Your pheasant hunting experiences/bird numbers this past season?

just_jon

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2019
Messages
49
Location
Newville, PA
I believe it is due to habitat loss and predation. Crop harvesting equipment is so efficient that very little feed or cover is left in the fields. Many farmers have converted areas that once offered good winter cover (fence rows, etc.) into tillable acreage. I’m not blaming farmers as they are just trying to make a living, Low fur prices have driven all but the most hardcore out of trapping. Red fox and coyote pelts are selling for $14 and $30, respectively. I recall selling winter fox pelts for $75 in the 70s. Rising raptor populations are also a significant factor.
 

just_jon

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2019
Messages
49
Location
Newville, PA
Forgot to post pics of my springers. First one (Kaycee) turns 13 this spring and is still going strong. Little guy (Ruger) turns 4 soon and is best hunter I’ve had in
43 years of running springers. Sending him ay for 6 months of professional training really paid off.

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H82MISS

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2018
Messages
159
Location
Springfield,MO
Beautiful springers just_jon !!! I used to hunt with a pair of springers also, and miss them immensely. I lost both to cancer over 2 years ago. Incredible memories though !!! Thanks for sharing sir.
 

just_jon

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2019
Messages
49
Location
Newville, PA
H82MISS - You are quite welcome. Sorry to hear about your dogs. Losing a dog is difficult, but the memories help us heal. New puppies also help.
 

Weaselthis

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2009
Messages
162
Location
California
That was my SD experience as well. A very wet year meant that most crops were still standing during the first month of pheasant season. With easy access to food and cover in the cropland, the birds on CRP and grasslands were few and far between. Late season hunting was showing much better numbers and success rates, however.
Same for our group. We hunted out of Cresbard toward Aberdeen, early Dec. 4 days, 15 hunters, 115 birds. First time in 20+ yrs. we had to hunt standing corn fields, So wet tractors got stuck and couldn't harvest. TOUGH hunting shootin a wind aided rocket thru a 30 in sight window of 9 ft. tall corn stalks. Wingmen and blockers did most of the shooting. Two of the 4 days were -20 & -25 w/ windchill. I think the bird numbers were there, we just couldn't get into any sloughs to get to them. I went thru the ice and over the boot first day, first slough....
Still..........beats mowing the grass!
 

cynjon

Active Member
Joined
May 28, 2019
Messages
34
Location
Piedmont, SD
Same for our group. We hunted out of Cresbard toward Aberdeen, early Dec. 4 days, 15 hunters, 115 birds. First time in 20+ yrs. we had to hunt standing corn fields, So wet tractors got stuck and couldn't harvest. TOUGH hunting shootin a wind aided rocket thru a 30 in sight window of 9 ft. tall corn stalks. Wingmen and blockers did most of the shooting. Two of the 4 days were -20 & -25 w/ windchill. I think the bird numbers were there, we just couldn't get into any sloughs to get to them. I went thru the ice and over the boot first day, first slough....
Still..........beats mowing the grass!
We definitely got some uncooperative weather late in the season...I had hoped to get out in December more than I was able to. I primarily hunt the Pierre/Presho area, so it's a 3 hour drive from the Black Hills. Fingers crossed for a better season in 2020!
 

SapperRIP

Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2017
Messages
22
Location
North Dakota
I have seen huge depletion in bird numbers over the last 10 years primarily due to loss of CRP, and all the haying/cropping of PLOTS land and USFWS easements due to loose regulations on how they're allowed to manage those areas. ND got hit hard 08-13 on winters and then habitat loss right after never game them time to build back up. That being said you can still find birds, just definitely more work and more ground covered. I'm hoping people keep raising them and releasing till we're back to what we used to be. I'm doubling my pen size this year to try and release twice as many.
 

cacsrx1

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Joined
Nov 4, 2011
Messages
74
I have lived in central SD all my life (43 years). The last five years are the worst I have ever seen as far as bird numbers. Game Fish and Parks doesnt want you to know that because they want to sell out of state licences, period......end of story. Places that literally held thousands of birds a few years ago dont have any now. There isnt any less habitat or any more predators then there was 10 years ago. Sooo then it gets blamed on nesting conditions, too wet, too cold, too dry, to hot, a bad hail storm killed them all...etc. IMO thats all BS. When the commercial hunting lodges release their "chickens" oh oops I mean pen raised replacement birds into the wild by the 10,000's they are bound to carry a disease that the wild birds cant take. 2 years ago virtually all the adult birds disappeared from February to June. I suppose they died of old age.
 

HNDLDR

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Joined
Jun 25, 2014
Messages
214
Location
Vernal Utah
My little Golden is the first dog I’ve ever trained. This was the first year to hunt pheasant for both of us. Her and I are very rough around the edges and have a lot to learn. We mainly only had access to plots and CRP just like everyone else here in North Dakota. We definitely didn’t limit out everyday by a long shot but it kept us coming back for more for sure. I think there were definitely a lot of birds in the standing crops that didn’t get harvested around us.
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