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2020/2021 Pheasant Hunting


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Not sure if anyone else saw this but the statewide pheasant report was released by the DNR yesterday and its up 42% statewide.  Its the highest numbers in over a decade.  A mostly mild winter and a dry spring likely accounted for lower mortality and a good hatch.  There will be no shortage of birds...or hunters.

 

https://files.dnr.state.mn.us/recreation/hunting/pheasant/prospect_map.pdf

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monstermoose78

That explains the numbers I am seeing on my way to work.

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10 hours ago, monstermoose78 said:

That explains the numbers I am seeing on my way to work.

 

Pheasant populations can proliferate quickly (or plummet quickly) given specific weather conditions but long term numbers are dependent on available habitat, which has been dwindling for years.  Farmers have taken marginal land and turned it into crop production in many states, including Minnesota.  So this "boom" we're seeing this year is not going to be a long term trend unless the winters are mild every year and we get a dry June every year.

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monstermoose78

Still seeing a lot of birds on my way home cutting across country roads. 

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On 10/4/2020 at 7:24 AM, monstermoose78 said:

Still seeing a lot of birds on my way home cutting across country roads. 

 

I spent a large portion of the day on Saturday driving the countryside asking for permission.  I saw quite a few birds doing it too.  I've actually seen some corn harvested too already (for silage I assume) which has not been the case for years this early.  Its going to be a good season I think.

Edited by gimruis
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monstermoose78

Put some miles on looking for a rooster and have not flushed one yet.

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Wanderer
2 hours ago, monstermoose78 said:

Put some miles on looking for a rooster and have not flushed one yet.


Have you been checking cattails at all?

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1 hour ago, Wanderer said:


Have you been checking cattails at all?

 

I haven't found any in them mostly because they aren't frozen enough to walk into and I won't risk falling in up to my waist.  When we get a good hard freeze then I'll venture in them.

 

I've been out twice and it hasn't been gangbusters like I thought it would be when they said the population was up 42%, but I have seen/flushed birds at every spot I have hunted so far.

 

I intend to go again tomorrow and I'll report back.

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IceHawk

Been doing pretty good on the birds this year, will I say its got tougher lately for sure. Most of the public land has been beat to crap already with the covid issues and bird numbers up. I've witnessed more hunters and pressure than in years past. . The roosters left on it are still shootable but very educated. FInding private land access really helps.  Weather and the times you hunt play a key role in success. Hunting prime times first and last hour look twoard's roosting cover, hunting midday look twoard's loafing feeding  cover.  Temps also are key on warm days I'm finding birds in the tall grass, when its colder windy tamarac's and cattails are the ticket. Standing corn next to some good cover has been the pot of gold! Some tips that work for me, no door slamming, enter a public from a different area then the public lot head to far reaches nastiest stuff on a piece,. Cant stress how much noise and good dog plays a factor in success or failure. Both my labs are hand signal trained I direct them with a short whistle and hand arm direction. Very little verbal communication with them . They have learned through extensive training and hunting how to win the game!  The guys out there slamming doors yelling at there dogs running wild out of control  arent having success this time of year that's for sure. The first sound of a hunter those old educated birds are heading for the back by foot or by flying out where you dont even see them. 

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@IceHawk is spot on

 

I think cattails are not worth walking right now unless your hitting them early or late in the day. If you think about how these birds fatten up for winter and cold temps. We had that cold snap mid October with snow etc. Those birds were hunkered down in them then. But think about it if you fattened up for winter, put on your winter layers and then it got warm would you sit in cat tails all day?

 

Those birds are out sunning themselves picking and scratching in the corn and beans. I would hunt roosting areas early and late but hunt those transition areas next to harvested row crops mid day in the crp, brome grasses etc. Even it its not thick you would be surprised how many birds will hold in light cover when its warm and sunny. Those birds are going to be on the sunny down wind side just soaking up the sun sitting right on the edges. If you can find that near water even better especially in a dry year like this one.

 

Cattails provide thermal cover and protection from predators. They don't need the thermal cover when its 50 degrees out and they are just as protected out in the open scratching for corn because they can see any danger coming. The birds will be bunched up now this late with crops out, spooky and well educated. Its not worth the heart attack walks mid day at 2pm stomping through cattails chest high. Your just going to wear yourself out, over heat your dog and the roosters will be out laughing and cackling at you in the corn field that hasn't been disc'd or plowed under yet.

 

Get into stealth mode like IceHawk said and think outside of the box. The first day those sloughs freeze over and you can get to them from a direction that wasn't possible with open water its a whole new ball game. Add some fresh snow and its even better. Then when it gets really cold you can target the cattails.

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IceHawk

Got my butt kicked last night hunted a WIA and not one bird flushed so it doesn't happen all the time. Funny thing was after me and the dogs had over 2 miles on us , we loaded and we didn't get down the road a 1/4 mile and there are two big roosters standing on the road edge off the private stuff next door 🤣 That's hunting not killing 

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I went yesterday for about 3.5 hours and got a couple.  Shoulda had a third with some better shooting.  I raised about 40 in addition to 5 deer.  The dog made a real nice retrieve on a wounded one too.

12-3-20 roosters.jpg

Edited by gimruis
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IceHawk

Must be hunting some private land with those numbers flushed ? Way to go by the way you have a nice looking lab! Ended up hunting the Benson area today only got one but flushed a fair amount of hens. Never saw a deer but did run across few muzzy hunters. 

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On 12/4/2020 at 5:39 PM, IceHawk said:

Must be hunting some private land with those numbers flushed ? Way to go by the way you have a nice looking lab

 

Yes, and thanks.

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Went again yesterday for about 3 hours and snagged three roosters.  I raised about 30 total.  One spot had about 15 hens.  Last time some of the birds were flushing wild so I approached the spots yesterday from the opposite direction and it proved to be an effective strategy.  It feels more like late October out there.  I can remember last year by this time the snow was over a foot deep and the walking was very tough.

12-10-20 roosters.jpg

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monstermoose78

I might have to try to get out some more. 

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14 minutes ago, monstermoose78 said:

I might have to try to get out some more. 

 

Its good exercise and easy walking right now, if nothing else.  It was so nice out there yesterday I didn't even need to harvest a rooster to enjoy it to be honest.  Just walking in the December sun with my dog, carrying my Benelli is worth going.  Folding up a rooster or two is just a bonus on those days.

Edited by gimruis
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monstermoose78
3 hours ago, gimruis said:

 

Its good exercise and easy walking right now, if nothing else.  It was so nice out there yesterday I didn't even need to harvest a rooster to enjoy it to be honest.  Just walking in the December sun with my dog, carrying my Benelli is worth going.  Folding up a rooster or two is just a bonus on those days.

That it is

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monstermoose78

Went pheasant hunting did not see any, but I brought the crow call!

 

5F81F760-4D6A-4FA6-94CC-100B2FED1D93.jpeg

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Haha.  I think I got you beat Moose.  I went yesterday and found three more of what I was targeting.  The question is, would you rather eat crow or pheasant? 🤣

BTW did our dogs come from the same genetic line because they look identical.

12-21-20 roosters.jpg

Edited by gimruis
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monstermoose78

I got my pup from Albany area

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IceHawk

Last weekend a few of us guys hit the Lquiparle area we did really well. Knocked down 9 roosters for our group and saw at least a 100 birds plus on the day we hunted. Was a good time alot of laughs, ribbing amongst friends and the dogs got into some good pockets of birds and action. What more could you ask for.  Sad to see it coming to a end for the season, couple more trips for me and the dogs hopefully we end with a bang. Soon the dogs will be able to get some rest been a banner season for us  can't complain!  

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  • Rick changed the title to 2020/2021 Pheasant Hunting

I went on Saturday for a couple hours and it was gangbusters.  The area I hunt didn't get as much snow so the walking was still fine.  I had a hunch that they would be in two areas: cattails and standing corn.  I was right.  It was easy to see all the activity in both of them with the tracks in the snow.  The standing corn field had about 35 birds in it.  I'm gonna try one more time if the snow this week isn't too bad.

12-26-20 roosters.jpg

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IceHawk

I'm still at it myself dumped couple other day wow are they jumpy and flocked up. Once one goes the rest follow been a battle trying to keep them pinned down! Still going to hit it a few more times before it closes. Gimrius with the amount of success you had this year it's going to cost you a steak dinner or two to that land owner 🤣  Looks like it is some good stuff if its holding those amount of birds consistenly! Congrats on a great season! 

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monstermoose78
2 hours ago, IceHawk said:

I'm still at it myself dumped couple other day wow are they jumpy and flocked up. Once one goes the rest follow been a battle trying to keep them pinned down! Still going to hit it a few more times before it closes. Gimrius with the amount of success you had this year it's going to cost you a steak dinner or two to that land owner 🤣  Looks like it is some good stuff if its holding those amount of birds consistenly! Congrats on a great season! 

Did you save me a couple wings man?

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15 hours ago, IceHawk said:

Gimrius with the amount of success you had this year it's going to cost you a steak dinner or two to that land owner 🤣  Looks like it is some good stuff if its holding those amount of birds consistenly! Congrats on a great season! 

 

I'm actually off the pace from my normal harvest this year if you can believe it.  The primary reason is that I've only hunted alone this season (because of the pandemic) whereas most seasons I take someone with about half the time.

 

I already dropped off a bottle of rum and a 6 pack of beer to a couple landowners that allow me to hunt.  Most of the places I hunt won't accept anything though.  I've been hunting on their land for almost 20 years now.  I started asking for permission in high school and I've kept doing it since.  I don't over hunt any of these spots either.  They can get burned out pretty quickly if they get hunted too much, sort of like hunting public land.  There's a significant amount of time required to scout, drive around, and ask permission but it almost always pays off.

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