Uplander. A quick video about what it’s all about…

Pheasant o2008 Pheasant opener in South Dakotapener in South Dakota
2008 Pheasant opener in South Dakota
A breeder I used to know was a blunt SOB. Within 30 minutes of our first meeting he cut me off mid sentence and said this: “Someday you’ll grow up and be done with that.”

We had been talking about pheasant hunting in South Dakota, and I had mentioned the numbers of birds we were killing out there. This was back in ’03, when we were seeing 4-500 pheasants a day on the ground we hunted. Limiting out wasn’t the problem. Limiting out before noon was.

But this arrogant breeder wasn’t impressed. He looked down on anyone who gauged success by the number of bird killed — especially if the birds were wild.

Back then, his attitude pissed me off. I get it now, though.

These days, even though I love to upland hunt, killing birds is far from my top priority. Feathers in hand are nice, and a dead bird every now and then does a lot to keep a bird dog interested in the game. but there’s a lot more that

Auction alert: 20 gauge Webley & Scott M700, 28″ bbls, nearly new…

WEBLEY & SCOTT Model 700 BLE, 20ga, 28" bbls
WEBLEY & SCOTT Model 700 BLE, 20ga, 28″ bbls

Here’s a chance to get a great SxS at a great price. This 20 gauge Webley & Scott Model 700 SxS is on Gunbroker.com now, and it’s being sold without a reserve. The listing ends on 7/26/2016 @ 5:16 PM.

Scott M700s are the Timex watches of SxS, and this one is ready to take whatever licking you can give it. It’s built on Anson & Deeley-style boxlock actions, one of the finest shotgun designs ever created, and it looks unused and all original.

WEBLEY & SCOTT Model 700 BLE, 20ga, 28" bbls
WEBLEY & SCOTT Model 700 BLE, 20ga, 28″ bbls

WEBLEY & SCOTT Model 700 BLE, 20ga, 28″ bbls: Up for auction is a beautiful Webley & Scott model 700 side x side shotgun. This is a 20 gauge with 28″ inch ejector barrels that are choked IC and Mod. The LOP is 14 3/4 and the DAH is 1 3/4. This gun is very light and has fantastic balance. The gun is in excellent condition with all original finish. This is a 1960’s vintage gun that is very high quality and very hard to find. You will not be disappointed with this fine shotgun.

WEBLEY & SCOTT Model 700 BLE, 20ga, 28" bbls
WEBLEY & SCOTT Model 700 BLE, 20ga, 28″ bbls

Bargain bird gun: A 12g Bernardelli Gamecock boxlock…

ernardelli Gamecock 12g SxS 28" Straight Grip
Bernardelli Gamecock 12g SxS 28″ Straight Grip

A lot of people think you have spend thousands of dollars to get decent SxS shotgun. While you certainly can do that, you can also spend a lot less. Just take a look at this Bernardelli Gamecock. It’s just $800 and an absolute steal.

I think twelve-gauge game guns like this are the most versatile shotguns you can guy. You can load them up to take pheasants or down to hunt grouse or quail. Typically, they run around 6.5lbs — so not too heavy to carry all day and not too light to shoot well or soak up recoil.

This one is on an Anson &  Deeley action, so you know it’s tough and reliable. I’m pretty sure it has ejectors, too. Overall, it look like a real nice gun at an insanely low price.

ernardelli Gamecock 12g SxS 28" Straight Grip
Bernardelli Gamecock 12g SxS 28″ Straight Grip

Bernardelli Gamecock 12g SxS 28″ Straight Grip: DT, SS, SF, 12 gauge. This shotgun seems to have spent its life in a closet. Other than normal handling wear throughout its life, she is immaculate. All numbers match, checkering, blueing, bores are gorgeous. She still opens and closes like new. I had Mike Orlen hone the chokes to IC and Mod. Mike did his normal mirror finish and perfect regulation. Documentation included. Serial # is 97596. Excellent birdgun to last a lifetime and gorgeous, original case coloring. Price: $800

 

 

This week’s good guns: Powered by Gunsinternational.com…

Ithaca Grade 2 Flues 16 Gauge SxS STUNNING 98% FACTORY CONDITION
Ithaca Grade 2 Flues 16 Gauge SxS STUNNING 98% FACTORY CONDITION

Ithaca Grade 2 Flues 16 Gauge SxS STUNNING 98% FACTORY CONDITION: SN274592 6lbs 5oz, SxS. Price: $3,950
Barrel Length: 28″
Chokes: .006/.019 IC/M
Ejectors or Extractors: extractors
Case Color: 97% vivid factory
Screws: perfect
Trigger Guard Color: 93% factory
Type: capped pistol grip/splinter forend
LOP: 14 1/8″
LOP To End Of Wood: 13 3/4″
DAH:  2 5/8″
DAC: 1 5/8
Cast: 0
Checkering Condition: excellent factory
Butt Treatment: factory plate

PARKER 28” VHE 16 GAUGE FACTORY STRAIGHT GRIP EJECTORS CHOKED MOD & IC #1 FRAME
PARKER 28” VHE 16 GAUGE FACTORY STRAIGHT GRIP EJECTORS CHOKED MOD & IC #1 FRAME

PARKER 28” VHE 16 GAUGE FACTORY STRAIGHT GRIP EJECTORS CHOKED MOD & IC #1 FRAMEVery nice 16 ga Parker VHE original straight grip with great dimensions 14 3/8 LOP 1 3/8 DAC & 2 ½ DAH and 28” barrels 2 5/8” chambers choked .015 Mod & .010 IC, all matching S/N including the stock Keith Kearcher refinished the wood and it came out beautiful. I did not have to do anything to the metal as the bluing is still good & CC still on the receiver. The bores are good but some light flaking out towards the choke but they are surface only. Price: $3150

 

B. JENKINSON DELUXE BOXLOCK 12GA S/S, BY G & S HOLLOWAY BIRMINGHAM: 28″ BBLS, 2 3/4 ORIGINAL PROOFS, CHOKED IC/1/2, RAISED GAME RIB, EJECTORS, DBL TRIGGERS, GORGEOUS HIGHLY FIGURED WALNUT, ST/SP, LOP 15″ TO BEST LEATHER PAD, 1 1/2, 2 1/2, 6LBS 11OZ, 98% ORIGINAL, VERY LITTLE USE! Price: $2,995

B. JENKINSON DELUXE BOXLOCK 12GA S/S, BY G & S HOLLOWAY BIRMINGHAM
B. JENKINSON DELUXE BOXLOCK 12GA S/S, BY G & S HOLLOWAY BIRMINGHAM
Joseph Defourny Side By Side 12 Ga Boxlock Shotgun
Joseph Defourny Side By Side 12 Ga Boxlock Shotgun

Joseph Defourny Side By Side 12 Ga Boxlock Shotgun: $1,539.99

S/N 6815
Caliber: 12 Ga
Metal Condition: Very Good
Wood Condition: Very Good
Bore Condition: Very Good
Barrels: 29.5 Inches
Triggers: Double
Stock: Checkered Pistol Grip
Fore End: Checkered
Butt Pad: 14 Inches

Husqvarna 12 gauge Deluxe SxS Boxlock Shotgun27 1/2″ full/full barrels,double triggers,extractors,scroll engraved casecolored receiver with original laquer on the casecolors,fancy wood,95% bluing,very nice. Price: $999

Husqvarna 12 gauge Deluxe SxS Boxlock Shotgun
Husqvarna 12 gauge Deluxe SxS Boxlock Shotgun

Take a dream trip to Wales with Delaney & Sons …

The Harding Shoot with Delaney & Sons, traditional shooting in Wales, tailored for Americans
The Harding Shoot with Delaney & Sons, traditional shooting in Wales, tailored for Americans

Being a sucker for history, double barrel shotguns, and all things tweedy, I’ve always wanted to shoot in the UK. If I had the time, I would definitely join Delaney & Sons this fall in Wales for their 2015 Harding Shoot.

Established in 1999, The Harding Shoot runs from November 15th to November 21st. It is based in the majestic hills of the Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales, and guests stay in the quaint town of Crickhowell, Wales, at the historic Dragon Inn.

Last fall, Sean Delaney and his wife, Liz, took over the shoot from its originator. Their goal “… is to provide like minded American hunters with hassle-free access to traditional, high quality driven  shooting — without pretense —  for a reasonable price.”

The 2015 Harding Shoot is an all-inclusive affair and accommodations, ground transport, gun hire, ammunition, visitor’s permits, and food are all included. The price: $8,500.

To join the 2015 Harding Shoot, call 717-919-5317 for more info.

Here’s more about the Harding Shoot, from Sean Delaney:

“For our trip, all you need to do is show up at Heathrow on Sunday, and the rest is sorted from there.  We provide nice vintage boxlocks, with the odd sidelock thrown in, as well as modern over unders if that is someone’s preference. If someone wants to bring their own guns, that is fine as well.  Cartridges, food, lodging, etc. are all included. Tips to the individual estate keeper and alcohol at night are not included. The food is great, but there are no black tie dinners at castles.

The locals in the town we stay in, Crickhowell, know that we are coming and stop in throughout the week to say hello. If you go in a shop, the proprietor will likely say, “I heard the Americans were coming this week, how’s the sport been?”.

As far as the hunting is concerned, we are trying to drive home the point that driven shooting is a team endeavor, and a lot of people work very hard to present high birds to the guns. The head keeper, beaters, dog handlers and pickers up act in coordination with the guns to bring the bag home to be processed and sent to market. On many estates, the shoot lunch is a lavish affair held in a shoot lodge, but the beaters, handlers, and pickers up eat a boxed lunch in the parking lot. We have a much more egalitarian (American?) set up, inasmuch as well all eat together in a barn or an outbuilding. I think that this is a great way to really immerse the hunters in the tradition of the sport.

The other thing that we provide is hunting diversity. First, we hunt five estates over five days.  The larger estates could entertain a team for a whole week, but ours are generally smaller.  One of the shoots is almost entirely private; they only let one day a year, to us.  We get to see different terrain and meet different people every day. Second, we provide diversity of species. Every shoot in the UK has pheasants, and many have partridge as well.  But we add duck and woodcock to the bag, which is fairly unique.”

Watch Tom Brokaw’s Opening Day: The kickoff of a SD pheasant season…

Ah – opening day in South Dakota. I used to look forward to it every year. Tom Brokaw’s documentary Opening Day explores the economic, social, cultural, and emotional impact this day has on people, families, and businesses throughout the state. It’s a great show, and I suggest checking out the whole thing.

Tom Brokaw's Opening Day, chronicling the impact of pheasant hunting on SD
Click to watch Tom Brokaw’s Opening Day, a documentary chronicling the impact of pheasant hunting on SD

We kicked butt in 2014. Thank you for making it an awesome year.

See how we did in 2014.
Cool stats. Fun graphics. Click to see how we Dogs & Doubles did in 2014.

It’s been another great year for Dogs & Doubles. Thank you for your support.

I started this blog back in February, 201o and finished that year with 31,885 visits. Last year was quite a bit better. We finished 2014 with 219,374 visits. If you like stats and infographics, click here to find out more about how my blog did in 2014.

Since 2010, I’ve changed companies twice, married, bought a home, lost Puck (my first great bird dog), added Lexi, picked up some nice doubles, and hunted all over the place.

I’m going to try and do more with Dogs and Doubles in 2015. I’d like to get my total visits above 300,000 for the year. That’s a big jump, so Pplease keep checking on a regular basis to see what Lexi and I have going on – and to see all sorts of great side-by-side and over-under shotguns.

Will the birds be back? South Dakota’s 2014 pheasant opener…

Pheasant o2008 Pheasant opener in South Dakotapener in South Dakota
2008 Pheasant opener in South Dakota

Will the birds be back? That’s the big questions thousands of hunters will be asking as they head  today for the opening of South Dakota’s 2014 pheasant hunting season.

Last year’s opener was a bust for a lot of people. Back-to-back years of poor rain and thousands of acres of loss CRP took their toll on gamebirds throughout the state. This raised concern across the state and throughout the country: Was South Dakota dying? It sure looked like it.

I hear much of SD has had plenty of rain this year, and early reports from the state say bird numbers are better (even though numbers are still way down from the 10-year average).

South Dakota used to be the best place in the world to hunt wild ringneck pheasants. I hope it regains that title this season — and holds onto it in the years to come.

BTW: If you’re heading out for the opener, please let me know how you do. Stay safe — and I hope you see a ton of birds.

A great look at pheasant shooting in North Yorkshire, UK….

Good friends, good dogs, plenty of birds. That’s all it takes for a nice day in the field – in the UK or over here.

This is one of the best produced shooting videos I’ve seen on Youtube. It was shot by Jonathan M McGee, a man who knows shooting as well as he knows cameras.

Pheasant Hunting in North Yorkshire, UK.
Pheasant Hunting in North Yorkshire, UK. Image from Jonathan M McGee Photography.

The Dakotas are dying…

This tree line used to hold flocks of pheasants. I wonder if it's still there.
This tree line used to hold flocks of pheasants. I wonder if it’s still there.

My first trip to South Dakota was in 2000. I was stunned by the number of pheasants, grouse, and partridge I saw. In four hours of hunting we moved hundreds of wild birds – hundreds. I wonder if anyone will have a similar experience this fall.

Pheasant numbers are falling across South Dakota. While complex forces are behind this, the result is easy to understand: less habitat = less game. Across the upper mid west, thousands of acres of habitat are being dug up, dried out, and plowed under. Every time it happens, the future for wild gamebirds grows bleaker.

I’m not sure when The American Prospect published this piece, but I encourage you to click through and read all of it.

Plowed Under

By Jocelyn C. Zuckerman

Across the northern plains, native grassland is being turned into farmland at a rate not seen since the 1920s. The environmental consequences could be disastrous.

The Dakota's are Dying, quote from Plowed Under, The American Prospect
The Dakota’s are Dying, quote from Plowed Under, The American Prospect

“On a rainy Monday in mid-October, six middle-aged men in denim and camouflage sat bent over coffee mugs at the Java River Café, in Montevideo, Minnesota. With its home-baked muffins and free Wi-Fi, the Main Street establishment serves as communal living room for the town of 5,000, but the mood on that gray morning wasn’t particularly convivial. The state’s pheasant season had opened two days earlier, and the hunters gathered at the café for what should have been a brag fest were mostly shaking their heads. “You didn’t see anybody out there who was over the limit, did you?” a guy in a baseball cap asked with obvious sarcasm, to sad chuckles all around. The region’s game birds are in serious trouble.

The region’s game birds are in serious trouble. Driving across South Dakota the following afternoon with the radio on, I learned that Governor Dennis Daugaard had just announced an emergency pheasant-habitat summit. Last summer, the state’s Department of Game, Fish and Parks recorded a 64 percent decline in the number of pheasant broods from the already record low levels of 2012. Though a rainy nesting season and an early fall blizzard hadn’t helped matters, the region’s problems involve more than inclement weather—and extend far beyond the birds…”

Please read the entire piece now.

Read more about what’s going on in SD and across the upper midwest at these links:

South Dakota is Dying

You’re Killing off SD’s Pheasants. See how.

Habitat in crisis: Conservationists worry about factors driving grassland conversion

South Dakota is Dying: Here’s Your Chance to Help…

Pheasants Forever
Pheasants Forever

If you’ve read my posts about disappearing gamebird habitat in South Dakota (South Dakota is Dying & You’re Killing off SD’s Pheasants. See how.), you know that pheasants, ducks, and other wildlife are facing tough times across the state.

To try and tackle this problem, South Dakota’s Governor Dennis Daugaard is holding a Governor’s Pheasant Habitat Summit on December 6, 2013 in Huron. Find out more about it below, and if you care about what’s happening in SD, please attend. Unless action is taken soon, South Dakota will loose many more acres of prime habitat. As it does, more and more pheasants — and the great times, cherished memories, and big dollars they bring — will disappear.

Governor’s Pheasant Habitat Summit
PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard announced today that he will host a Pheasant Habitat Summit to discuss the future of pheasant habitat and hunting in South Dakota. The summit is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 6, at the Crossroads Convention Center in Huron.

“Pheasant hunting is extremely important to the culture and economic well-being of South Dakota,” Gov. Daugaard said. “South Dakota’s pheasant hunting experience is second to none and draws hunters from around the world. We want to do what we can now to ensure these opportunities for future generations.

The Governor’s Pheasant Habitat Summit will provide a forum for landowners, sportsmen, members of the tourism industry and other interested individuals to learn about the current state of pheasant habitat in South Dakota. The summit will include panel discussions and public input as a means to explore ways to maintain and enhance pheasant habitat.

The Governor’s Pheasant Summit is open to the public and pre-registration is required. Individuals may register online here. Information and registration is also available by calling the Game, Fish and Parks Department at 605.773.3387.

Save South Dakota: CREP – a great way to help the pheasants…

In South Dakota, CREP focuses on improving water quality, reducing soil erosion, and providing flood control all while creating additional pheasant nesting habitat and pheasant hunting access in the James River Watershed.
In South Dakota, CREP focuses on improving water quality, reducing soil erosion, and providing flood control all while creating additional pheasant nesting habitat and pheasant hunting access in the James River Watershed.

Even as South Dakota loses thousands of acres of pheasant cover (South Dakota is Dying), there iss some good news to report. The states CREP program is conserving some land upland birds and other wildlife. The total amount of acreage preserved is small, but every bit helps.

The final part of the Capital Journal’s excellent series on habit loss in South Dakota’s talks about the state’s CREP program , and points out some ways it is helping hunters and wildlife.

CREP convinces some landowners to keep land in CRP – and assures hunter access. By Lance Nixon.

“Even as the total number of habitat acres continues to decline in South Dakota, there are success stories of programs helping to stem the tide of conversion of grassland back to crops.

The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks accepted the first enrollments in 2010 in a plan that makes it more attractive for producers in a designated area to keep land in the federal Conservation Reserve Program. The program, called CREP, or Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, adds a portion of state dollars to enhance the payments landowners receive.

And hunters who prefer the flat fields of the James River Valley are among those who benefit, since the program requires that landowners allow hunter/angler access as part of the deal…”

Read the entire piece now.

 

Save South Dakota: The crop insurance connection…

It's pretty simple: Loose the cover, loose the birds.
It’s pretty simple: Loose the cover, loose the birds.

If you read this post from yesterday, you know that you’re paying for a federal program that’s having a devastating impact on pheasants and other animals  across the midwest. The federal Crop Insurance Program encourages farmers to plant land they used to set aside for conservation, and as more acreage goes under the plow, there are less area where wildlife can thrive.

Part four of the Capital Journal’s excellent series on habit loss in South Dakota’s talks about this program, and lays out some pretty stunning info on what lies ahead for the state.

The Crop Insurance Connection by Allison Jarrell

“When Lyle Perman was younger, in a different era in farm policy, he and his father converted some of their grassland into crops.

Perman, now a Walworth County rancher and crop insurance agent, recalls government agencies assisting them with designing drainage ditches and blowing holes in wetlands.

“You have to understand that this is the environment that a lot of us were raised in,” Perman said. “We were raised draining wetlands. Farming and erosion were just part of the business. You didn’t like it, but it was just part of what you did.”

That grassland conversion is part of what made South Dakota what it is today. But researchers, ranchers and conservation organizations have found that high commodity prices are driving today’s farmers to plow land that yesterday’s farmers deemed unsuitable for planting….”

Read the entire piece now: The Crop Insurance Connection. Then ask yourself  a simple question: Is this something you and I should be paying for?

You’re killing off South Dakota’s pheasants. See how…

Wild male ringnecked pheasant
Wild male ringnecked pheasant

If you read my post South Dakota is Dying, you know habit loss is leading to decline in pheasants and other wildlife species throughout the state. But here’s something you may not know:  Crop Insurance Programs are behind some of this habitat loss. And who pays for these Crop Insurance Programs? You, me, and anyone else who pays taxes to the United States Federal Government.

A couple day ago, Bloomberg.com posted this eye-opening piece about the impact that Crop Insurance Programs are having across South Dakota and the western US. Check it out and learn more about how you’re paying to decimate wildlife numbers across America:

Crop Insurance Hazards Shown in Lost Pheasants in Grasslands, By Alan Bjerga

10/20/2013: “The hunters tramp through neck-high prairie grass with a pair of golden retrievers named Moe and Buck, flushing out birds in a freezing autumn drizzle.

When one flutters from the South Dakota grassland, Dick Schmith, 58, calls “rooster!” Guns rise and a long-tailed pheasant drops. Moe bounds through the meadow to pick it up.

Such successes, key to the state’s pheasant season, are getting harder to come by. Bird numbers are down almost two-thirds from last year.

A number of reasons are cited for the decline…”

Learn the reasons and find out what’s behind them. Read the entire piece now: Crop Insurance Hazards Shown in Lost Pheasants in Grasslands

To learn more about the farming situation across America, check out Bloomberg’s excellent series Doomed Crops. Record Profits.

Habitat in crisis: Hunters: Disappearing CRP acres threaten South Dakota way of life…

Now disappearing in SD-- pheasant cover....
Now disappearing in SD– pheasant cover….

I don’t remember anything unusual about South Dakota’s 2007 pheasant opener- blue skies, great dogs, memories made with family & friends, and hundred and hundreds of wild pheasants. But even though I didn’t know it, 2007 was a turning point for the state. In that year, the amount of land set aside by South Dakota farmers in the federal government’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) peaked at 1,600,000 acres.

Today, South Dakota has around 1,000,000 acres in the CRP, and the state is on track to have just 600,000 acres in it by 2020. This loss is on top of the thousands of acres of shelter belts, wet areas, and other important wildlife regions that have gone under the plow in the last few years.

In an excellent five-part series, the Capital Journal in Pierre, SD, reports on what changes like these will mean for the state. Here’s part 3 of 5:

Habitat in crisis: Hunters: Disappearing CRP acres threaten South Dakota way of life. By Justin Joiner

The clutch was touchy in the bus and the suspension almost nonexistent as a group of dove hunters scraped across the prairie into the middle of Darrel Reinke’s land northeast of Pierre.

The destination was a tract of land where grassland and grainfields stood side by side – good habitat for hunting doves, or, come the third weekend in October, pheasants. But as the sun sank low over the Great Plains that September day, the conversation turned somber. Some of the hunters on the bus worried that the sport they love, and South Dakota’s reputation as the pre-eminent state for upland game hunting, may be in jeopardy because habitat such as this is becoming harder to find…

If you care about South Dakota, read the entire piece now.

Saving South Dakota: A crisis in grassland conversion…

Fort Pierre National Grassland, South Dakota
Fort Pierre National Grassland, South Dakota

If you read my post South Dakota is Dying and would like find out more about what’s happening in South Dakota, I suggest you read this excellent five-part series in the Capital Journal in Pierre, SD. It outlines what’s at stake, what’s changing across the state, and what may lie ahead for pheasant and other birds species in South Dakota. Here’s part 2 of 5:

Habitat in crisis: Conservationists worry about factors driving grassland conversion. By Allison Jarrell, Thu Oct 24, 2013.

The story of South Dakota since the 1862 Homestead Act has been in large part the story of converting grassland into cropland. It’s nothing new to sow wheat or corn where there once was grass. Drive along any East River highway and you’ll spot rocks plucked from beds of prairie grass or water draining from rich, dark soil.

But scientists studying satellite images of the western edge of the Corn Belt say something different is happening now…

Read all of this piece now.

Save South Dakota: A tradition continues, but for how long?

SD Opening Day 2011, Heading Out
SD Opening Day 2011, Heading Out

Thank you to everyone who checked out my post South Dakota is Dying. It’s a sad story, but here’s the first step in doing something about it: Learn more about just what’s happening in SD and how this is hurting pheasants and all wild animal populations.

The Capital Journal in Pierre, SD, published an excellent five-part series on what is at stake, what is changing, and what may lie ahead for pheasant and other birds species across the state. If you care about what’s happening in South Dakota, I encourage you to check it out. Here’s part 1 of 5:

Habitat in crisis: South Dakota’s pheasant hunting tradition continues. By Lance Nixon

The South Dakota Department of Tourism doesn’t pay Frank Beck for advertising South Dakota attractions, but it might as well.

Beck’s Nebraska license plates proclaim “LK OAHE” to anyone else on the road.

“People ask me, ‘What does that mean?’ I tell them, ‘Well, there’s this lake in South Dakota that’s called Oahe,’” Beck says. Then if they have the time, Beck tells them about the hunting and fishing…

Read the entire piece now. Learn more about what’s happening in South Dakota.

South Dakota is dying…

South Dakota, 2011. The last good year?
South Dakota, 2011. The last good year?

This is a sad story. It kicks me in the gut and makes me want to scream.

Right now, one of the greatest places on earth to hunt wild game birds is dying.

Across South Dakota, the double blow of drought and vanishing cover is wiping out the pheasants, sharptails, and huns. I’m sure it’s having the same impact on waterfowl and other wildlife, too.

This report confirms my fears. It’s a first-hand account from a friend and one of the most disheartening things I’ve read in a long time.

October 26, Miller, SD — The pheasants are gone. We have hunted three farms that total over 22 sections for more than 20 years. There were 8 of us this year, all experienced hunters and two very good dogs, my 5 year old Lab and a 7 year old Golden. In 4 days of hunting from noon until dark we killed a grand total of 12 pheasants. I shot 3 shells and killed two. Two of the hunters did not get one bird. We talked to a group of 10 hunters from Ohio and Indiana Wednesday who hunted for three hours Tuesday before they even saw one hen. We were skunked Wednesday! We hunted from noon until dark and saw only two roosters and five hens. We did not see one Sharptail or Chicken the entire week.

Until this year there were a total of 4 sections on the farms in CRP. They are all in crops now. Five years ago there were no soybeans anywhere due to the low moisture of the soil. This year with new genetic modified seeds, there were five sections planted in beans. Of course the harvested fields looked like a paved parking lot and there were no birds anywhere around them.

To give you a perspective, one of our group has kept a detailed hunting log of every hunt, every day, for the past 21 years. Every year until last year the group averaged over 13 birds per hunter every year. Five years ago, in the third week of the season, 12 of us killed 36 pheasants in less than two and a half hours on the same farms.

I doubt if I will ever go back to hunt pheasants in South Dakota. Every hunter that we talked with this week had very similar experiences. We did not talk to anyone who had a good hunt. They have done the same things that essentially destroyed the pheasant hunting in Iowa.

Old England vs. New England…they sure look a lot alike…

Puck and I are back from hunting. We had a great time. While I download some pics and pull together my thoughts, check out this great video of rough shooting in the UK.

Rough shooting is a lot like the kind of upland hunting we do here in the US. Check out the video to see what I mean, and to see how similar the countryside in Old England is to the stuff we see in New England.

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