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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm an Iowa Farmer. I've hunted Pheasants my whole life, but never sharptails. I'm not even sure my Wire Hair will know what they are. I'm making a trip up to your great state in mid October and would like some advice as to how best to hunt these birds. Time of day, terrain, what to look for etc. I will be hunting in the Bowman area for three days.

Any advice or suggestion would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Come in mid-September, grouse hunting is much better in warmer weather. When its cool, they are very wild.
 

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Sharptails are spooky. They like short grass and that makes it hard to "sneak" up on them. Work off ridges and off of heavier cover, or on the edges of food plots. They'll be by the gravel roads very early and late in the day.
 

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I have a lot of relatives who farm in northern IA, what part of the state are you from? My relatives have been telling me the pheasant forecast for down there is looking even better than last years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Matt:

Spencer -Okoboji Iowa area. NW Iowa. Numbers are spotty. Great Concentration of birds some places and then others very little. It all depends on how much rain we get in certain parts of the county during the hatch. There are birds here, but the nice thing at least as I see it is that you have to HUNT these birds. Not pen-raised and not so many wild birds that you take them for granted.

Each bird is a trophy and should be treated as such.

Safe Hunting.
 

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You could also go late season for sharptails. I do not hunt them on purpose but pick up an occassional bird while scouting or walking to and from waterfowl spots. I did notice last year when the snow was on the ground the birds held very tight. However getting on land could be tough because of deer season. It seems the later in the year it gets the better they hold. Sounds strange but that is my observation.
 

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I.F.- you'll love grouse hunting and your pup will do fine. When it's hot, check the shade-bullberry bushes (silver leaves-thorns-red berrys), or one row shelterbelts. If your pup will work the down wind side, you walk the other, as grouse almost always take off into the wind. No trees, they will probably be on the hill tops in the breeze. If there is alfalfa around, or cut CRP that regrew, check it out, as they go for the green and the hoppers and crickets. Later season, stubble in the morn and evening. If there is sunflower stubble around, it is a sure bet late in the season. Grouse are gentlemen, they die from a few pellets, and don't run when they hit the ground, unlike those scurlous roosters. But they will fly for miles when flushed later in the season. The little buggers even migrate south when it gets too cold.

How's the crop look there? Our wheat looks great, the beans got blasted with hail, and we are WET.
 

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Dick,

I haven't hunted sharpies yet but plan on going to SD on opener. I have an English pointer that has an excellent nose, and was wondering... do sharpies tend to hold well for dogs or do the just flush wild? On days with a good breeze my pointer will lock on the birds usually about 15 yds from them so she is never right on top of them. Just curious because if she were to go on point say 75 yds from me will the birds tend to hold long enough for me to approach them?
Thanks, FACE
 

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Face
I hunt sharptail with my shorthairs they hold good early in the season but as the season progresses they tend to flush wild and are harder for the dogs to handle. One thing about them is that there is frequently a straggler or two so if you get a wild flush get to the area of the flush and expect to see some more birds. Good luck, bring water with you and water your dog every 30 minutes there is no water out there. I use a belt the carries 4 water bottles like you mount on bicycles.
 

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Face, bm is right, early they hold better. It is weather related also, as warm days make them hold. As Bob said often when you get the flush, there are more holding tight. I've had the dog retreive two birds, and then have more flush from the same location. When you get a rise walk in circles a few times at that location-might kick up a late one. If you can mark them down after the flush you'll often get a second crack as they don't fly that far early in the season. Some of the best hunting I've had for grouse is late in the day in Dec. They plow down in soft snow for the night and don't want to move. Only 1 1/2 weeks to go! Everytime my lab walks by the gun cabinet now, he wags his tail. He can smell it in the air. I'm ready. Let us know how it went in SD.
 

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Lets be honest here. Many a North Dakotan hunts sharptails just like many Minnesotans hunt ruffed grouse and most resident South Dakotans hunt pheasant .....

Road Hunt

But, it is not as bad as it sounds ... Sharptails rarely sit in the road ditch like a pheasant. Most do not get popped close to the truck.

Look for grouse heads peaking over grain stubble and alfalfa in the fields off to the side of the road. Find the edges
prairie - grain
grain - alfalfa
grain - sunflower

A single grouse will often spook in a field and fly off. Where you see one, there are probably more.

Once you get out of the truck - you may be walking the rest of the day.
 

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Face what bloodlines is your pointer out of? How does it range? is it biddable? I'm thinking about getting a english pointer pup in the near future. I'm just tryin to research it and hoefully geet one that would also make a good ruffed grouse dog
 

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Bobm
My pointer is now 6 yrs old and I have had her now for 2 full years. A friend of mine (who has a back injury that prevents him from hunting and shooting) trained her from a pup always in tall grass to keep her working somewhat close however she can run large if I allow her too otherwise in the open she stays within 75-100 yds. And when she goes on point, let me tell you, she will not move a muscle until I release her! She is one hell of a ruffed grouse dog too, she works around 40 yds so she can keep an eye on me and I use a Tri-tronics sport 65 beeper collar to keep an"eye" on her.
She is very well trained by voice commands, hand signals, and whistle.
Oh, before I forget, she is from the Elhew and Miller lines. You may have heard about CH ELHEW STRIKE and field trial hall of famer CH MILLER"S CHIEF. Her grandparents. She has never been bred before however by talking with my vet, he recomends now getting her fixed now due to her age and pregnancy now could cause problems. Probably this spring. If you are interested I can try to put you in touch with the breeder she came from to see if he is still available. She came from Excelsior,Mn. I know I sure would like to find another from her bloodline because she has the best temperment I could have asked for! A real family dog and good hunter. I took her with me last year to AZ for some desert quail and she really impressed me for never having seen or smelled one! I just hope she has plenty of good years left in her! I think she does because of her temperment, and I don't hunt her so hard that she would wear out prematurly.
 

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Really sounds like a great dog, I have 6 shorthairs out of Rawhide Clown good hunters but the field trial bloodlines make them hard to control. I've been look hard at the Elhew line and like what I see. Are there many grouse in MN this year? I doubt I'll get the chance but have been thinking about it. Watch AZ on hot days rattlesnakes are bad in some areas, and they are the big Diamond backs like we have down here in Georgia. I would like the name of the breeder if he specializes in grouse dogs. I'm looking for a closer working line of dogs. My dogs normal range is 100 yards plus, sometimes a lot more. I can keep em in closer but it takes some work. Its my own dumb fault for breeding to a fieldtrial champion I should of know better. But they do hunt like the devil.
 

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The results of my first ever hunt in the Pierre National Grasslands.
Three days, two guys, two dogs, fourteen prarie chicken, and four sharptails. Also sixty doves. Best part of the trip.......fantastic dog work!!! As seen in middle pic where my Hannah points the last bird of the trip[/img]
 

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That looks like it was a great time. I need to get out with my dad and his short hair and shoot some birds over a point again. I get caught up in waterfowl hunting and forget what upland is every now and again.
 

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Great pictures, Fetch this looks like fun but its really not so you guys forget about it and keep fighting over those ducks! Leave this "hard work" to us professionals. Did you take those pictures with a digital camera?
 

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Bobm,
Took these pics with my Canon Powershot S45. After using this now for a few months I will never use film again!! Bought a high capacity compact flash card and that should be all I need. Downloads to my pc quickly and when I'm done clear the card so all pics can be put on cd if desired. This hunt has forever hooked me on the prairie grouse hunting now! Definately a lot less work and not as hard on the body as pheasant hunting. I could have watched my dog work like she did in the open prairie grassland all day and not even care about shooting a bird. Too bad I can't take a sabbatical from work say from now till Jan!!! Don't think the wife would like it if I were gone hunting while she supported our son and me!! :-?
Anyway I'm definatly planning on it again next year so if there are any takers let me know and we could hook up for a great hunt! Or if anyone wanted to go some upcoming weekend for a few days also let me know! I just might be able to sneek out one more time! HeHeHe! :D
 

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I have to get a digital camera, hunting with pointers sure is addictive. I would love to show you mine. Your dog really looks great in the picture she is pointing in. I wouldn't walk down to the end of my driveway to shoot a pheasant if my dog wasn't pointing it. Is there many ruffs in MN this year?
 
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