The Roosters are Killing Me!!

A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
As many of you know, I hunt pretty much solely public land & walk-ins in SE SD. It's quite rare that I take the time to get on private ground anymore.
But I'm thinking that may become necessary, very soon, if I want to shoot many more pheasants in the last 6 weeks of the season.
Prior to Dec. 12, I was averaging 2.53 roosters per outing. And not hunting terribly long & hard to do it. Ace & I have been having a fantastic year!!
In my last 5 outings, I've averaged exactly 1.00 rooster per trip. Grrrrr. Here are my thoughts:

1. Public land birds used the cattails a lot more while they were still sloppy, before freezing. Since there was so much standing water & mud in most cattails, the result after freezing is an ice rink or mud rink with reeds sticking up all over. They may use these spots occasionally, just for walking around wasting time before 10:00. But they're not roosting in them. They're not cozy.

2. With the nice weather, and because they have just as many options today as they had on opening day (except for standing corn), they're mostly roosting in grass. And most of the good grass on public areas has been hunted so much, they don't feel safe there at any time. So they're finding grass to roost in on the wrong side of the fence.

3. The birds in my areas just plain don't need the public land right now. They've got plenty of places to eat, hang out, & roost on the safe side of the fence. If we don't get 6-10" of snow soon, something to severely limit their options, the next 6 weeks are going to be uncommonly tough.

4. If I want to shoot many more roosters this season, I see my choices being sell my soul in exchange for some significant snow, or get on some private land.
 
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reddog

Well-known member
Im blessed with some pretty incredible private ground to hunt on, and the roosters are just as capable of kicking your a$$ on that ground also. Last time out, I walked 160 a of habitat that had only been hunted by myself one other time. I could not corral them, and I was in super stealth mode. Its happened alot. I dont mind working for them, but this is borderline on rediculous. Thats why ive been fishing instead of hunting. Tired of getting outwitted by a bird with a brain the size of small grape. The weather will tilt the scales a little starting tomorrow.
 

G-Texan

Member
I just returned Sunday from 5 days of hunting around Mitchell and Huron. It was my first trip to SD but hunted for years in NE until the pheasant numbers dropped. I had a very tough time finding birds last week. I shot 3 over 5 days. It was not what I had hoped to find. I was hunting small WPAs with food and water adjacent. I am actually glad to hear it was not just my poor skills or bad luck.
 

remy3424

Well-known member
I shoot a few birds, how do you fellas that are retired and hunt more than 2 days a week, stay in complance on the possession limits? I eat so many, I am starting to sprout tail feathers! I have a buddy I hunt with, so we split the birds (he gets in the same predicament), which saves some from coming home with me, but eating 2 to 4 a week makes it hard to stay ahead of them. We have 3 weekends left, so I need to keep them in my diet plan, but Christmas meals likely won't include any. My son, who lives with us, has a license and has been out once, can have a limit (12), but we be pushing it, if we keep hunting. I have given them the folks in the past that want them, but I just feel most folks aren't going to eat them. I need to find people that truely would enjoy them....or quit shooting so many. I think I will drop in on the mens breakfast at the church now and see if any of those fellas are interested in some.
And good hunting with some snow is coming, school canceled already today, anticipating some blowing snow...hate the "blowing" part, but it will be during the daylight, so they will seek conifers for cover, if available, if it gets bad and I am thinking/hoping it won't be too bad. Watching the weather, looks pretty sporty in NE and coming our way shortly!
 

benelli-banger

Well-known member
I make lots of pheasant wild rice soup and share with my office and my auto mechanic and his guys...and I give a fair amount to a local friend of mine who has a smokehouse...all his employees like it, too, so they get birds...I've bought 4 licenses thus far, been out 8 times...brought home lots of birds this year! good season...not over yet!
 

remy3424

Well-known member
Glock, that sounds like a good path to explore. I did give 2 to a fella at the men's breakfast at church this morning (I quit attending due to COVID concerns and this COVID has me swamped with work), I also left him a gift card in his truck, he got me permission to hunt an 80 of CRP his brother owns.

Banger, not sure where you are (ND?), in IA one license is all you need, I am not sure if I could by a second license and if that is possible, it would allow double game limits? Or how does that work, never heard of doing that.

Addition--9:25AM and here comes our snow! White Christmas wishes granted!
 

Golden Hour

Well-known member
Glock, that sounds like a good path to explore. I did give 2 to a fella at the men's breakfast at church this morning (I quit attending due to COVID concerns and this COVID has me swamped with work), I also left him a gift card in his truck, he got me permission to hunt an 80 of CRP his brother owns.

Banger, not sure where you are (ND?), in IA one license is all you need, I am not sure if I could by a second license and if that is possible, it would allow double game limits? Or how does that work, never heard of doing that.

Addition--9:25AM and here comes our snow! White Christmas wishes granted!

It's nasty here in NE SD right now. But, with the warm temps leading up to this, in addition to no previous accumulations on the ground, the birds should be full and snugged up in cattail home right now. And where they will be when I go to find them in about 52 hours, give or take a minute or two. :)

I've had the possession limit thought a few times, including last night as I was rearranging the freezer. My wife has a license, so we can have 30 roosters. As mentioned above, I have a standing offer at church for folks who want one to hit me up. I have a neighbor who likes an occasional bird, but at the end of the day, I'm responsible for them.

I used to get peeved at guys who would make jerky or poppers with the birds, as pheasant is so darn good, it's a shame to waste it like that, however, I can't eat meals with heavy whipping cream two to three times a week. My coat is already shiny enough!! So, poppers often requires a bunch and jerky is also a good way to use it up. I used to be a little sketched out by poultry jerky, but I fed a bunch to my kids and they're okay, so it's safe for me to proceed. ;)
 
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Hobie1026

Active member
I got skunked 2 trips in a row. Ever stood still in a field thinking to yourself “there has GOT to be a rooster in here,” the cover looked so good? I was doing that all day and never saw a bird. GPAs, hunted a WPA that had harvested corn on 3 sides. Flushed nothing but deer.

Weekend after that WPA, I walked into a tiny strip of CRP that was public and had a limit in 30 minutes. Tuesday I hunted from 10am to 4pm and came home with 1 rooster but that’s because I forgot how to use a shotgun for a day...

Right now every bird taken on public land is a trophy!
 

A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
I see my choices being sell my soul in exchange for some significant snow, or get on some private land.
Snowed yesterday. Not a ton, but with the horrendous winds, it should do the trick & sock in most of the light/medium grass.
And I'm thinking the corn/bean fields should've been pretty much blown clear.
How's that for being dedicated to my craft? You can thank me any time. 😊
 

reddog

Well-known member
Snowed yesterday. Not a ton, but with the horrendous winds, it should do the trick & sock in most of the light/medium grass.
And I'm thinking the corn/bean fields should've been pretty much blown clear.
How's that for being dedicated to my craft? You can thank me any time. 😊
I thought it was my fault it snowed. I took my mower/ blower to a storage building on Sunday. Pendulum is swinging into your side right now.
 

jonnyB

Well-known member
I got skunked 2 trips in a row. Ever stood still in a field thinking to yourself “there has GOT to be a rooster in here,” the cover looked so good? I was doing that all day and never saw a bird. GPAs, hunted a WPA that had harvested corn on 3 sides. Flushed nothing but deer.

Weekend after that WPA, I walked into a tiny strip of CRP that was public and had a limit in 30 minutes. Tuesday I hunted from 10am to 4pm and came home with 1 rooster but that’s because I forgot how to use a shotgun for a day...

Right now every bird taken on public land is a trophy!
Hobie: Where were you hunting (skunked)?SD?
Thanks...
 

jonnyB

Well-known member
@jonnyB - I was working hard at not finding birds in central South Dakota. 😉
Hobie,

Know you were not alone...I did find birds, but didn't shoot very well. I'm finding I'm a bit slower than I used to be and struggle to get the gun mounted, with layers of clothing and gloves - the birds have the advantage!

Here's a true confession that was an embarrassment to say the least: two birds take flight from the ditch; I have a shot, not the best, but I raise the gun, push off the safety and nothing happens. Fifteen yards farther down the ditch, same scenario, safety off, pull trigger and nothing happens.

Walking back to the truck I cycle the gun and guess what...no shell in the chamber! Strictly a rookie move...but I had to laugh...at myself and ate a bit of humble pie.
 

mgorvi

Active member
Just got back. Blizzard got us pretty bad. Spent a night in Sioux Falls to let it blow through. Drove by a bad pile up west of SFs. Shot a nice bird out there. 30 bars and 5/8” spurs. One of the bigger ones I’ve shot. Merry Christmas to all you fellow bird hunters. Last day we hunted it was 58 deg. I’m hoping that good nesting weather this spring will help build numbers. They sure have had a great winter so far. Time to clean the guns and be thankful for another season. These late season birds were pretty educated. We both limited every day but had boots on the ground until sunset. The wind really helped. Miya pretty tired after 20 days out there. She’s nine and I’m 64. I can see and feel it getting harder for both of us.
 

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Goosemaster

Well-known member
I got skunked 2 trips in a row. Ever stood still in a field thinking to yourself “there has GOT to be a rooster in here,” the cover looked so good? I was doing that all day and never saw a bird. GPAs, hunted a WPA that had harvested corn on 3 sides. Flushed nothing but deer.

Weekend after that WPA, I walked into a tiny strip of CRP that was public and had a limit in 30 minutes. Tuesday I hunted from 10am to 4pm and came home with 1 rooster but that’s because I forgot how to use a shotgun for a day...

Right now every bird taken on public land is a trophy!
They are so spooky!! We had to earn every bird we got on public land.I missed 2 layups!!
 

Good Boy!

Active member
Glock, that sounds like a good path to explore. I did give 2 to a fella at the men's breakfast at church this morning (I quit attending due to COVID concerns and this COVID has me swamped with work), I also left him a gift card in his truck, he got me permission to hunt an 80 of CRP his brother owns.

Banger, not sure where you are (ND?), in IA one license is all you need, I am not sure if I could by a second license and if that is possible, it would allow double game limits? Or how does that work, never heard of doing that.

Addition--9:25AM and here comes our snow! White Christmas wishes granted!
In reference to multiple license, SD you buy a ten day which you can split up into two 5 day hunts, then buy another 10 day, and then another.....
I'm not a South Dakotian.... could very well stand corrected...
 

BigRand

Active member
You are correct. This is for non residents. Residents we just have to buy one license for the whole year.
 

mike m

New member
Just got back. Blizzard got us pretty bad. Spent a night in Sioux Falls to let it blow through. Drove by a bad pile up west of SFs. Shot a nice bird out there. 30 bars and 5/8” spurs. One of the bigger ones I’ve shot. Merry Christmas to all you fellow bird hunters. Last day we hunted it was 58 deg. I’m hoping that good nesting weather this spring will help build numbers. They sure have had a great winter so far. Time to clean the guns and be thankful for another season. These late season birds were pretty educated. We both limited every day but had boots on the ground until sunset. The wind really helped. Miya pretty tired after 20 days out there. She’s nine and I’m 64. I can see and feel it getting harder for both of us.
Is that a French spaniel. I have one. First one I’ve owned. Merry happy with him. Don’t know that I’ve ever seen one hunting or in a picture from a hunting group
 
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