Brute’s Bleat October 28, 2015

I gave pheasant hunting locally my best effort on Tuesday of last week and blew a golden opportunity to harvest a two-bird limit when I didn’t connect on an adult rooster which Vanna pointed well. She also pointed the first bird which was small and one of this year’s hatch. To summarize my last two outings, 1 - 4, which is almost enough to tell me it’s time to hang up the 12 gauge. But being something of an eternal optimist, I plan to give pheasant hunting a try in North Dakota starting Oct. 26 with Mike Muller and Daryl Hennen. We plan to hunt the northwestern part of that state with Mike’s son, Ken, who lives in White Earth, west of Tioga. . . Mike and I tried a couple of spots west of Milan last week Thursday and found the birds scarce. We hunted a Wildlife Management Area first where two roosters and one hen flushed well out of range. Our next effort was in the Perry Waterfall Production Area which has a standing crop of corn, some harvested corn and soybeans which looked like it should be a magnet for birds. It wasn’t, but three other hunters coming from the opposite end flushed three hens. So I’d say that might be an area to avoid the remainder of the season. . . There were numerous anglers fishing in the Minnesota River, both from boats, shore and fishing dock. It would have been prudent for us to bring along some tackle and join them. . . Dale Decker and an entourage of nine hunters chose the Marshall area opening weekend and harvested 15 pheasants on Saturday. Decker said he had two opportunities, shot both roosters, and saw only two other hens on the opening Saturday. They felt it was too hot to hunt on Sunday. The following week his son, Riley, and his friends shot six on the MEA weekend. Dale said there was still lots of standing corn, but that’s three weeks ago and he felt hunting would only get better in the southwest. . . He and two friends also put in a weekend of ruffed grouse hunting and bagged 10 birds in the northwestern part of the state. He said they stuck to hunting trails because they hadn’t had a frost and underbrush was too green for much visibility. So it seems there are birds, both pheasants and grouse are spotty, but if you hunt the correct areas you’d probably do alright. The down-side is the correct areas are more than a one day-trip and you’d probably do better staying over a night or two.
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The firearms deer hunting seasons begin Nov. 7 in 1A, 2A and 3A and Nov. 21-29 again in 3A. The muzzle loading season is from Nov. 28 through Dec. 13. That sounds simple enough, but checking the DNR’s regulations might save hunters a lot of headaches. I don’t hunt deer anymore, but from my outings this fall it seems like there are substantially more small corn patches tucked away in corners of brush and woods. To me that borders on baiting, and while it may be legal, it doesn’t fit the fair hunt category many of us old-timers were taught to observe. In my day there were instances of baiting, some hunters dumped apples while others might have a salt block in an opportune spot near a tree stand, but they were rare instances. I get a little jealous when I see the deluxe deer stands that are available nowadays. We were lucky to nail some 2x4s to a triangle of three popple trees and put a platform on it. One year I crawled into an older rickety stand (someone else’s) east of Menahga, shot a buck from it and fell about six feet when the top rung on the popple ladder gave way as I was going to crawl down. As the saying goes, all’s well that ends well and I didn’t hurt myself. The moral of the story is to be careful, more careful than I was! And good luck in the deer season.

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