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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Do any of you hunt pheasants alone?

I am a veteran of pheasant and waterfowl hunting. This year I will be going to N.D. with just myself and my chocolate lab. In the past, I have tried to hunt small corner sections or single line fences but the birds still run out the other end. Can some of you who have hunted Pheasant alone share some stories or tips on how you have hunted alone and been successful?

SJB
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I can help out on this one...I usually go one trip out west a year by myself. Usually late in the year when all my friends have put away there shot guns for the year and are busy watching the Vikings choke off another season...Sorry, still bitter from 98!

What I do is follow the dog and let her be my guide...Go slow...Work the outside edges of cover...Crp, sloughs, etc...Most of the birds tend to be on the outer edge of cover anyway! Zig Zag to cover more ground and go slower. And of course, work the most promising cover into the wind...I usually do very well by myself...The only downfall, tough to take pictures! :D
 

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I have to agree with Rick A. When I go solo, I usually tend to work the small cattail sloughs, or the edges of the CRP. I normally dont try the belts, because they do run out at the end.
 

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Hunt quiet, no dog bells no whistle no verbal commands, park elsewhere don't slam door, Don't where floresent orange ( make sure its not deer season)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you everyone. The tips are great.

Bob, When does deer season end in ND?

SJB
 

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SJB, best is after Thanksgivng because of the hunters best friend----snow. If you come then, bring snowshoes. West of the river you'll hunt CRP and crick bottoms but they are usually hayed or grazed out.

East--hit the cats. Big-small, doesn't matter, if there is a food source. Beans and corn are the best in the east. They grain up early and head for cover so watch for tracks as you walk. Easy to tell hen from rooster tracks by the size. If there is good deep snow, you have the world to yourself! The outside of the cats will drift in deep, but once you are in just follow the deer trails--easy travel. Stay out of trees--bummer. There is better cover in the cats and they feel more secure and hold better. If you don't mind getting a little wet, first ice is great also, as they roost farther out, and nobody bothers them until the ice is thick. Just don't get out too deep, because you will be going thru. Trust your dog and stay close. Don't freeze up when he goes birdy--get right on his butt, because late roosters are not going to wait for you. They will flush out the side, make a loop and set down on the other end. Mark them down and circle into the wind on 'em. Don't take your eye off the bird you think you missed until he is out of sight, because it is suprising how many catch a pellet and fold 300 yds out.

Now the "hook". You have birds in front of the pup and they are running. Forever. Bring pup back, backtrack quick, hook around and come in from the opposite direction. It throws them into confusion, as they think they have pressure on both sides. Pheasants are the sport of Kings.
 

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SJB I would look at the website for the deer season dates. Last year I hunted Thanksgiving week and the season had just ended ( gut piles everywhere) don't waste a lot of time on plots this late in the years they are pretty well shot out and the birds that are left are pretty spooky. I drove around and looked at every small piece of cover even if it was only a 100 foot square found lots of birds doing that. Park down the road and go back with your dog at heel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Dick & Bob:

Thank you thank you. Great tips. Although Ive hunted for many years, it is amazing how many things you can learn from veterans like you.

Because I'm from Colorado, I plan on hunting the western third of the state. This begs two more questions. Does anyone know how far north I might find roosters? Do you think I would find any north of Williston? I've hunted around Bowman before but am thinking about farther going farther north.

SJB
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I don't have any personal experience in the western part of the state. What I know is what I've learned on this web site from Dick and the rest of these guys. I think I would look elsewhere, it would be worth another 4 hours of driving not to deal with the issues they say exist out there. The whole southern half of the state has good pheasant pops.
 

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SJB, forgot to mention, hunting west, bring a forceps and carry it at all times in hunting jacket pocket. Don't leave home without it. Porkies-lots of porkies.
 

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Cattails and Shelterbelts (harder with 1 guy but doable). Harvested corn fields are also good.

Mmmm, porkies. Stir Fried with peppers. :D :beer:
 

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Try hunting raliroad tracks. If you can get your dog to work on the low side while you walk up near the tracks you will be able to flush birds quite easily if they hold. I've been doing this for many years on old tracks down near Braddock. It's kind of nice considering the hunting is legal because the railroad still owns these tracks with good easement. If you try let me know what happens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Cheaphunter:

You are right about the access. Also the view from above is great. However, I've hunted quite a few railroad tracks before and this is where the roosters seem to run on me. That is why I'm going to try hunting later in November. Hopefully the results will change.

Great input everyone, the comments are definately appreciated.

SJB
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SJB, does your lab handle? On the rr right of way you could give him a line and bring him back. My first lab would (sometimes). With 2 & 3 I told them to sit and walked around the cover and then whistled them in. They just love to see you do the walking!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Dick,

In regard to your comment, yes Mocha handles well. I got the idea now. Make her sit and stay. Then, I will walk up to the track and hand-signal her in.

Got it, thanks.

SJB
 

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SJB thats not what he means. Dick means you send the dog out parrell to the tracks and get the dog to hunt back toward you so you pinch the pheasants between you and the dog. That keeps the birds from being able to run away and flush out of range. You have to train you dog to take a line which means go out in a straight line until hes maybe 50 yards away( if you get much further than that he will be flushing birds too far out) and then make him stop and direct him into the cover to hunt back toward you.
Your dog will need to understand hand signals. Its a lot easier to teach than it sounds. A good book that illustrates the training technique is Game dog by Richard wolters. Game dog is also a good choice if you do a lot of upland stuff because it a good part of the emphasis is on training labs for the uplands.
 

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Right. The first time I saw this there was a fellow hunting a drainage ditch solo. The ditch was full of small willows and went thruogh a harvested corn field. The birds were running ahead. He hand signaled his lab off to the side about 100 yds, then way ahead, and back into the ditch, coming toward him. Obvisouly they had done this before. The birds were headons and high overheads and he dumped four slick as can be. When he whistled in the dog, he sent him on a line for each rooster.

My first lab handled pretty fair but I spent time training. # 2 + 3 didn't get the education and I don't hunt waterfowl much anymore so I don't miss it. On occasion I do set the dog in place and skirt cover, calling him through. (This is when the owner handles instead of the dog). Use this on bullberry clumps as the birds go out the other side before you can get around it.
 

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SJB -

There are GREAT NUMBERS of birds up in the northwest corner of the state. I hunted Watford City area, 45 miles south of Williston, and saw dozens of roosters in three hours. Good luck to you!

Shoot straight
 

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:D I had excellent luck for late season roosters working cattail sloughs hunting with just the two of us(my dog DJ and I) by walking even with my dog instead of 15 to 20 yds behind him. As we ploughed through the cattails instead of being 10 to 20 yds behind him I would work even with him. It seemed like as we moved, birds would try to sneak out the side and run into him or he would cause them to run to me as they tried to sneak out my side. We surprised a lot of roosters that thought they were going to be sneaky and slip out the side. Also if a bird got up ahead as late season roosters do, instead of me being 15 to 20 yds behind I would be that much closer to the birds that were a little wild and jumpy up ahead. It gave me the extra few yds I needed to get my bird. If a bird bolts to the dogs side away from you just make a right hand turn and follow the dog. It's been a great week for hunting. I have been fortunate to limit every day except Monday and that was due poor shooting(Two birds). Although it's not the kill that count's it is the experience. The first bird I shot last night I thought I had hit fairly hard. The dog ran over to the spot and then disappeared. About 5 seconds later the rooster jump up in the air about 75 yds from where it was down so I knew the dog was right on him. It is amazing that in only about 10 seconds that bird had covered yards of ground. Where would you be without the dog! Whoever invented that nose sure new what they were doing!! Good bird numbers south of interstate and I wouldn't be afraid to try some new areas that have historically been marginal pheasant country. I have hunted all public land or non-posted land so if you pick your spots and do a little scouting it will pay dividends.
 
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