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Duo Montana Pheasant hunt help

Duo Montana Pheasant hunt help

Postby 3schwenk11 » Tue May 15, 2018 7:06 am

First I would just like to say, I normally HATE these type of posts. Whether it be on this forum, or the 15 different dog/hunting groups I am apart of on facebook. I usually hate when people ask about hunting help instead of just doing the research.

I am being hypocritical right now because I thought if there was any group that would be able to share valuable information, it would be this one. I have already researched more hours than I can count for this but I am hoping the great people of this forum will help me out.

This is what I am planning:
I am from Iowa and I want to plan a pheasant hunt in Montana with my dad before he gets too old to go on a road trip like this. I would like to be gone 7 days. Obviously eastern Montana would be preferable because its less travel.
Is the public land worth it? Would you recommend spending the extra money for an outfitter? I don't want a guide service or someone elses dogs. My dad and I both have GSP's and I don't really want someone tagging along telling us where the birds will be.
We plan on pulling my camper out there for the stay.

Any information you can give would be greatly appreciated, I really want to make this a special trip with my old man.

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Duo Montana Pheasant hunt help

Postby dan v » Tue May 15, 2018 10:44 am

A group of us went up by Plentywood/Scobey area last fall......it was rough, the drought was hard on the hatch. Don't know that I'll go back this fall.

BTW...we did a horseback hunt.
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Re: Duo Montana Pheasant hunt help

Postby 3schwenk11 » Wed May 16, 2018 7:22 am

Ok thanks for the feedback.
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Re: Duo Montana Pheasant hunt help

Postby DonF » Wed May 16, 2018 10:02 am

I loved Montana, lived up there several years in the service. But if I was in your shoes, I'd give the Dakota's a long look! I thought about Montana for birds last year but report's I got from there were really bad.
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Re: Duo Montana Pheasant hunt help

Postby 3schwenk11 » Wed May 16, 2018 10:14 am

DonF wrote:I loved Montana, lived up there several years in the service. But if I was in your shoes, I'd give the Dakota's a long look! I thought about Montana for birds last year but report's I got from there were really bad.


South Dakota would not be a long trip at all for me, but is the public ground worth the trip? I feel like the public land just gets hammered because everyone knows the Dakotas are famous for birds. By the time I go through the public ground that's hit hard constantly, is it going to be better than the private ground I have in Iowa?
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Re: Duo Montana Pheasant hunt help

Postby fishvik » Wed May 16, 2018 8:06 pm

Southwest ND or southeast/central east Montana might be worth looking into.
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Re: Duo Montana Pheasant hunt help

Postby Bedight » Wed May 16, 2018 11:54 pm

Montana game biologists are forecasting Northern (above the Highline) and Eastern Montana ( Plentywood area) Pheasant numbers to be below average by as much as 50% this year, due to large winter snow pack, cold spring, and spring flooding. South Central Montana (Great Falls, Lewistown) numbers will be fair to good, near 10 year averages. Long drive from Iowa.

Southeast Montana, along the South Dakota border (Miles City) will have average numbers of Sharptails and below average Pheasant hatches.

South Dakota had less snow than usual and no flooding and is forecasting Pheasant numbers the same as last 5 years.

My experience with hunting Eastern Montana, and the Western Dakotas is that in most years hunting pressure is very low on Montana Block Management land and bird numbers are very good (except for this year). There is very little public land in Eastern Montana and most of it is heavily hunted. Hunting public land in South Dakota early in the season is very productive but extremely crowded. Most of the best hunting in the Dakotas is on private land with per gun fees. Later in the season you'll encounter few other hunters, good bird numbers but birds will be widely dispersed and much spookier than early season.

Unfortunately, South Dakota private land is your best bet this year for a successful Pheasant Hunt, but most pay per gun operations limit numbers of hunters and can almost guarantee a successful hunt with no other hunters in the field. Many of them can also accommodate your camper.

I'm headed to Missouri and Kansas for Quail this year, but I will swing through South Dakota in Mid to late November, weather permitting, hoping for light snow on the ground which will tend to bunch the birds.

I'd contact the game biologists/managers in each of the regional Fish and Game offices in areas you like to hunt and get current outlooks for Pheasant. I've alway found them to be very helpful.
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Re: Duo Montana Pheasant hunt help

Postby cjhills » Thu May 17, 2018 5:16 am

I have hunted a lot in northeast and north central Montana. It was never great for pheasant hunting. Much better for Sharptail and Huns. Which I like better any way. Lots of huge public areas require a lot of walking unless you can horseback hunt. Never tried South East Montana might be much better. I hate snakes though. Because of bad winters and drought most of the northern plains are down on birds. Kansas was better last year Quail numbers were pretty good. Hunting club leases are taking up huge land areas in some places. For Pheasants a bad year in SD still beats almost everywhere else. Just avoid the real bad drought areas. We have always done well on public land in SD and I flat out refuse to pay $150 dollars per gun per day....................Cj
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Re: Duo Montana Pheasant hunt help

Postby 3schwenk11 » Thu May 17, 2018 7:54 am

CJ and Bedight,

Thank you very much for your insightful answers. I really appreciate it.
By the sounds of it, I might just stay home this season, my area of Iowa has been very lucky weather wise the last few years and continues to improve the bird numbers. Even the quail numbers where I am located are not bad, not to mention we have access to a ton of private ground.

If I do go forward with this trip, it might end up being western part of SD.

Again I really appreciate your guys feed back!!!
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