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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wondering if there were any reports out of South Dakota this weekend? Number of birds seen and hunting conditions - lots of standing corn, snow etc.
Headin out in a little over a week - and kind of wanted to know what to expect. Estimates are numbers down 26+% over past two years but estimates are just that....
Thanks in advance
Steve G
 

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You will never get a true estimate because the state wants the tourism. The area I hunt in is way down from last year. Other areas are way up. I have never seen so many birds in the central part of the state as I did this spring and summer. It all depends on where you are going.

Most of the crops are still in, so that can be a factor. The snow all melted this weekend and we should not have any by next weekend. The snow was mainly in the west. West and East of the Missouri River are very different.

Good luck, you should find enough birds throughout the state to keep you coming back.
 

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SD, we are scheduled to go out to SD 11-7 for the 1st trip and base out of Arlington and hunt north and east of there-how should that area be-is it close to where you hunt? The bird count for Brookings and Watertown indicates a 40% decline but the hotel owner tells me there was a late hatch too? Any comments appreciated. Thx.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well call friend of mine up there and he said that the crops are only 10% -15% out and has been really wet - and the snow last week made it really greasy. From what he has seen, if the weather cooperates and they can hit the crops pretty hard the next two weekends could be pretty good. He says he has seen a good amount of birds in his travels out in cattle country. But we will have to see - May not be what it has been in past years but still better than 10 year average. I think it will really depend on the crops - if corn is out may be pretty good - if lots of standing corn not so much. We look to be in Jerald County and up near Huron... Again I think we will still see more birds in a down year than what we have seen in a decade here in Illinois.
 

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I just got back from the Miller area. I'd say that less than 10% of the corn was cut as well as lots of beans and sunflowers still standing. That being said, if we would have shot better everyone would have gotten 2X their limit. We had to work harder since the birds were not concentrated as much as if the crops were out. Battalion strength drives would have been helpful in those 1/2 mile wide corn fields. In our area the corn still was at 40% moisture and could use a few weeks of dry weather. For my party, the fields were muddy enough that it stuck to your boots but not so bad that you grew in height. All in all, still plenty of birds, and once the crops are out hunting will be even better. Pray for dry weather. FWIW GJ
 

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Crops still in, and very wet in our area (Aberdeen). Hard to walk the fields because of the mud as was mentioned earlier. Ended up road hunting...two of us came back Saturday with three pheasant and three nice mallards. Never road hunted ducks before, but there are a lot of them sitting in the ditches and the low spots (filled with water) on the edges of the fields.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, spent 4 lovely days in South Dakota and while bird numbers may be down, on private land (wild birds) we saw our share. Would have seen more but Lots and Lots of Corn and soybeans still in field. Weather was horrible Thursday and Friday but beautiful on Sat and Sunday. Public Land was another story...Did that on Thursday and didn't see that many birds but weather was so bad I don't really blame them for not flying :). Parts of our group saw many birds further west that we were (near DeSmet and Huron) but the birds were there if weather cooperates.

One funny story we accidently ran into the Governor (Mike Rounds) while eating lunch in DeSmet and he seems like a very nice man. Said we should come back for a late season hunt as maybe the weather will push back some of the better dates to later in the year..
He might be on to something....
 
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