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2004 Opener


BDR

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2004 Pheasant opener


This Saturday will be the start of another year of chasing long tails in MN. MN Pheasant season will be October 16 thru December 31. August roadside surveys show that Pheasant populations are down 47% overall from last years numbers. This is due to the effects of a cool, wet breeding season. However weather improved greatly for re-nesting broods, this would make the August survey slightly inaccurate.

The entire Southern half of Minnesota is considered Pheasant country. The Southwest having the highest population. The Central and South region having “fair” populations. The East and Southeast having a mix of “fair” and “poor” populations. Population projections are not cut and dry when it comes to geography. I have found excellent populations in areas considered being “poor” and I have found populations to be poor in areas considered to be “good”. The key to population will be habitat, food source and breeding weather.

Minnesota has over 1300 Wildlife Management Areas (WMA’s) that encompass over 1.1 million acres. Many of these WMA’s are in good Pheasant areas. Many Wildlife Production areas (WPA’s) are also great Pheasant holding lands that I hunt. NOTE: Steel shot only on all WPA’s. Public land can get quite crowded around Pheasant opener. It can be next to impossible to have an area all to yourself. We have to have some common courtesy to others in the field. I do not cut in or upwind of a group hunting. I will look for an area of land that is somewhat separated from another hunting party leaving them with reasonable amount of direction to continue their hunt. I wish the same in return. Not all will have the courtesy and that is just part of hunting on public land. If I get the opportunity to approach another group and discuss my intentions of hunting a different portion of the area, I will. It usually works out that both groups can be happy and safe. I cannot expect to have a huge tract of public land to myself and neither should other users.

Locating Pheasants on the opener can be frustrating at times. I will look for areas that have some crops harvested. This will push birds into areas that I can get to them. Unless you have a very large group to push bird it can be next to impossible to get the out of standing corn. First thing in the morning I will find an area that has thick dense roosting areas near a food source. Grain, corn and beans are my favorite food source to hunt near. I will look for medium length grass/straw field in between the heavy cover and the food source. I find that Pheasants if given a choice will walk back to the hiding areas after eating. These fields are a great area to get them in the morning hours.
Midday I will be tromping thru the thickest cover I can find near a food source. Cattails and marsh edges are a favorite, but not the easies to get thru. This is when the beeper collar or bell is very helpful. It is very hard to follow my dog just by listening to him run thru the cover and I can lose him easily.
By 3-3:30 we are back out of the thick cover and hunting the same type of cover as I do in the mornings. Sometimes it may even be the exact same field I did hunt that morning. I find birds kind of wandering thru the medium length cover back to the food source.
If you have a birddog like mine, It is very important to “force” him/her to take breaks and water. I have learned the hard way that he works a lot harder than I. We had a very close call last year on the warm SD opener. I thought he was getting plenty of water and he still got very close to heat stroke. A lot closer than I ever wish to witness again. I always have some high-energy treats in my pocket to give him a little extra boost as the day wears on him.

Good and safe hunting! Take a kid!


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Brian Rogers
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What a fantastic essay.

While duck hunting this past weekend on public land I watched more than 20 pheasants leave their roosts and head across the road for corn. The roosters were around 3:1

I'm optimistic about this year.....moreso then I am about waterfowling.

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What kind of high energy treats do you give your dog?
Have any of you heard of DYNE, supposed to be like a sports drink for dogs, for more energy, stamina, and helps preent dehydtration.
Posted this in the dog ssection, but no reply.
thanks

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Haven't heard of that Dano. I will have some dried meat (usually venison) for him to snack on. I also switch his food to a higher protien diet for the hunting season. He will not eat regular dog food while on our hunting trips, but he will eat canned. I give him what he wants smile.gif Not the best situation but it works and really causes no harm

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Brian Rogers
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Nice post Brian. You'v egot me a little more fired up for saturday. My brother and law and I will be hunitng over my Brit near Lamberton, on WMA's. Hopefully we can hit some smaller , overlooked areas and find a few roosters. A bird apiece would be a great result.

You've also got me reconsdiering bringing my seven year old.

walk hard, shoot straight everyone

LA

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I've had my shorthair out running a couple of times in the past 2 weeks and have been pleasantly surprised at the birds i've seen. Its been in the mornings too, i've yet too be out towards evenings when a person would expect too be seeing more birds. I've also taken a few drives around 7:30-8:00am and have seen birds doing this too.

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I am kind of torn between chasing roosters and getting out to the duck slough this weekend. I would hope this weather that has been coming through ND and SD would push a few new birds in the area, but shooting a few dumb roosters at 9:15 is always fun too...what decisions.
I am leaning towards ducking the morning and mid day and hitting a few evening rooster spots.
Good luck everyone.

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I'm getting excited. I was looking out my window at work in Plymouth and thought I was dreaming. A rooster came walking across the parking lot. Must be a good omen. Took my Golden to Gold Meadows a couple of weeks ago, and he did well for his first time out. I'm going to try and get out Sunday, and if that doesn't work, I'll be out for sure on Wednesday.

Good luck to all!

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Great post BDR.

As much as I love going to my kids soccer and football games, which is where I'll be Saturday, a small part of me wishes I could be out there.

Cough!!...Cough!!...I think I got that bug thats going around. I might have to miss work on Monday. Cough!!...Cough!!... wink.gif

You guys have fun out there and be safe.

NO SHOOTING FROM THE HIP blush.gif

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RAGNAR!!??....BAH!!! BRING BACK HUB!!

[This message has been edited by metrojoe (edited 10-14-2004).]

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Great post BDR!

Snag, it's either an omen or a curse. In my situation, the day before deer hunting opener a few years ago I saw beautiful 6 point buck while putting up my portable. The woods were very quiet and he was standing not 25 yards from my stand facing away from me (tail down).

I didn't see a stinkin' deer for two weeks after that.

Good luck to everyone! (I'll be grouse hunting, but pheasants might find my sights as well.)

-schaapj

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I fish because the voices in my head tell me to.

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Good luck to all who are heading out this weekend. This is my first year hunting ND instead of MN, and the bird numbers are remarkable!! Hope you guys have many flush, and shoot striaght. Its gonna be a cold one, compared to years past. I will be tromping around the ND fields again this weekend, but my heart will be in MN.


Snag, you would be surprised at the number of pheasants in plymouth. I live there when i am at home, and have always seen tons of birds. Really gets the heart pumping!!

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Weather should play a big part tomorrow, high winds will give me a good excuse for my misses. The bell or beeper is extra important when it extra windy like they are predicting tomorrow.

Got invited to hunt some private property for the opener. So that is a plus.

Let all post on our 1st day out tomorrow night and remember sucess isn't always measured in how heavy the game bag is, enjoy the friends, relatives and dog work, birds are just a bonus.

Hunt safe, shoot straight, good luck

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Last minute good news...I'm heading out tomorrow! I'll be alone roaming aimlessly. I'm going to drive s/w at 6am until 9 and hit it wherever I may be. It should be interesting..Never been out alone.

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