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In a word Phenomenal!

Ten days of chasing SD Ring Necks, Prairie Chickens and Sharptails was a blast. Although much of the fun was largely due to the fact our hunting party is a great group of guys and gals the hunting is fantastic. My wife even shot at Prairie dogs but we were not sure if she hit any because we were a little distracted by a rattlesnake about 10 feet away. She wanted to know what I would do if it started slithering toward her (I know she would have figured something was up if she saw me running).

This was my first trip to SD after several years of hunting Iowa. SD is a state that has it together as far as hunting public land that is not overrun with people. Plenty of room for everyone. At times the vastness of an area was a bit intimidating and tough to figure out how to hunt.

I had a rare "Triple" which had several wittinesses. Here is the scenario: The GSP is on point down in a deep washed out cut. The handler is on the opposite side of the washout from me. His dog is solid as a rock and he had to urge him on to "Take it", so he wouldn't have to get down in that mess. Sam finally creeps in very slowly and the rooster flushed right at me. I shot at it coming at me, again as it turned sideways (20-25 yards) and going away (30 yards-maybe). The old tri-fecta. Several chuckles later, all I could say was "Swing and a miss." I just did it so we could have some lighthearted dinner conversation. It gave everyone something else to do besides brag about their dogs and shooting.

About 1/3 to 1/2 the crops are out which held a lot of birds but all-in-all we found plenty everywhere. We got out just before the blizzard. I think the birds should do OK, given the food still available in the fields.
 

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I grew up in South Dakota and was spoiled with the ability to go out and pheasant hunt any time I wanted. Now I can't wait to get back it has been 14 years now. It is really beautiful out there isn't it?
 

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I grew up in South Dakota and was spoiled with the ability to go out and pheasant hunt any time I wanted. Now I can't wait to get back it has been 14 years now. It is really beautiful out there isn't it?
Beautiful does not describe it. I was awestruck by the vastness and beauty. I did not think a landscape devoid of forest could be so beautiful. Looking around I could just imagine what it was like seeing hundreds of thousands of buffalo across the landscape. You were very fortunate growing up in SD.
 

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I managed to scratch down one Chicken. I had the 8 month old running with the four month old pup when they hit a point on a flock of Sharptails. Because the four month old pup is not fully gun broke yet I didn't shoot over her but they had a good chase when about 15 of them left the county.
 

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Very nice Tim.
Glad to hear all is well and the pups are getting to stretch their legs.
Sounds like your shooting is improving. :lol:
 

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Sounds like a nice trip.

I just talked with my grandpa on the phone. He was in Sioux Falls on his way back from SD. 45 mph winds and snow, and he said things had been worse. Be glad your trip didn't start today....:yikes:
 

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Sounds like an awsome trip, and an excellent wild bird experience for the pups.
 

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I just got back last Sunday night from a couple hours west of Mitchell, SD area. 12 guys, it was UNBELIEVEABLE...I'm 23 and am glad I went while I'm young so I can keep going back for many years. Definitely a different world than Michigan...We met Tom Knapp out there as well the local VFW as a bonus...can't say enough about the trip and sounds like you guys came away with the same outlook
 

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The route through Chicago is pretty fast now. Most of the construction is complete. I would call the Dept. of Game and Fish to get a snow condition report before heading out.
 

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Just back from a week of hunting a couple hours NE of Mitchell. Unlike last year when it was all Good News, we had both Good and Bad this year. First the Good News, the birds (pheasants) were there in high numbers, similar to last year. The SDF&G pegs the levels as the highest in several decades. More good news is that alot of standing corn and beans will be left in the fields this fall, unable to be harvested. Good for the birds, bad for the farmers.

Now for the Bad. The area we were hunting had near record rains all summer and fall. The soils were saturated and there was standing water everywhere, including much of the CRP, shelterbelts, waste areas, and ditches. Many of the corn and bean fields were partially flooded. The terrain is basically flat, the soils are heavy and there was nowhere for the water to go. None of the corn on the farms we hunted was harvested yet and the farmers were struggling to get the beans in as well. There was ~1500 acres of corn waiting to be taken down where we hunted; it was all harvested by Nov 1 last year.Combines and grain trucks were getting stuck on the middle of bean fields.

We were able to get our birds but had to hunt almost all day (right up till dark) to do it, not bad in itself, except for the standing water part. I've never bird hunted in knee high rubber boots all day before, but that was SOP this year. I should start a thread on "Pass Shooting Roosters Flying Out of Corn Fields" or "Wading for Roosters" and other unconventional bird hunting methods. :mad:

We had several days of bluebird, shirtsleeve weather. And some great visits with landowners who have now become friends. And we escaped out infront of the blizzard which blew in right after we left. And more Good News is that we were invited back for next year, and the farmers promise the corn will be down!!:D

Natty B.
 

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We never had to get out of our field boots and the terrain was generally pretty dry. Just shows what a few miles does.
 

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Tim glad both your group and Natty's were able to get out ahead of the blizzard.

Thanks for sharing your reports.
 
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