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Wondering are these wild birds on public land, or, pen raised birds put out on pvt land by an outfitter? I was out there last year hunting on public land trying to shoot wild birds and there weren't many. Two of us with a good GSP hunted for 5 days, had 5 flushes (two of which were hens) and killed two roosters. Those hunters who we talked to who were having success were either hunting lands run by outfitters who stocked birds or driving all day in a truck and spotting and shooting birds on the road's right of way. Maybe last year was a bad year due to the drought but it was way NOT what we expected. If I wanted to shoot pen raised stocked birds I could have done that in my home state and saved lots of travel time and $. It is pretty country if you like flat and huge fields of corn and grass. I will say the locals were very friendly.
 

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Wondering are these wild birds on public land, or, pen raised birds put out on pvt land by an outfitter? I was out there last year hunting on public land trying to shoot wild birds and there weren't many. Two of us with a good GSP hunted for 5 days, had 5 flushes (two of which were hens) and killed two roosters. Those hunters who we talked to who were having success were either hunting lands run by outfitters who stocked birds or driving all day in a truck and spotting and shooting birds on the road's right of way. Maybe last year was a bad year due to the drought but it was way NOT what we expected. If I wanted to shoot pen raised stocked birds I could have done that in my home state and saved lots of travel time and $. It is pretty country if you like flat and huge fields of corn and grass. I will say the locals were very friendly.
The group photo is likely taken at a lodge operated by an outfitter of some sort.

I am blessed to farmer friends I can hunt with and have been hunting near Pierre since 2009, and 2009 - 2011 spoiled me, the wild birds seemed limitless.

But the past few years of drought have been tough on the birds and in turn the hunters.

2022 bird numbers are the best in several years in Pierre/Hughes County. There is public access land that has birds, you just have to do your homework to find it.

But I also splurge on one to hunt at Broken Arrow Farms lodge to put a cherry on top the sundae the last day of my trip each year. The farmers go back to work after the opening weekend, other hunters leave and the group gets to thin to hunt large areas. I usually hunt 4 days.
 

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Guys,

Pictures were taken when I hunted at Tumbleweed Lodge, a top notch outfit. I understand that some feel that hunting at lodges and/or over pen raised birds is not for them. So be it.

I am 75 years old, with limited years left to hunt and would rather see lots of birds than walk on CPR land all day for maybe a couple of shots. YMMV. :)
 

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Guys,

Pictures were taken when I hunted at Tumbleweed Lodge, a top notch outfit. I understand that some feel that hunting at lodges and/or over pen raised birds is not for them. So be it.

I am 75 years old, with limited years left to hunt and would rather see lots of birds than walk on CPR land all day for maybe a couple of shots. YMMV. :)
Never hunted Tumbleweed, but took a tour once. The wife of one of the farmers I hunt with worked in the kitchen at Tumbleweed during the season. She retired a few years ago.

Probably bagged a few birds that escaped from Tumbleweed.from

Dick Cheney hunted at Tumbleweed at least once, I saw the autographed picture in the lounge.

The farmer's wife made a quilt out of crown royal bags collected from Tumbleweed's lounge.
 

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Nothing wrong with hunting pen raised birds if you want lots of shooting and giving your dog lots of work/success. I just didn't need to drive out to SD from NY to do that.There are plenty of places to do that here and NYS stocks pen raised birds on State land for the month of October. We wanted to hunt wild birds and were led to believe from everything we read that there would be plenty of wild birds to hunt on public or public access lands. We hunted near Chamberlain and the day before the opener we went to the local office of their game dept and talked to a biologist. He suggested several places as did some of the locals. The State land had been well managed for birds with standing corn, grasses and lots of cover. It looked beautiful but there just weren't many birds. Despite a good number of hunters out, we shot one bird at this one large area and heard one more shot. One small spot that a local suggested was the best as we took one rooster out of there and flushed 2 hens. We walked for many miles and hunted hard for 5 days. I wasn't expecting to limit out in an hour or two but I wasn't expecting such few birds. One spot we hunted was near land an outfitter was using and for the first hour after shooting hours we heard a barrage of shooting then nothing until the field was re-stocked and the afternoon clients showed up for another "hunt". I can (and have) drive 1 hour from my house and have that same experience.
 

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Nothing wrong with hunting pen raised birds if you want lots of shooting and giving your dog lots of work/success. I just didn't need to drive out to SD from NY to do that.There are plenty of places to do that here and NYS stocks pen raised birds on State land for the month of October. We wanted to hunt wild birds and were led to believe from everything we read that there would be plenty of wild birds to hunt on public or public access lands. We hunted near Chamberlain and the day before the opener we went to the local office of their game dept and talked to a biologist. He suggested several places as did some of the locals. The State land had been well managed for birds with standing corn, grasses and lots of cover. It looked beautiful but there just weren't many birds. Despite a good number of hunters out, we shot one bird at this one large area and heard one more shot. One small spot that a local suggested was the best as we took one rooster out of there and flushed 2 hens. We walked for many miles and hunted hard for 5 days. I wasn't expecting to limit out in an hour or two but I wasn't expecting such few birds. One spot we hunted was near land an outfitter was using and for the first hour after shooting hours we heard a barrage of shooting then nothing until the field was re-stocked and the afternoon clients showed up for another "hunt". I can (and have) drive 1 hour from my house and have that same experience.
Last year was a bad year in many spots in SD. I can say I have seen many more birds all across the state this year.
 

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If it is a good year I see some road-kill birds and some flyers while driving. I just drove from one end of the state to the other on Hwy 90 and did not see a single pheasant, dead or alive. More dead ***** than I have ever seen, and a lot of deer carcasses, but not seeing any pheasants while driving is a bad sign for pheasants. The corn is coming out now but it's only 2 or 3 feet high in most places, and many sloughs are very low or dry. It was clearly a tough year.

I will know more when I start hunting.

Edit: Oh, for pete's sake, "koons" then.
 

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If it is a good year I see some road-kill birds and some flyers while driving. I just drove from one end of the state to the other on Hwy 90 and did not see a single pheasant, dead or alive. More dead * than I have ever seen, and a lot of deer carcasses, but not seeing any pheasants while driving is a bad sign for pheasants. The corn is coming out now but it's only 2 or 3 feet high in most places, and many sloughs are very low or dry. It was clearly a tough year.

I will know more when I start hunting.

Edit: Oh, for pete's sake, "koons" then.
Road kill sightings just depend on if when you drive through corresponds with before or after the contracted entity made their daily run or not.
 

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Preserves provide a needed purpose for the young, the old, the busy, the dog trainers, the tv show producers, those liking a group shooting experience and more.
For me, Preserves provide for people to be where I am not. (y)

At 70, I've killed enough birds and upping the talley is no reason, for me, to be at a Preserve. In fact, the group experience, especially clustered around a tailgate holds no appeal at all.
I would much rather spend the day walking with, maybe, a shot or two or twelve with one other person, maybe two.....would much rather just enjoy being there....with all the side pluses of a bird hunting trip from good and less good pointing dog work to bad weather or even blank coverts...it is better than ok, as it is real world.
And, real world, for me, is where the finest memories and experiences reside....not in numbers or fine beds and finer meals.

So, here's a tip & drip to YMMV.....and to the options we all have in discovering personal satisfaction afield.
 

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If it is a good year I see some road-kill birds and some flyers while driving. I just drove from one end of the state to the other on Hwy 90 and did not see a single pheasant, dead or alive. More dead * than I have ever seen, and a lot of deer carcasses, but not seeing any pheasants while driving is a bad sign for pheasants. The corn is coming out now but it's only 2 or 3 feet high in most places, and many sloughs are very low or dry. It was clearly a tough year.

I will know more when I start hunting.

Edit: Oh, for pete's sake, "koons" then.
I actually did see some live birds while driving on I 90 on Friday 10/14 hanging out by some cedar trees.

Driving east from Pierre to Watertown Wednesday 10/19, we saw a good many birds in the ditches.

Certainly not a record population in 2022, but more birds than in the past 3 or 4 years.
 

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I went on my first SD hunt a few weeks ago. Yes, we were on a preserve and had a GREAT time. Being from SW Michigan, I have not seen a wild pheasant or even a track in over 15 years on our farm.
It was not inexpensive, but it was worth every penny. I can't wait to go back.
As we were driving there I thought, I've heard a lot of stories of folks who went to SD (or Iowa, Kansas, ND., etc.) to pheasant hunt, but I've never heard a bad story.
 

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Gentlemen,

I was very lucky to grow up in Pa when both our Grouse and Pheasant populations were very high. We had no need to go west to pheasant hunt, our wild Pheasant population was massive, especially in Lancaster County. The upland hunters today have no idea of what they have been cheated out of. We never had to pay to hunt in that era, there was so much state and private land that as long as the PGC did their jobs, we had great wild pheasant hunting for many many year. Later when most all our wild pheasant population was gone, mostly due to rotten politics and farming changes, I helped run a regulated Shooting Grounds. Unfortunately this was a poor substitute and drew some unsportsmanlike like people. Things have change a little and the PGC is stocking some decently wild Pheasants on the northern tier SGL's and the hold over birds are actually reproducing. These wild Pheasants act more like Grouse than Pheasants, and are living along the creeks and in the forest. We hunt them along with our Grouse when the seasons over lap. Most of our sportsman living on the northern tier are very ethical and if they see you hunting in an area, will move off to a different location. I do most of my upland/Grouse hunting with just me or my hunting partner, and a couple bird dogs. I have never liked hunting in large groups, I do like the social aspect of upland/Grouse hunting, when it is done correctly, around the fire after the hunt is over, birds are cleaned and guns are stored. It has become very lonely at the end of hunt around the big rock fire pit, many of our original members are now hunting in Gods never ending forest, our younger members are still working and need to return to their homes, for work in the morning.

all the best,

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man
 
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Being from SW Michigan, I have not seen a wild pheasant or even a track in over 15 years on our farm.
If your farm doesn't have pheasants, maybe you should talk to your local Pheasants Forever Farm Bill Biologist and find out what you can do to rectify this tragic situation. Glad you could make a pilgrimage to Mecca, but all those pheasants and tourist dollars aren't there without a conscious effort by the locals.
 
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