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This trip Out West is one we look forward to all year long. Both my pups were born and bred in NoDak so its a going home trip for them too, of sorts. My partner on this sojourn was Big Art who was in 'Nam jumping out of choppers and leading a sniper squad behind V.C. lines. You couldn't have a better guy riding shotgun on a trip like this , either literally or figuratively.

Our destination was a small burg in the middle of the state where the roosters are many and the people are the best in the world. And they grow some really, really big roosters out there too.



Its been a really tough year for the farmers in the corn belt. It was a wet spring so getting planting done was late too. Then a cool and wet summer with abnormally low "degree days" delayed crop maturation further. Neither the corn or beans have reached low enough moisture content to begin harvest in earnest. Almost all of the corn/ beans were still in the fields. And the persistent Sept-October rains have flooded many crop fields, much of the CRP, section roads, ditches, set aside areas, etc. Many of the secondary roads were impassible without an Argo or airboat. Consequently, knee high rubber boots were needed to walk almost anywhere.




Day 1 of our hunt dawned to a big front moving through with 35+ mph wind, wet snow, sleet and rain coming down heavily. We weren't gonna do any good hunting in that stuff so Plan B was invoked. We had wanted to get to the Terry Redlin Museum in Watertown for some years now, and today was the day. So we drove the 75 miles to the museum in a snowstorm, following a snowplow part of the way, and it was worth it. They have over 100 of his originals and many artifacts from his life in the Dakotas/Minnesota. The place was packed with bird hunters grousing about the weather and all the standing crops. Bot a nice Redlin print of a combine flushing pheasants out of a cornfield. www.redlinart.com We got back in time to hunt some grass next to a cornfield but flushed only hens. Day one was a bust due to the crazy weather.



Day two was better. We hunted a shelterbelt first thing in the morning with some friends and picked up a couple. Then Art and I hunted some CRP next to a creek with a cornfield nearby and picked up a couple more. Ended up in some big CRP in the late afternoon and limited out, finally.



Day three started out well too. The farmer had left a couple of strips of standing corn in one corner of a huge cornfield, 95% still standing. They were 50 rows wide and ~ 1/4 mile long. You really needed about eight guys to hunt this cover effectively. But Art walked down to the end and Scouty and I drove the first block. I heard shooting and when I got down to the end Art had two nice cockbirds on the ground. The second block yielded more birds which squirted out the side. Then Art wanted to hunt the edge of an estimated 400 acres of standing corn. Scouty had been hunting and handling the corn well so I had no real concerns- at the time.:rolleyes: I heard birds go up during the drive but couldnt see anything. When I got down to the end Scout didnt come out. Blew the whistle, shot the gun, honked the horn, etc etc. It was noon. So we sat there and had lunch and whistled, shot and honked a million times. No Scouty. The wind was up and it was very loud in the corn and he apparently got turned around in there, with no landmarks to go by. The landowner came over on his Polaris Ranger and scoured the countryside, notified the two farms in six square miles, etc,etc. Drove all the surrounding roads. We had to leave the field in the dark but just as I was finished cleaning birds, got the call that Scout had followed the neighboring farmer's black Lab into their yard after dark. We rushed over, and found Scout dirty, full of cockburrs but otherwise OK, TG. Lesson learned. :idea:

We had to leave for home the next morning. It was a tuff hunt on several levels. But we plan to do it again next year and hope for better bird numbers and certainly better weather. And hope our farmer friends can get those crops in the barn ASAP before more is lost to mold and other weather related losses. That's their paycheck and it should be sitting in the bank by now, not in some muddy cornfield.

Natty B.
 

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Our party was in SD for the past ten days. I hunted 1/2 day in that miserable weather. With the crops in it was tough going but as the days wore on we found fields which held lots of birds. Lots of opportunity for nice dog work.
 

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Thanks for a nice post and report Natty!

Glad things worked out ok with the dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for a nice post and report Natty!

Glad things worked out ok with the dog.
Thanks Joel.

I've been hunting my own Beagles and Bird dogs for five decades or more, all over the country. And never once had to leave a dog in the woods overnight. Had a hunting coat laid down where the truck was parked tho just in case.

BTW had Scouty down in the grouse woods today and he stayed within gun range for two hours and never once had to blow the whistle. He kept an eye on me to make sure I didnt get lost!!.:lol:

NB
 

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Natty, I am currently staying at the big rooster motel. We are out here until Tues.

Had a good today, even with highs in the upper 60's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Good Luck out there, Brad. Shoot straight.

NB
 

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I've been hunting my own Beagles and Bird dogs for five decades or more, all over the country. And never once had to leave a dog in the woods overnight. Had a hunting coat laid down where the truck was parked tho just in case.

BTW had Scouty down in the grouse woods today and he stayed within gun range for two hours and never once had to blow the whistle. He kept an eye on me to make sure I didnt get lost!!.:lol:

NB
Betcha Scouty is getting you a beeper collar for Christmas.....

Great story. Except for you getting lost.
 

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Hope it has dried out in a week, because I am hitting the road right now. Not going all the way to SoDak, but I'll be on the far side of the Mississippi by daybreak.
 
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