Good times on the prairie.

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Good times on the prairie.

Postby Willie T » Mon Nov 12, 2018 2:33 pm

I just got back from hunting the prairie for 14 days. It was a good trip. We split things up with about half waterfowl and half upland and managed to get on em each day. As usual I took very few pics and was more interested in living in the moment but I took a few I will post that are representative of how we spent our time. The PP and I made the trip with my longtime hunting buddy and his 7 year old GSP.
Overall numbers are down from the long term for the upland birds but a mild winter and good spring rains were favorable for a good hatch and things are much improved. If we are fortunate enough to have another winter with below average snowfall and good spring rain things are poised to bounce back in a big way. Overall the partridge seem to be doing really well and we were able to get into them pretty good when we targeted them. Because of the lower populations of upland birds each day we ran the dogs but capped our harvest to two, for the evening meal.
Here are a few pics from some of our exploits that give a good feel for what we got into.
IMG_2545.JPG

This was our first hunt of the trip. The dogs were on the ground for about 2 1/2 hours. Temp was 34 degrees with 15-25 mph south east wind and wet snow. Per Garmin the GSP logged 11.7 miles and the Pudelpointer 14.9 miles. These numbers are not as telling as they appear. The GSP is seasoned and spends the majority of his time in the most likely cover. The PP is two and leaves no stone unturned. 10 pheasant were moved. 7 pointed and 3 flushed wild. Half and half roosters to hens. In all the PP got 14 points that morning. I shot the first rooster of the day at the culmination of a spirited track resulting in three points before the PP finally pinned him at about 25 yards resulting in an easy 30 yard shot that cricket delivered to hand. The second came with the PP pointing a pair of roosters that flushed at 35 yards as we approached. My buddy took a crack at 40 yards but missed(which rarely happens) and I connected on the 45 yard backup shot.
IMG_2547.JPG

This pic is pretty self explanatory. Decoying waterfowl in a harvested bean field.
IMG_2546.JPG

I took this photo to bust my buddies chops while hunting in wheat stubble. We strive to only take drakes. Any harvested hen costs the shooter $10 which goes in the hen pot. At the end of the trip the pot is donated to delta waterfowl.

Follow up post coming
Last edited by Willie T on Mon Nov 12, 2018 7:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Good times on the prairie.

Postby Willie T » Mon Nov 12, 2018 2:58 pm

IMG_2549.JPG

Another waterfowl hunt. It was cold with a high of 13 degrees and 20-30 mph north west wind and snow. The birds were feeding in a field a half mile away that we did not have permission to hunt so the two of us set up near the flight line from the roost and ran traffic to decoy some of the birds enroute to the field feed.
IMG_2548.JPG

The sharpie is my favorite bird and this was a good hunt. The GSP was on fire. He first pointed a covey of around 20 birds that flushed as we approached at about 120 yards. Then pointed four that flushed at about 100 yards. The PP had this one pointed at about 30 yards and allowed me to circle wide to within 35 yards before flushing and giving me a 45 yard shot. The GSP follows that up by quickly pointing another single that my partner shot on the flush at 25 yards to anchor the evening dinner.
IMG_2550.JPG

Here are the two dogs admiring their work in 13 degrees and a 20 mph WNW wind. I regret that I failed to take any pics of of partridge when we hunted them.
Good times on the prairie!
Willie
Last edited by Willie T on Mon Nov 12, 2018 7:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Good times on the prairie.

Postby Willie T » Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:54 pm

Deleted an inadvertent post
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Re: Good times on the prairie.

Postby J D Patrick » Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:23 am

looks like a great time
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Re: Good times on the prairie.

Postby AverageGuy » Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:39 am

Great Trip and Report Willie T. Enjoyed following along. Spud and I arrived in SD yesterday ... Did you hit KS on the way home?
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Re: Good times on the prairie.

Postby Willie T » Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:13 am

AG, We were there the opening weekend. Habitat was in good shape. There were a lot of bird hunters and dogs there. Good luck in South Dakota. The weather was pretty brisk when we came through with a light snow on the ground. Spud should enjoy the conditions.
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Re: Good times on the prairie.

Postby AverageGuy » Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:21 am

Willie T wrote:We were there the opening weekend. Habitat was in good shape. There were a lot of bird hunters and dogs there.


Kansas public lands get severely overhunted. Those who only hunt a couple of weekends a year think it is great. Those of us who hunt through the end of January wish for the days before over promotion by KS Dept of Tourism and dwindling opportunities in other states brought the huge herd descending in numbers that no wild bird populations can withstand.
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Re: Good times on the prairie.

Postby ForestDump » Tue Nov 13, 2018 11:14 pm

Awesome looks like a fun hunt sharpies are on my todo list soon.
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Re: Good times on the prairie.

Postby Willie T » Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:08 am

AverageGuy wrote:
Willie T wrote:We were there the opening weekend. Habitat was in good shape. There were a lot of bird hunters and dogs there.


Kansas public lands get severely overhunted. Those who only hunt a couple of weekends a year think it is great. Those of us who hunt through the end of January wish for the days before over promotion by KS Dept of Tourism and dwindling opportunities in other states brought the huge herd descending in numbers that no wild bird populations can withstand.


Based on the numbers present for the opener, I agree. I'm sure the opening weekend was a windfall for some of the local merchants, who were very accommodating while we were there.
I think as sportsmen, we need to shoulder some of answer to the overhunting. Killing birds is the easy part. A good dog will find them, even if there is only one... The hard part is listening to the little voice inside and taking your foot off the gas when it makes sense....

ForestDump wrote:Awesome looks like a fun hunt sharpies are on my todo list soon.

Forest, IMO once they have been hunted, the Sharpie may be the most wiley upland gamebird on the prairie. Their first defense mechanism is flight. They are masters at putting danger in the rear view mirror. After the flush, it's not uncommon for them to coast a mile or more before putting back down.
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Re: Good times on the prairie.

Postby AverageGuy » Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:05 am

Willie T wrote:
AverageGuy wrote:
Willie T wrote:We were there the opening weekend. Habitat was in good shape. There were a lot of bird hunters and dogs there.


Kansas public lands get severely overhunted. Those who only hunt a couple of weekends a year think it is great. Those of us who hunt through the end of January wish for the days before over promotion by KS Dept of Tourism and dwindling opportunities in other states brought the huge herd descending in numbers that no wild bird populations can withstand.


Based on the numbers present for the opener, I agree. I'm sure the opening weekend was a windfall for some of the local merchants, who were very accommodating while we were there.
I think as sportsmen, we need to shoulder some of answer to the overhunting. Killing birds is the easy part. A good dog will find them, even if there is only one... The hard part is listening to the little voice inside and taking your foot off the gas when it makes sense....

ForestDump wrote:Awesome looks like a fun hunt sharpies are on my todo list soon.

Forest, IMO once they have been hunted, the Sharpie may be the most wiley upland gamebird on the prairie. Their first defense mechanism is flight. They are masters at putting danger in the rear view mirror. After the flush, it's not uncommon for them to coast a mile or more before putting back down.
Willie


Saw a post of a guy saying they took two limits of quail off of public land opening day. Thought to myself, I hope you found 8 big coveys to do it (and they might have), but more likely some naive early season coveys got spread out in some open grass and their numbers cut in half. The ability to shoot only the roosters coupled with their survival skills allows them to take care of themselves. The quail, not nearly the case.

I'm with ya on the sharptails. I think the Prairie Chickens are even tougher. Either one, once they have had their first encounter with dogs and shotguns for the season become very difficult to hold long enough to walk to the dog and flush within range. Seems a warm afternoon with low wind after the birds have fed and are loafing is when that happens most often for us. Trophy birds both of them. Love the challenge. Feels like the ultimate freedom to walk God's Prairie letting your dog roll out ahead. The moments of walking to a point and grassing a bird are earned and treasured.
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Re: Good times on the prairie.

Postby Drahthaar1108 » Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:51 pm

Awesome hunt. Forrest
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Re: Good times on the prairie.

Postby RowdyGSP » Sat Nov 17, 2018 10:44 pm

Good times is an understatement... Hell, anytime on the prairie is a damned good time I'll say. Nice pics and dogs. Thanks for sharing.
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