BIRD IN THE HAND. Each pheasant, grouse or partridge is a trophy, and making sure it makes it from the air to your game pouch is important and pays proper respect to the quarry. Finding downed birds can sometimes be challenging, so use the advantages you have and tips in today’s Three Things to get it done.
(Featured Photo: Following a great search and retrieve by his dog, Max, Tory Schreurs of Russell, Minn. passes a rooster to Steven Huser of South St. Paul during the 2017 Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Opener on Sat. Oct. 14. Simonson Photo)
WEATHER (Bismarck Forecast):
Today: Sun 10/15 – Hi 56, Lo 30, Winds NW@17, G25
Tomorrow: Mon 10/16 – Hi 66, Lo 35, Winds W@14, G22
SOLUNAR (Bismarck Times):
Sunrise: 8:02AM Sunset: 6:54PM
Moonrise: 3:15AM Moonset 5:23PM
Overhead: 10:24AM Underfoot: 10:49PM
Moon Phase: Waning Crescent (17% Full)
EDGE HOUR. 10:30 – 11:30AM. Moon overhead and moderate winds combine for a good end to the morning in today’s Edge Hour. Get out there before things go completely clear, gusty and post-frontal in the afternoon.
EYE IT UP. When an upland bird like a pheasant or grouse goes down in cover, do your best to mark the spot visually. Odds are there are subtle variations in a spread of cattails, or a certain bush or type of plant in a prairie mix that stands out. Use these visual cues to pinpoint where you last saw the downed bird land.
DO NOT DISTURB. Take your dog downwind of the marked point, and allow him or her to slowly work the scent that may be coming from your quarry. If the dog can’t find it or seems to be moving in another direction, the bird may be on the move, let them do their thing and follow their lead. Do your best not to walk around, trample or disturb the scent lines or the suspected area of the bird, to better aid your four-legged friend in finding it.
SEARCH & COME BACK. When all else fails or a dog can’t seem to find a downed bird, go to your point of reference and walk in a widening spiral (a/k/a “nautilus” pattern) checking in pockets, under reeds or beneath cover for hunkering birds. If after 10 minutes or so you can’t find it, move on and make it a point to come back to the spot later, as injured birds will eventually hold still and sit tight, generating a new line of scent for your pup to find in the wind near to the area in which it went down.