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Tom7227

What has been your success in South Dakota?

34 posts in this topic

A few of us were in the Webster SD area Nov. 7 to 11. We were hunting private land. We had three dogs, one of which is a very well seasoned Brit. I can't blame the dogs for our results, and I can't blame bad shooting. It was just plain hard to find birds.

We had limited success - seven birds for 3 guys for 3 1/2 days. We also had three we couldn't recover because they landed in water.

I am wondering how others have done. Talking to others in the cafe and motel it seemed that our success was about average. One guy hunting with a beagle said he limited out, but I'm not so sure he wasn't pulling my leg. A friend was about 40 miles south and reported 23 birds for 18 guys.

We found that many areas we hunted in the past were pretty wet. There was maybe 5 yards of cover and then water in areas where we had seen maybe 15 yards of cover in the past.

One of the three dogs we had managed to get 'skunked'. My advice is to take some skunk juice from home as there was none to be found in Webster.

I'm anxious to hear how others have done. I probably will go out again in a few weeks and hope to learn what I should expect.

Thanks for your time.

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Were you seeing a lot of birds, but they were just out of range? How was the weather?

Maybe the private land you were on has been hunted hard all season long and the birds have been pushed into other areas.

I have not been to S.Dak this year because the bird numbers in MN have been so good. The people who I talked to that have hunted in S. Dak had pretty good success and all said they saw lots of birds.

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We hunted near Wagner in late Oct. We had 3 shooters and a dog.The corn was still up which was a problem because the birds were relatively safe in the corn. We hunted public and private. The public had some birds but were very heavily pressured, you had to hit the public land in morning to get any. We did hunt some private land of a friend which had only been hunted once on opener. There was alot of birds and we got some, but they were very wary, often running. There had to be some small grain nearby if you wanted birds. We did ditch hunt with some success. We didnt limit, but could have if we were better shots. I also hunted No. Dak. 2 weeks before and I thought No. Dak. was much better, less pressure and not as commercial-$ to hunt. We were offered private land , guaranteed birds for $100 per gun/day. In No. Dak. we could hunt private land if it wasnt posted. We tried to ask anyway and most times they were happy to let us hunt for free, very friendly as opposed to So. dak. I was somewhat dissappointed with So. Dak.

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We just didn't see many birds. The weather was 35-40 and cloudy for two days, and sunny and 50+ the last two. Not a lot of wind until Sunday around noon.

The land wasn't hunted much according to our host. I can't remember but it may have been last year where the area was hit very hard by ice around Thanksgiving. If so that would explain things.

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Webster is a bit north and east of where most of the birds are. You need to be further west (50-70 miles) or further south for the higher number of pheasant.

You will find some in that area...as it sounds like you did...but just not the huge numbers.

I suspect you probably saw a lot of waterfowl in that area, though.

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how are the crops in these areas? were most of them out or were they still in?

Its gonna be some time yet but after all the crops are out and maybe a dusting of snow then you will start seeing the success.

I havent had any trouble finding birds and I have hunted all over the state on private and public lands.

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Crops were all out. It was interesting - most of the areas we hunted were corn last year, but wheat this year. Maybe that impacted the birds.

As far as moving west 70 miles or south 40 - I don't think our host will give up his Century farm just so we get better hunting. I try and avoid the public hunting if possible because the areas seem to get hit a lot. I guess I'll have to consider some type of balance - the ease of hunting private land and the lack of hassles vs. the chance for more birds in other areas.

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When ive been out we have done pretty good. I only go when my family is out because i don't like hunting without a dog. Last weekend we actually did better the three days we hunted public than the day we hunted private. We saw tons of birds on the public, most were pretty spooky, but the ones that didn't jump way up ahead sat really tight.

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I hunted public land only in Day County, Marshal County & Brown County November 4-8. Hunted Solo w/my lab & killed my limit three days w/two birds the other 2 days. My observation was that the bird numbers were excellent but the birds very educated.

The dog and I have been doing this a while so I think we adapted to the program OK. I found this year (hunt early Nov. every year) that the birds were not in the classic switch grass/cattail cover or big parcel CRP as much as years past. We had a lot of success hunting weed patches & weedy waterways right in the food sources. Hunted only small "island sloughs" instead of big patches of cattail. Also got some birds in smaller parcels of grass either early in the day or at roosting hour.

Long story short. I spent a lot of time this year driving around and scouting out smaller out of the way covers (sometimes located within bigger parcels) and targeted them specifically. Heading out again in 2-3 weeks and what worked the first week of November will propbably be old news and I'll have to figure out something else again.

Good Luck

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Just got back from SD today.I hunted only public land on this trip and filled on 3 days and got 2 on the other 2 days. Hunted by myself for the 5 days and ended up with 13 birds.

Hunted around the Huron/Wolsey/Wessington area.Most of the birds I found were down in the wet areas.Had to wear knee high rubber boots.The birds were sitting in tuffts of grass out over the water.Strange! Birds were not in the cattails.

Lots of standing water compared to last year. I was told that the area got 11 inches of rain over 3 days in october.

I really didn't see all that many birds,but they held fairly well for my 2 labs. When the sloughs freeze over firm enough to walk on,those pheasants are going to be in for a surprise.I'll be back!

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We hunted SD back on the weekend before halloween. there was 8 of us that went down there. The second day we had a few locals joins us. This is our bird count, 1st day was 4, 2nd day was 17, 3rd day was 11. 2 guys went home early so there was 6 of us the last day and we only hunted a for about 2 hours and got 13 more. No dogs. We lost a few, either they werent dead or we just couldnt find them. So 45 birds total. ( i think I added it right) We were about 40 miles east of Aberdeen just north of hwy 12. We were hunting on private land, there was a lot of corn still up cuz of the rain they had so they were kinda behind on harvest. The last day was when we seen the most, we hunted a cattail slough just behind our friends( landowner ) house, 2 of us were going to one end and block and the 4 other guys went to the other end and on their way there they seen that our friend had a couple throwers set up behind a couple haybales. So they decided while dad and I were walking to the other end to block that they would try a few clays, well once they started shooting, every bird was on high alert in that slough and we ended up with only 4. There was at least 40 birds in there and most of them got up well out range. We are gonna try it again down there the day after Christmas for 3 days, wont know til we do it right? I think last year we had 52 birds in 3 days for 11 guys and again no dogs. I think we will have a couple dogs along in Dec. Hopefully it aint too cold and the snow aint too deep. This is my 3rd year hunting SD and mostly likely is a yearly trip for us. Happy hunting!

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Just got back from SoDak, was there from 11/16-20, hunting about 80 miles SW of Aberdeen. We saw lots of birds!!! Hundreds of birds!!! Four guys, three dogs, we limited every day but one. But they were spooky, we had to work for them, blockers/posters on one end, dogs coming from the other end, lots escaped but a few stayed long enough for some good shooting. The one day we didn't limit it was a wet day, the birds weren't in the sloughs, then it warmed up, we we took some time off and then couldn't cover enough ground at sunset to round them up. We did have the benefit of a couple of fields of corn still in, we hit everything close to it, then on the last two days they went out, the sloughs next to them were loaded.

We were driving around one evening right after sunset, stopped and got out of the truck, there were pheasants crowing all over!!!! Neat!!! At the same time we watched wave after wave of ducks fly over!! One of those 'you had to have been there' moments!

Great trip!

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I am heading to the Mitchell area on Nov. 30th to the 3rd for my first SoDak hunting experience. We are hunting on both public and private land. Just wondering how people have been doing in this area being I am a SoDak rookie.

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Quote:

I am heading to the Mitchell area on Nov. 30th to the 3rd for my first SoDak hunting experience. We are hunting on both public and private land. Just wondering how people have been doing in this area being I am a SoDak rookie.


That area west to Chamberlain along I-90 is ground zero for pheasant numbers and draws a lot of out of state hunters looking to freelance. The available public ground is limited and gets pounded. Will be a tough go in my opinion.

You should do fine on private ground but would highly recommend you go north to hunt public. Even as much as 1-2 hours north. Look at your public hunting atlas and you will see many areas of highly concentrated public hunting parcels. These areas have plenty of birds and the hunter numbers are much more reasonable.

Good Luck

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I'd say the originator of this thread had quite poor success, especially considering he was hunting private land.

I was out there last year for 4 days in November and we just hit the walk in areas with fairly inexperienced dogs and did quite a bit better.

That is hunting though.

Hoping to get out for roosters quite a bit in December, but I think I'll save the SD trips for next year.

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me and five of my buddies went out to miller sd on opener and we got our limit each day. 57 in 4 days

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We had between 5-15 guys over 3 days at my place in Charles Mix County. We shot 86 birds and probably lost about 20 due to old dogs and just bad tactics.

Had report from group of 10 in Timber Lake area getting limits early.

Aberdeen area has good birds and now that corn is out the numbers are really showing themselves.

Just talked to a group that was renting out my place and they had 9 hunters and got 27 birds each of 2 days and 6 on last day but only hunted 2 hours.

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I was supposed to go to the DeSmet area this week but the guy I was going with said he didn't want to bother. Three birds in three days two weeks ago.

Is this the part of the state that had the huge ice storm last year, or was that in 05?

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I have been hunting in Dakota 18 years in the Huron/Yale area bird numbers were as good as I have ever seen them. (Went out in mid Nov.) Limits by mid-afternoon. Went the following weekend to Woonsocket and the numbers were better there. I really like going out later as the pressure is lower. We hunt private land . But driving to and from the spots we would see plenty of birds and very few hunters. To me late season hunting is the best! Stayed at the Mitchell Super 8 all weekend, saw one other group of hunters. Will be going back out over New Years.

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Quote:

I was supposed to go to the DeSmet area this week but the guy I was going with said he didn't want to bother. Three birds in three days two weeks ago.

Is this the part of the state that had the huge ice storm last year, or was that in 05?


I dont know what you guys were doing wrong but I know of ALOT people that do well in that area.

I drive through there frequently to see relatives in Huron and probably see 10x my limit of a birds just along Hwy 14.

I also agree that late season hunts are the best. My excitement to get out again increased after this last weekend storms. Hunting with 2 pointers and with the snow making the birds hold nice and tight is a blast.

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another limit of birds for me today in just a few short hours of work. I also hunted my pup for the first time on wild birds. It was about 15 degrees out today with no wind so it was really nice to be out.

Had a lot of good solid points today from both dogs. the birds sat really really tight with fresh snow on the ground. Had a blast again and I was really impressed with how well my pup is doing even though he is only 5mos old.

DSC02746.jpg

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Got back from SoDak yesterday and in the 18 years I've hunted the State for pheasant, I have to say this is "THE" best hunting I have ever had!

We hunted N/W of Aberdeen and the further west you went the less snow there was. We had probably only 2" on the ground. The cover was in excellent shape compared to last year and there literally were birds in each and every piece of cover we hit.

Thursday and Friday 4 of us hunted and finished off our 4 man limits around 1:30-2:00, then spent the rest of the afternoon driving around admiring the numbers of birds in the area and as usual the beautiful Whitetail bucks that roam the country side. Here's a quick photo of 2 of my buddies with Thursday's birds.

PC060358.jpg

Friday's bird numbers were beyond incredible. I've seen huge flocks of pheasants and staggering numbers of birds in a day's hunt, but we literally put up I'd have to estimate 3000 birds in 4 hours of hunting. In one food plot / wind break we hit that is a 1/2 mile long, I'd conservatively say we flushed close to 1500 birds. We easily finished on this piece and just allowed the dogs to continue to hunt it out to the end. When we started the push, at least 500 birds were in the air in the 1st 20 yards of the cover. It was a site to behold! We could've easily limited for 20 guys on that push alone and it never would've dented the rooster numbers in that flock.

Saturday we had 7 guys and finished that limit by 2:00 also. The food plots that my farmer friend plants every year are really picked over. Most ears of corn already have most of the kernels eaten off. Many birds are utilizing the stubble fields right now instead of the standing corn as they are more successful finding food in the stubble. They didn't even bother to harvest a 160 acre sunflower field as the gauge in the combine didn't even come off 0 for the pounds of sunflower seeds harvested. He said most of the heads had less than 10% of the seeds on them and there were hens standing on top of the flowers trying to pick the seeds off them.

It was cold all 3 days we hunted, but the winds were bearable. Once you began moving around you easily kept warm... layering was key so you can adjust the clothing to how much you were moving.

The dog work was very good! 2 of my friends have labs and they did great work. Another buddy has a a 2 year old Springer who is really coming into his own and My 2 year old lab is really coming along too. My new Cocker really came on more as each of the hunts carried on. The one downfall for him was trying to hunt 'neck and neck' with the labs. They ranged out further and faster than him, but he flushed many birds that were run over by the labs. He surprisingly held up each day and hunted in all the cover we hit no problem. The average field we hunted was planted in Intermediate Wheat Grass that was chest high and he just hunted through it like it was a light Brome field.

The key to success out there is like any other late season hunt. You need to use stealth to slip up on the birds. Any voice commands immediatley had birds in the sky busting wild. Keep the whistles inside your vest as much as possible too. The dogs we hunt are genrally always within a 30 yard radius of the shooters and we rarely have to correct them for ranging out too far. When shots rang out the fields would errupt, but generally there were always plenty of roosters that held tight thinking they could sit and let us pass. As wiley as the majority of the birds were, they average shot we took was under 20 yards. Patience was the key. Instead of disrupting the field on a marginal 30-40 yard shot, you were better off letting it fly and taking the sure bet that almost always presented itself within the next 100 yards. The hunts ended up ending too soon as it was, so this helped keep us out in the field for an extra hour or two also.

A new tradition was started a few years ago and carried on this year as well. We always put on a big game feed for the farmer and his family to show our appreciation for allowing us to hunt his land. This years menu had Almond and parmesean crusted pheasant breast with peppers over pasta, goose breast with mixed berry sauce and stuffed venison backstrap with garlic mashed potatos. Corn, sald and bread along with a couple bottles of good wine rounded out a fantastic evening to share the new memories of the latest hunt. We always leave them with a spiral cut ham for Christmas too.

With the staggering number of birds, people should take advantage of the late season hunting that SoDak has to offer. Very low pressure was noted as we drove around. Only 3 other trucks were seen over the 3 days. Many, many walk-in areas and WPAs had no tire tracks or footprints in the snow and birds were seen at each and every one of them. This is also the best time of the year to work on getting a private land owner contact. We've had some luck getting on private land late in the season. This farmer I speak of is one of those contacts we made 7 years ago and a very good friendship has been fostered in that time. I take him and his friends ice fishing on Red and he has been bear hunting twice, and for this he lets me hunt his land. I bring out some vacuum packed walleye fillets to him every year too and I even got him and his wife to come to the cabin for 3 days this summer. Sure, We've gotten rejected at many farms, but have amassed 4 farms that we have permission to hunt on over a 3-4 year period. We don't hunt 3 of those farms anymore, but we still drop off a little gift each year and touch base with them to keep them in our vest pocket should the need arise. Being polite and spending a little time talking to the land owner can open up some incredible hunting opportunities. We never go out early in the year to SoDak, and though I truley believe we would be well recieved if we wanted too, we go out after they are done hunting birds and the deer season is closed. Generally most of the locals are done hunting for the season and they aren't as protective of their land. I like hunting late season too! The dogs seem to last longer and the scenting conditions are almost always perfect.

What are you waiting for? Go get 'em!!!

Good Luck!

Ken

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Nice report!

I hunted Saturday in the cold weather with three other guys. We did get our limit, but we had to work very hard for them. The birds were definitely bunched up and were pretty spooky for the most part. We saw a lot of birds, but most were out of range. We should have been more quiet! It was incredibly satisfying to get a hard earned limit after walking cattails all day long.

Opener in another area in SD was rediculously easy. Three days and we hunted a total of 2 hours. My experience in both Dakota's has been great for years. The hunting is always excellent and the residents of both states are the nicest people I have encountered anywhere in the country. I am glad that I live so close to bird hunting paradise!

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Good report Ken. We were also out in North Central SD this past weekend and saw a ton of birds. Your right in that you needed to be quiet.....especially on the lands that have seen more pressure. We hunted a mix of public and private and did pretty well. Definitely worth the late season trip out. In the four days we were out there I don't think we saw 4-5 trucks of hunters the entire time we were there.

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Good report Ken. Wish I had thought to give you a call as we based out of Aberdeen last weekend also. 175 birds over the past 2 weekends. First trip mainly private land SW of Mitchell and last weekend a mixture of public and ditch hunting (do not read that as road hunting please). Roosters are really starting to group up.

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