Whats the consensus?

HS Strut

Member
Ok,
Season has been open for a few weeks and sounds like it's not as bad as it sounded this summer...So my question is this: Are the WIA and public access areas all mowed? Or is there still good cover to hunt if you DON'T have private land to hunt?
I'm not concerned with setting any records, but I'm just worried that all the walk-in areas are gonna be "mowed."
 

Dakotazeb

Active member
This is my take thus far. No doubt numbers are down in most areas. There are pockets that appear to have a decent number of birds. You will find that some of the WIA and CREP lands have been hayed off due to the drought this summer. But, there is still public land to hunt and if you put in the time you can find some birds. Most of the corn is out which has helped but there is still some corn standing. Talking to the farmers they are still waiting for it to dry down in the field. Some field are still near 20% moisture.
 

A5 Sweet 16

Member
Some is mowed, but there's plenty of public & walk-in cover to hunt. So far I'd say the land I normally hunt is either about normal, or down slightly in bird numbers. This is east central part of the state. Get out here, shoot some birds, spend some money & have a blast!
 

Drake1

Member
Just returned from my annual hunt and as feared birds were pretty much wiped out. The 3 bad hail storms north of Platte , south of kimball did a number. Last year we had 500 plus birds on my land, this year 50. As I was out driving around even in the areas not hit by the hail the numbers were way down.
 

jdthomas

New member
Just returned from my annual hunt and as feared birds were pretty much wiped out. The 3 bad hail storms north of Platte , south of kimball did a number. Last year we had 500 plus birds on my land, this year 50. As I was out driving around even in the areas not hit by the hail the numbers were way down.
My brother and I just hunted three days on private land about 30 miles east of there with my young English Setter, and limited out each day. We flushed large numbers of birds and had a great time. Later, hunting GPAs west of the Missouri we saw very few birds, though we downed a few roosters cruising the back roads. Not sure if bird numbers are significantly lower west of the river this year – or is it that public areas have been constantly pounded ever since the residents' opener.
 

Hockeybob

Member
My brother and I just hunted three days on private land about 30 miles east of there with my young English Setter, and limited out each day. We flushed large numbers of birds and had a great time. Later, hunting GPAs west of the Missouri we saw very few birds, though we downed a few roosters cruising the back roads. Not sure if bird numbers are significantly lower west of the river this year – or is it that public areas have been constantly pounded ever since the residents' opener.
We hunted private ground first week of November West of Aberdeen. Birds were down 50-70% from previous years. We still killed birds so all was not lost but in a normal crp field where 100 birds were seen in a normal year we saw 15-25 birds. Some ditches were Hayed but not all. Some slews were hayed around the edges. I’m hoping for a mild Winter.
 
I just returned from hunting 7 days in the southeast part of the state. Overall, the mowing/haying of public spots was much less of an issue than I had feared.
I did see a few spots that looked to have been completely mowed. But the vast majority of spots that I saw were either partially mowed, with plenty of cover still there....or not mowed at all. I hunted 15 or so spots, and drove by 25-30 others.
Saw plenty of birds, way more than I expected. I'd go back tomorrow if I could.
 

HS Strut

Member
Well, I'm heading out for a couple days this weekend. Was supposed to go to Iowa, but with this weekend being their shotgun opener and the area we were going to being a couple hours from SD...We are gonna give it a try.
My expectations aren't huge...I just hope my Lab puts up a few birds, we learn a little to help in the future and we have FUN.
 

Matt D

Member
Well, I'm heading out for a couple days this weekend. Was supposed to go to Iowa, but with this weekend being their shotgun opener and the area we were going to being a couple hours from SD...We are gonna give it a try.
My expectations aren't huge...I just hope my Lab puts up a few birds, we learn a little to help in the future and we have FUN.
Best advice I can offer is plan to be mobile and if not seeing birds move 10 miles and start looking. There are good pockets of birds just gotta find them.
 

HS Strut

Member
I appreciate all of the advice. I read where one guy said " Finding the birds and figuring a new place on your own is part of the fun."
I agree. I'm excited to get out there and wear out some leather while watching my dog do what she was bred to do.
Did it last January in Nebraska ans had a blast.
 
Cancelled remaining trips yesterday. Hunt all private premier land around Onida Agar area. Typical day would be 15-20 friends and relatives shooting a limit in 1-2 hours. This year, less than 1 bird per person average per day. Drought killed everything. Rough times ahead!!!
 

NOPLCLKNEB3

New member
I went Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. Last time I hunted SD was in 2012. I thought the bird numbers were bad in 2012........I was wrong, bird numbers are terrible this year. Hunted around Winner on Friday, and Platte, Geddes area on Saturday. Not many birds around. Very bad trip, won't be headed back until the birds are up by a bunch! Could be a long time.
 

schotzie

New member
Hunted the Platte,Geddes, stickney area the past week. Been hunting the same area for 34 years, its unbeleivable how low the bird numbers are this year. Hopefully a light winter and great summer or not sure it will be able to recover for many years.
 

HS Strut

Member
Just got back from SD. First time there. Hunted within a couple hours of Sioux Falls. Didn't kill very many because those were the wildest flushing birds I've ever seen...but we saw birds. If this is a down year I can only imagine what a good/normal year looks like.
 
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