Posts Tagged ‘north dakota’

Bismarck: The Bird Dog-Friendliest City in America

Monday, October 28th, 2013


Lengthy and outstate pheasant hunting trips require soooo many details to come together to be successful, not the least of which is keeping your best hunting buddy in tip-top shape on the rooster road. After a long day of hunting, it’s nice to come back to a clean, comfortable and warm hotel room. Thankfully, despite being a city of 60K-plus people, such places are easily found in Bismarck, North Dakota

On our morning drives (including the weekend before the trip officially began), we spotted pheasants along roadsides just minutes outside of Bismarck, and found productive PLOTS lands and state wildlife areas not terribly far from town as well. At the end of a long day, we were able to return to one of the 15 or so dog-friendly hotels in the Bismarck-Mandan area.

While we had two hotel rooms which required us picking up the extra pet fee (typically a nominal amount at most hotels), the clerk waived the charges by claiming one of our dogs as a “service dog.” “Any dog that hunts is a service dog in my opinion,” he said with a wink. The wallet was left a little fatter, and today we proclaim Bismarck, North Dakota as “The Bird Dog-Friendliest City in America.”

Anthony’s Antics Afield is written by Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor. Email Anthony at AHauck@pheasantsforever.organd follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauckPF.

Rooster Road Trip North Dakota Recap

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

I’ve personally had North Dakota circled on my Rooster Road Trip calendar thanks to an omnipresent billboard campaign featuring the ring-necked pheasant that ran all summer in the Twin Cities.  That campaign billed the state as “Legendary” and today North Dakota lived up to the slogan.

A billboard promoting North Dakota located close to the Pheasants Forever national headquarters this summer.

Our public land du jour were a pair of CRP tracts enrolled in North Dakota’s PLOTS program by Matt Olson, the Pheasants Forever Farm Bill Biologist for Sargent County.  PLOTS stands for Public Lands Open To Sportsmen and is a gem opening up private land to hunters.

Rachel Bush, Pheasants Forever’s Farm Bill Biologist from Jamestown also joined us today with her fantastic black Lab duo of Belle and Haley in tow.  Rachel and her husband are both natural resource professionals who have relocated to North Dakota from my home state of Michigan.  “We love the prairie, we love the duck hunting and we love the pheasants.  North Dakota is home,” explained Rachel as we followed our dogs along a cattail slough.

Rachel Bush, Pheasants Forever’s Farm Bill Biologist based out of Jamestown, North Dakota, and her lab, “Belle,” with a North Dakota public land ringneck.

The action was fast and furious out of the gates as a smattering of hens flushed a few minutes after shutting tailgates.  Shortly after the hens, a pair of sharp-tailed grouse escaped my immediate species identification, but a running rooster was not so lucky.  After my young shorthair Izzy tracked it for 200 yards in high winds, the bird flushed at my feet with my head camera rolling.  If you look at the video closely, I almost pulled the trigger a hair early and would have missed behind the bird.  Thankfully, I reset and swung through the bird for a clean connection.

Despite high winds all day long, which resulted in many birds flushing wildly, we had Rachel and Matt’s sharp shooting as the day’s secret weapon.  Rachel, in particular, made THE shot of Rooster Road Trip 2012 with a rooster so high in the air you’d think it was considering migrating south as it screamed over her.  But Rachel expertly swung to her right with the fluidity of the avid duck hunter she is and dropped the ringneck from the rafters.   Legendary!

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre.

Pheasants in Advertising

Friday, June 8th, 2012

Everywhere I look, I see pheasants.

I was walking my 14-week old bird dog pup along a bike trail a quarter mile from Pheasants Forever’s National Office this afternoon during my lunch break when I encountered the North Dakota Tourism billboard pictured above.


Say what you will about advertising, this one worked on me.  I’ve been daydreaming about fall hunting trips all afternoon and it’s got me thinking about the power of pheasants in advertising.


North Dakota and South Dakota’s Tourism Departments frequently use pheasants in their advertising campaigns.  Our friends at Federal Premium Ammunition and Browning do as well.  I also recall countless beer neon signs, mirrors and posters “welcoming” hunters to local taverns across the pheasant range.


I’d like to see how many images we can gather of pheasants being used to “pitch” products.  From all the photos emailed, I’ll select the single most interesting pheasant-oriented submission to win the blaze orange Minnesota Wild hat featuring the Pheasants Forever logo along with the Sioux Falls Pheasants logo baseball pictured below.


Blaze orange Minnesota Wild hat featuring the Pheasants Forever logo along with the Sioux Falls Pheasants logo baseball

Send your photo submissions to  Thanks!


The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre.

Prairie Storm Steel Travels at 1600 Feet per Second

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Federal Ammo makes a donation to Pheasants Forever's habitat efforts every time a box of Prairie Storm is sold.

When you miss a pheasant, is it because you shot behind the bird? 


It’s been my experience most of my missed shots (and the misses of others I’m hunting with) are the result of shooting behind fast-moving roosters.  Enter Federal Ammo’s new Prairie Storm Steel which travels at a whopping 1600 feet per second (fps).  Wowzers, that’s fast! And blistering compared to the many other upland loads on the market which offer just 1200 to 1300 fps.


North Dakota has an earlier pheasant opener than most states, and Jesse Beckers, Pheasants Forever’s Regional Wildlife Biologist there, has been upland hunting and using Prairie Storm Steel for three weeks. “That stuff rocks. I’ve never had steel shot perform so well. I’ve got buddies starting to buy it and thought people would like to know that it’s performing awesome in North Dakota.” 


Next time you’re in the ammo aisle of your favorite sporting goods store, check out the stats on the boxes of bird shot.  No other load comes close to the 12 gauge Prairie Storm Steel’s 1600 feet per second. 


On top of that fast fact, Federal makes a donation to Pheasants Forever’s wildlife habitat conservation efforts for each and every box of Federal shells sold featuring the PF logo, including Prairie Storm and Prairie Storm Steel.


The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre.

North Dakota dove hunting was great

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Dove hunting was great in North Dakota over Labor Day weekend. Luckily, a buddy and I found a harvested canola field to hunt. We drove around quite a bit, and it was the only one we could find in about a 30 mile radius. I doubt we would have had such great shooting without that field. The birds were so hot to get into the field that we hunted it parts of three days to great effect.

The field’s landowner is a big hunter and he was glad to let us shoot over the field. We harvested 70 birds (the daily limit is 15/person, 30/person possession limit). We ate our first day’s take that night (14 birds in two hours) simmered stove top in oil and soy sauce – very good.

Decoys help bring doves closer and slows them up, both factors which help hitting these speedy, acrobatic game birds.

On the third day, the birds weren’t in the field that morning, so we left. We never found a better place to shoot. But, when we came back in the evening, the doves were all over the field once again. We had one windy day, so trying to walk them up and shoot was impossible because of their incredibly fast take off. One calm day, we are able to get on them with the gun while jump shooting.

Yet, we shot most our birds from a stationary location in an area where they were coming in to feed or passing by. I also set out some decoys on bare patches so they were visible. I bagged several doves coming in to land and some flying over slow for a look at the ‘coys. My springer, Hunter, was a big help retrieving doves since the canola stubble/weeds were high and thick enough to conceal the diminutive, gray-colored birds. I also learned that Hunter retrieves much better if I don’t crowd him on the retrieve and just call “fetch” while walked back to the blind. If I crowd him too much, he hangs back. My late springer, Wolf, reacted the same, but not quite as much as Hunter.

Weather-wise, we had two low 40-degree nights, but the birds hung around anyway. Doves are notorious for bugging out in such cool air. During the hunt, I also spotted some sharptails, but no pheasants. We were northeast of the capitol Bismarck.

We did spot a few other concentrations of doves, but one was over a tall weedy field – hard to hunt and hard to find downed birds. I also noticed higher water, more than last year – great news for NoDak waterfowlers such as myself. Incredibly, a stretch of Interstate-94 near Medina was diked against a large flooding lake. Both sides of the highway were being raised some 10-15 feet!

For pheasant hunters, dove hunting is a great way to work out the bugs in your gear, shooting and dog. How was your dove hunt?

The Nomad blog is written by Mark Herwig, Editor of the Pheasants Forever Journal. Email Mark at

Hungarian Partridge: The Most Under-Rated Game Bird

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Photo courtesy of Roger Hill

What upland bird flushes in a covey like quail, occupies the big grasslands of the West, rivals pheasant as table fare, and is open to hunting as early as September 1st in some states?  The answer: Hungarian partridge

Also known as a gray partridge, “Huns” are larger than a bobwhite quail, but smaller than a hen pheasant.  The males have a beautiful chestnut colored horseshoe mark on their breast, but it’s difficult to identify gender on the wing.  Although upland hunters encounter Huns from Illinois to Oregon, the highest Hun concentrations exist in Montana, North Dakota and across the border into Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

If you’ve been in search of Huns before, you know they occupy slightly different grassland habitat than pheasants or sharp-tailed grouse.  In particular, Huns tend to be found around wheat fields and seem to relate to “structure.”  By “structure,” I’m referring to that lone bush in an expanse of grass or that rock pile in the middle of a cut wheat field.  For whatever reason, Huns connect with those odd places on the landscape.  I also have had tremendous success targeting Huns near abandoned farmsteads. 

Photo courtesy of Roger Hill

My favorite aspect of hunting Huns is their propensity to hold well for a pointing bird dog.   Additionally, after the first flush, one can often mark a landing covey to get a second chance.  Don’t count on a third opportunity though.  It’s been my experience that a covey of Huns’ second flush sends them into the neighboring area code. 

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre.

October 2011

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Are you counting the days till October too?

As the snow falls out the window behind me again today, I can’t help but think about pheasant hunting season.  Apparently, I’m not alone.  According to our website’s analytics, the most commonly searched term driving pheasant hunters to our website the last few weeks is “October 2011.” 

My hunch is that folks are already planning their 2011 fall pheasant hunting calendar.  While not all states have announced their 2011 pheasant seasons yet, I’ve been able to find opening day dates online for most of the top pheasant hunting destinations.  So here you go! 

2011 Pheasant Hunting Opening Days

(These dates are tentative, please be sure to check your state’s regulations)

Colorado                                                    Not announced till July

Iowa                                                           Saturday, October 29

Kansas                                                       Saturday, November 12

Montana                                                     Saturday, October 8

Minnesota                                                  Saturday, October 15

Nebraska                                                    Saturday, October 29

North Dakota                                             Saturday, October 8

Ohio                                                           Not announced till July   

South Dakota                                             Saturday, October 15

Wisconsin                                                  Saturday, October 15

 The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.

Help Create 2 Million Acres of Habitat with an Email

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

An email from you can help give sharp-tailed grouse 2 million acres of critical habitat. PHOTO BY JOHN POLLMANN


In this season of giving, please consider helping all the critters that depend upon healthy grassland and wetland complexes throughout the Dakotas and Montana.  A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal is poised to give a huge habitat boost with a little help from you. 

The proposed Dakota Grassland Conservation Area (DGCA) has targeted more than 240,000 acres of wetlands and 1.7 million acres of grasslands for conservation.  The goal is to promote profitable farming and ranching in harmony with wildlife conservation, but it won’t happen without your help.  Please send a brief note in full support of the DGCA to  

Your emailed support before December 31, 2010 will help future generations of hunters enjoy the thrill of flushing roosters and prairie grouse, support critical habitats for waterfowl production and the dozens of other grassland and wetland dependant birds, and help stewardship-minded landowners. 

Thanks for your support!  

The D.C. Minute is written by Dave Nomsen, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Government Relations.

Day 1 – North Dakota

Monday, November 8th, 2010

North Dakota is the first stop on the 5-state, 7-day Rooster Road Trip.

Greetings from the Rooster Road Trip! We pulled into Lisbon, North Dakota last evening.

It’s a guarantee you’ll overlook something on any trip, and in this case, it was Daylight Savings Time. Because North Dakota is a state where you can hunt a half hour before sunrise that meant we could be in the field just after 7AM. The duck hunters at the hotel took care of the wake up call with their racket at a quarter to 5. Let’s just say I’m unadjusted to the new schedule.

Elisia at the Pizza Ranch in Lisbon, ND, helped Anthony and Andrew fuel up for day one of the trip.

Lisbon is home to North Dakota’s first Pizza Ranch – a Pheasants Forever national sponsor – so we enjoyed the buffet there last evening and game planned. We also acquired some mixed reports on the area. The early-rising duck hunters from the hotel are also doing a bit of upland hunting, with limited success. An elderly gentleman at Pizza Ranch said birds are everywhere, and that we wouldn’t have any trouble.  Yet here we stand after the morning hunt with empty game bags! The reality, it seems, is probably somewhere in the middle.

The duck hunters were right about one thing – it’s wet as all get out here in southeast North Dakota. They said they’ve even sported waders on a few walks. We’re not going that far, but if you’re hunting either of the Dakotas this year, knee-high rubber boots should find a way into your gear bag.

We’ve seen a few roosters and sharp-tailed grouse, with a full afternoon ahead, so it’s time to get out on the road and put the “Rooster!” in Rooster Road Trip.

Are Possession Limits Additive Over State Lines?

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

Anthony, Andrew & I pose for a picture in my front yard before launching our Rooster Road Trip.

As we embark on the Rooster Road Trip, it’s obviously important for us to follow the letter of the law in each state we visit to pheasant hunt.  Most issues are pretty clear (non-toxic vs. lead shot, shooting hours differences, private lands access programs, etc.). 

However, there is one issue we began to get concerned with addressing: possession limits in hunting five different states consecutively.  Are possession limits additive based on the number of different state licenses you have to hunt pheasants in your possession? 

For instance, how should we identify birds bagged in North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Nebraska to make sure a conservation officer in Kansas doesn’t issue us a citation for having more than the possession limit for pheasants in Kansas on their opening day? 

Likewise, is it legal for us to bag our South Dakota 3-bird individual limit by noon and cross over into Minnesota with those SoDak birds in the truck to chase Minnesota roosters till sundown? 

To obtain the answers, I emailed the wildlife department of each state’s natural resources agency.  Turns out, these questions aren’t asked very often.  Easy to see why!  And, yes, I’m probably over-estimating our expected success.  However, I live by the “better safe, than sorry,” mantra.  Anyway, here’s what I’ve found. 

Pheasant possession limits are additive by the state licenses in your possession . . . mostly.  The best guidance offered was to bag each bird individually with the hunter’s name, license number, the state harvested, and date.  They also all reminded me that it’s important that each bird has the proper body parts left on for identification (wing, head and/or leg).  

Although the burden of proving wrong-doing falls upon the state conservation officer, it’s pretty guilty looking for three guys to be in possession of a couple dozen birds in a cooler on Kansas’ opening day.  Our Road Trip would certainly present trouble for a conservation officer that encounters our ugly mugs. 

The solution may be to simply fire up the Smokey Joe each day and cook our harvest as we go.  At least that will give us a few built-in recipe blog entries along the way. 

The other recommendation given was for us to gift birds to folks in the state we’re hunting.  For instance, in Minnesota the law requires the donor to write his/her name and address, along with the recipient’s name and address on the bag.  The law also requires the donor to date the gift, including a description of the gift (number of birds and species), and the license number the animals were taken under.   

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.