is great pheasant country in MN that can rival SD.
 

Rude One

Member
Most years I would agree that SD is better than MN. From what I have seen in MN versus what I just saw this past week/weekend in SD I would not agree. Maybe not in Mower County but other parts of the state are going to be better. Talking to locals in the spot I hunted in SD and seeing first hand what the drought did to bird numbers I can say I am going to do better in MN than I just did in 4 days out there. There was a ton of mowed ditches and CRP. There were areas that looked like a moonscape. The problem now for those birds is going to be find places to go in the winter.

I am looking forward to the bird numbers in MN.
 

gimruis

Well-known member
Really? Did you hunt between 2003-2009?
In 2006 between 4 other people and I who hunted regularly together, we harvested 177 roosters that season. This was an hour from the metro in central Minnesota.

After that season, I never thought we'd see or shoot that many birds again. In 2007, we got 207. I can recall seeing well over 100 birds in one spot many times of the course of those two seasons.

All of these birds were taken off private land and my Grandfather shot probably half of them because he had just retired as an insurance agent in a small town and he had permission to hunt in the entire county it seemed like. I can recall hunting with him and my uncle on both of those openers and finishing in less than half an hour on opening day at the first spot. This was before they extended the season all the way through December and raised the bag limit to 3 starting Dec 1, mind you.

Nowadays I primarily hunt solo or with one other person and I'm a long ways from being retired, so its never going to be as good as that because I simply can't hunt as much. Much of the habitat still looks the same as it did back in the mid 2000's though in this area. Big Ag has not taken it over.
 

Tbear

UPH Master
In 2006 between 4 other people and I who hunted regularly together, we harvested 177 roosters that season. This was an hour from the metro in central Minnesota.

After that season, I never thought we'd see or shoot that many birds again. In 2007, we got 207. I can recall seeing well over 100 birds in one spot many times of the course of those two seasons.

All of these birds were taken off private land and my Grandfather shot probably half of them because he had just retired as an insurance agent in a small town and he had permission to hunt in the entire county it seemed like. I can recall hunting with him and my uncle on both of those openers and finishing in less than half an hour on opening day at the first spot. This was before they extended the season all the way through December and raised the bag limit to 3 starting Dec 1, mind you.

Nowadays I primarily hunt solo or with one other person and I'm a long ways from being retired, so its never going to be as good as that because I simply can't hunt as much. Much of the habitat still looks the same as it did back in the mid 2000's though in this area. Big Ag has not taken it over.
I’m just going to leave this right here and agree to disagree. Habitat loss was the key to the downturn. Corn is not fuel.
 

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BRITTMAN

Well-known member
Gimruis hunts mostly north of the metro. I chase (on occasion) grouse, pheasants and even wild turkeys up there. CRP and CREP have never been much of a draw in those parts. Grass and swamp habitat predominate that area. Nice patchworks of cover.

Depending on where you have permission to hunt ... I would argue the biggest problem in EC MN is urban encroachment. Too many small housing developments have popped up over time.
 

gimruis

Well-known member
Gimruis hunts mostly north of the metro. I chase (on occasion) grouse, pheasants and even wild turkeys up there. CRP and CREP have never been much of a draw in those parts. Grass and swamp habitat predominate that area. Nice patchworks of cover.

Depending on where you have permission to hunt ... I would argue the biggest problem in EC MN is urban encroachment. Too many small housing developments have popped up over time.
That is absolutely true. Urbanization is a much bigger issue.

@Tbear I may not have been clear on my previous post. I didn't mean to generalize that big ag or habitat loss in most of the traditional pheasant range isn't the problem. I was only specifically referring to the area that I was talking about in my post. I agree with your post, agriculture and habitat loss has been the biggest issue for upland birds.
 
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