The only good news to report.....

Good news, we have had some decent moisture the past couple weeks, temps are also cooling off, reports of temps in the upper 20's in some places here in Montana. Bad news is bird numbers are still low, very low. I was over where I do most of my bird hunting, talking to folks I know and looking around myself. One man I know took his son out to their farm for youth season this past weekend, saw 3 pheasant hens, 4 huns, 0 grouse. Usually this far will have hundreds of pheasants. A lot of locals were hoping for a big bounce back, but will not be in the area I hunt. Locals who hunt doves say the same thing, terrible pheasant and hun numbers, areas that avoided hail storms will have a few grouse. I am sure Montana FWP will release a few birds on opening day in certain block areas like they always do, that way people who do not know any better can say " we found birds". Folks I talked with are already saying they won't bird hunt when pheasant season opens in a week and a half. I see occasional huns, grouse and pheasants where I live when out with my pups, but nothing to get excited about. Not looking good for the future of pheasant hunting in my part of the world.
 

tbob131

Member
Luckily the part of the state I go to was spared the worst of the drought last year, and also the hailstorms. I’m hearing there are more Huns this time and less grouse and pheasants. No pheasant releases in part of state I go. I’m sure we will find plenty of birds to keep it interesting but will probably Prarie dog hunt and drink more to ease our pain!! Lol
 
Well, season for pheasant opened last weekend, it was as poor where I hunt as expected. Most locals did not even bother going out with the low bird numbers. Yes, there were still folks who came hunting. I have heard from friends across Montana where usually bird numbers are quite good, but this year I have yet to speak to anyone who says they have run into good numbers of pheasant, heck even huns or grouse. Spoke to a friend who ranches and farms in central part of Montana, usually covered up with huns, has seen very few birds. If you want and come work your pups, come on out, but please put the gun away. Most the fun is watching the pups do their magic, and right now bird populations need OUR help.
 

PTH

Member
We hunted the central part of the state, bird numbers were definitely down. Hunted all public and got into decent amount of birds, I would say around 40 or so throughout the day. Dogs tore it up, all 3 of us limited on roosters by noon. Most the roosters were this years hatch, I would say 7 of the 9. Weather couldn’t have been any better. No huns or sharpies but we were only looking for pheasants. Probably won’t make it back this year due to other hunts. I never understood the put your gun away theory, shoot the roosters and help the hens flourish, less competition in the winter, and better reproduction. Your never going to kill all the roosters. Anyway, from what we saw it’s not entirely doom and gloom.g
 

PTM

New member
My buddies over there have been doing well, not the worlds best season but they are getting good exercise, getting into places others won’t walk because it’s a one way trip, you know hunting and getting birds. I’ve never heard the call for a de arming. For others on the fence come to MT, SD, ND, there’s more birds here than in most places. What if it gets worse every year for the next decade? This could be remembered as a great year. It can’t be easy every year.
 

Goosemaster

New member
Birds are down, way down.That being said, there are still some to be had, but it takes a good dog, and a lot of walking, and scouting.
 
Hi line

Birds are down, way down.That being said, there are still some to be had, but it takes a good dog, and a lot of walking, and scouting.
Just finishing a trip along the hi line. Pheasant numbers are down from last year, which was down from the year before,etc. you get the picture. One motel l stay at does not bother to put out there bird cleaning table anymore since no one shoots any. That being said I managed a few, mostly young birds, where last year they wer all old birds. Guess we need to get used to the new normal and be thankful for what we have.
 
Hopefully things will cycle back, that said, you guys know when you are out there hunting, your not alone.....hawks and eagles migrate to fields they see hunters in, perching on trees, power poles, fence post, hoping you scare birds up, they become much easier prey for those hunters also... and they are not to choosy about hens and roosters. Also, I have lived in pheasant country my whole life, very good country, I can honestly say I do not recall seeing roosters run off hens from bin sights where birds conjugate in hard winter weather, another excuse some use to excuse their hunting. BE A CONSERVATIONIST FIRST.
 

Goosemaster

New member
Yeah, I noticed that too
Young birds mostly, I got one 5 year old bird
Got off the snide on shaptails, and huns, but not seeing many. Getting some birds,but I've hunted a few places that were real spars


It's still fun, great weather°!!!
 

marshrat

New member
As a former wildlife biologist who worked quite a bit with pheasants, how exactly do you identify a 5 year old bird?? Anyway...multiple studies on pheasants show that 90% of a population’s roosters can be killed without affecting the following year’s reproduction/population. Ring-necked pheasants are highly polygamous and aggressive breeders.
 

marshrat

New member
Oh BTW, a high percentage of yearling roosters in the hatch is indicative of a good hatch. Years with a high percentage of 1-1/2 year old birds (or older - rare) are indicative of a poor hatch...
 
As a former wildlife biologist who worked quite a bit with pheasants, how exactly do you identify a 5 year old bird?? Anyway...multiple studies on pheasants show that 90% of a population’s roosters can be killed without affecting the following year’s reproduction/population. Ring-necked pheasants are highly polygamous and aggressive breeders.
Well said marshrat. I just came from the Hi-Line where there is good habitat we found good bird numbers. I am not going to be bullied by anyone to stop hunting pheasants. Neither my dog or myself are getting any younger. Assuming there is a good habitat, when weather cooperators numbers will recover.
 
You may want to consider why it is that so many locals who actually live up here on the Hiline put our shotguns away this year. No BS, just the truth. Think about this also, when your out stomping around the "good habitat" you found, how many hen's do you flush from that secure habitat into sparse habitat where they are easier prey for hawks, owls, and eagles? I chose to be a conservationist instead of a hunter for pheasants and hun's this fall, not bullying anyone, just stating my opinion, which is based on actually living in the place you visit occasionally.
 

Goosemaster

New member
You may want to consider why it is that so many locals who actually live up here on the Hiline put our shotguns away this year. No BS, just the truth. Think about this also, when your out stomping around the "good habitat" you found, how many hen's do you flush from that secure habitat into sparse habitat where they are easier prey for hawks, owls, and eagles? I chose to be a conservationist instead of a hunter for pheasants and hun's this fall, not bullying anyone, just stating my opinion, which is based on actually living in the place you visit occasionally.
I've hunted the high line, I've hunted around Roy, I've hunted out east, helk, I've hunted the flint creek valley, and I agree, birds are down. That being said, I've only been skunked a few times, and I hunt a lot.Central has been good this year.
 
You may want to consider why it is that so many locals who actually live up here on the Hiline put our shotguns away this year. No BS, just the truth. Think about this also, when your out stomping around the "good habitat" you found, how many hen's do you flush from that secure habitat into sparse habitat where they are easier prey for hawks, owls, and eagles? I chose to be a conservationist instead of a hunter for pheasants and hun's this fall, not bullying anyone, just stating my opinion, which is based on actually living in the place you visit occasionally.
You know buffalo used to roam the prairies and were more plentiful than any other land beast. Now they are all but extinct except for a few isolated pockets of herds that are mangaged more like cattle. Yet they are still hunted and killed in Montana. And if I'm not mistaken you were posing with one as well that you took last year. And that's fine with me. Congrats. But shooting an animal that if not managed would be gone completely and then telling others to put away their guns because numbers are down is very hypocritical in my opinion. I've been to Montana too. Plenty of birds and numerous species to hunt. And from the amount we saw compared to the amount we killed. No way we even put a dent in them even in the smaller areas. So I think that is where people feel the bullying is. That and only being able to shoot roosters...Not going to hurt the population to the point of no recovery.
 

Goosemaster

New member
Those golden eagles sure do kill a lot of birds!!I have one living on my place, he's as big as an airplane, and he's a prolific hunter.I like to watch him, and I've given him birds, but he kills everything on the place.
 
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