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First Snow Birds


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What do birds tend to do and where do they tend to go when they get the first snows of the year? Are they going to go into deeper cover right away? What types of cover are best to work?

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Genarally the morning after the first snow they will be runnning around like chickens with their heads cut off! Then they will find their way into the cattails.

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There are a lot of variables with this. I think it really depends on the weather after the snowfall. If it is sunny and bright and not too cold they will be out and about and will use any accessible cover that is not matted down by the snow. If it is cold and windy they may be buried in thick cover (cattails, willows, brush, etc...). If they are by marginal cover with no good cover nearby they may be out no matter what. Generally snow tends to bunch up the birds and many times they will sit incredibly tight. I have actually gotten on my knees and dug birds out of cover by hand with my hunting partner standing by. It's quite a rush having snow flying in your face with a bird boiling out between your hands. They will also roost in snowbanks kinda like ruffed grouse do. I've had enough points with the dogs head in a hole in the grass & then a bird explodes out of solid snow to know to always be ready when the dog points a snowbank.

To me pheasants are where you find them. Though a good cattail patch is always a good place to start when there's snow on the ground.

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

This morning they were on the downwind side of very brushy areas in high grass that was covered with snow. A few trees on the upwind side of that tended to concentrate them a little more. Nothing in cattails this morning.

I got to the point that if I felt very little wind I knew there were birds nearby.

Conditions were extremely windy after the first snowfall of the year. They all held tight until my lab has his nose up their rear. Roosters seemed to have the more prime cover with the least wind.

I laid off a lot of shots due to the heavy brush. I was in a heavily hunted WMA that I hunt frequently becaus eit's close and usually see few birds. Not today though - It was loaded with birds in heavy cover.

CLICK HERE to see my post on hunting a blizzard smile.gif

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Rick, you say you found the birds, but did you get any? I can only imagine onced flushed, how fast the birds can get going with that wind. Always makes for, somewhat fun but hard and frustrating shooting.

I dont think your crazy for hunting in this type of weather. As you said if you dress right, it isnt to bad. In fact once snow hits its my favorite time to hunt. I wouldnt hesitate hunting in this type of weather, but I have to work. Plus less people out there stomping through the WMA's before you.

Crazy how here in South Dakota we just hunted in 72 degree weather on saturday, and single degree temps with wind and snow yesturday and today.

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