Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Season In Review

Goon's Buck
Season in Review
Today is a sad day in my life; today is the official end of hunting season. Another hunting season has come and gone. I will do my final cleaning on my rifle and shotguns and put them away after another season of hunting. This will be done with my wife’s approval. I will finally put away all of my hunting gear that is in the garage and store my gear away in the proper place for the off-season.

This also makes it easier for you to find them next September when hunting season comes around. Later in the year I will do an inventory of the all the remaining ammunition and determine what I need for the next season. I look for my duck and goose calls and make the necessary purchases of stuff that I have lost. Each season I end up replacing yet another goose call that I have left in the field some place and dust off my lucky duck call. The duck decoys will be taken out and inspected; the lines and weights will be replaced on the decoys that are missing the proper hardware. This task will be completed with my yellow lab Dakota's supervision.
Hunting In SD
Dry Summer Cause Havoc on Duck Hunters
As I review this past hunting season’s in my mind I would have to say while it was a success, it could have been better. This past season will not go down as one of the best of all time, lets call it a moderate success. While there is always room for improvement, it is also up to Mother Nature; the mid summer drought in the upper Midwest played havoc on the duck and pheasant seasons. My favorite water holes had little water and held little if any substantial duck numbers. The farmers were allowed to mow their CRP fields by the govenor of North Dakota so there was little cover to hold roosters and they decided to run off before you could shoot them.
Opening Day Ducks
Duck Season
Opening weekend of North Dakota waterfowl season was a smashing success but that turned sour quickly as little available water causing extreme hunting pressure to kick the birds out of the state by the third weekend of the waterfowl-hunting season. I had the opportunity to try my hand at field hunting as opposed to hunting with decoys next to the water. Opening weekend we experienced great success getting a nice spread of Canadian Honkers and green head mallards.

Pheasant Hunting
My brother (the Bald Eagle) and I made our yearly trip to South Dakota and went hunting in the Bryant area, we saw lots of birds and you could say that we had moderate success. It was the same old story; replayed yearly, we could have shot more roosters if only we had shot a little better. This was one of the first times I had ever shot more birds than him. Maybe he needs to send in his Super Black Eagle and have it checked out. Berretta set the tone that weekend.

Pheasant hunting in North Dakota is exploding after two or three light winters and that is good news for upland game hunters. The bad new is that the Roosters were pretty wild by the second week of the season due to hunting pressure so this meant that the birds got educated fast because they were hunted very so hard.

Last weekend we went out one final time and say many roosters, all of which were sitting on posted land, so unfortunately we came up empty handed. I might also add that Ring Neck Pheasants are easy to pick out as they are running across the hard snow. I was actually surprised how many of them were still around, it appears that many of the roosters have made it through hunting season alive and well, don’t worry I will be back next season to chase you again. Usually this time of year you see more hens than roosters. That my friend is a good sign for next season and bodes well for pheasant hunters if the winter proves to be mild like it has been so far this winter.
Sharpie Hunting
Sharp tail numbers are as good as I have ever seen before. Since I moved to North Dakota In the early 1990’s the number of Sharp tails has increase three fold. It seems that everywhere you go there are strong numbers of Sharpies. Sharp tails are hard to hunt and good to eat. They are twice as hard to hunt as pheasants and shooting one is a major accomplishment. Lets say you have to ready to shoot at all times, my dog always seems to flush one when I am not ready to shoot. I did manage to shoot four this season and enjoyed them, the Sharp Tail Grouse is the best bird to eat in my opinion.
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