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Gran16
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:46 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 08 Mar 2016
Posts: 40
Location: Upstate NY

Starting to plan a trip west for this upcoming season, looking to make it to Montana from New York. Would like to bird hunt in a couple different states, what would you guys that have been or live that way suggest? Open to any ideas. It will be my girlfriend, 6 year old lab and me making the trip. Planned to take 2 weeks in middle of October . Thanks in advance.
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manofthewoods
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:04 am  Reply with quote
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Joined: 03 Sep 2007
Posts: 148
Location: Orangevale (aka, Sacramento)

what do you like to do/hunt, or, perhaps to try?

In Montana you can hunt open prairie (typically rolling) with or without lots of sagebrush. There you can find public land for hunting Huns, and sharptails, pheasants maybe. Sage Grouse might be present, but the season will be closed by the time you arrive. Or...

You can hit the steep rocky mountains and find "mountain grouse" Ruffed and sooty (aka "blue grouse") go north in the mountains and you can find Franklins grouse (spruce grouse). Climb high enough and maybe see ptarmigan (don't shoot - never in season). Or... do all of the above, but you'll be puttin' miles on the vehicle, for sure!

Enjoy the journey

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Riflemeister
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:08 am  Reply with quote
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I've been taking a fall western trip for the last decade or so, and the bird situation has changed quite often during that time. The possibilities exist for sharptail, Huns and pheasant in Montana with some areas being able to pursue Sage grouse. The Montana bird hunting season opens on Sep first, but I delay several weeks to allow colder temps to put the prairie rattlers down. I utilize the Block Management program for most of my hunting in NE Montana where the state has negotiated hunting access for private citizens (no guides). Idaho has some excellent bird hunting, but a lot of it is on private land and permission must be had to hunt. I have a ranch owner buddy north of Boise who has plenty of pheasant, chukar, Huns and Ca quail on his ranch. Eastern Oregon in the area surrounding Jordan Valley used to be excellent, but has declined significantly because of major fires and draught. I have not bothered to go there in the last several years. Wyoming has an early (Sep) sage grouse season that can be fairly good around the Pinedale area that I've often used as a snake free tune up for the dogs. Lots of sage brush and cactus on those hunts. I tow my travel trailer with the two dogs crated under the camper shell in the truck bed and set up in a centrally located RV park as the base of my operation. That allows a lot of flexibility to move to where the birds are if needed.

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16gaDavis
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:18 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 24 Jun 2013
Posts: 1281
Location: canandaigua - western n.y. (formerly deerhunter)

27ish hrs driving to mid SoDak , 35ish too mid Montana . Plan accordingly !

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3birddogs
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:47 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 07 Sep 2011
Posts: 364
Location: wheeling, wv

keeping an eye on this thread--that has been a dream of mine for years, to hit Montana, maybe even Idaho, then head back east thru the Dakotas, Minnesota, and end up in the UP for a while. Ususally spend a couple weeks each year in the UP, and this year went to Kansas for the first time in January--COLD!!
3 birddogs now has 4 Eng Setters, but don't think I'll change my name.

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Chicago
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:27 pm  Reply with quote
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Joined: 12 Aug 2007
Posts: 888
Location: Northern Illinois

If you drive through Canada the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for grouse and woodcock would be an option. Stay in Marquette which has many nice restaurants and hire a guide to take you grouse hunting. It would take too much time to scout on your own. You could do the same thing in Wisconsin or Minnesota and again I would hire a guide.

If you take U.S. 2 you will go right through the U.P., Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and into Montana (all good bird country). That is two lane road and will add time but you can hunt your way out and back.

Good Hunting,
Mike
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Ray-citori
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:04 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 05 Feb 2015
Posts: 229
Location: New Braunfels TX

You guys quit waiting, I've been to SoDak and MT. Going back to SoDak this fall.
You only live once!!!
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Gran16
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:05 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 08 Mar 2016
Posts: 40
Location: Upstate NY

Thanks for the replies. I though about hunting grouse on the way out in one of the places you mentioned Chicago. I was thinking sharptails would be something that We could go after. Still lots to think about and try to plan for. Also thinking about maybe some waterfowl hunting, but maybe Iím just dreaming too much.
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4setters
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:19 pm  Reply with quote
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Joined: 19 Nov 2013
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Location: NW Arkansas

3birddogs,

Be careful--you may be walking on my turf as 4setters! Of course, 4englishsetters looks good too!

Gran16,
For what it's worth, I had a wonderful short hunt around Brownlee Reservoir on the Snake River a few year's ago. Hunted and took ruffed and blue grouse, huns and chukar on NF land.

These open in early/mid September I believe, but the weather is probably still OK by mid-October.

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WyoChukar
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:21 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 16 Jul 2015
Posts: 950
Location: Hudson,Wy

Well, before recommending anything, I will ask the following: What sort of hunting do you prefer? What is your age/ physical condition? Looking for alone time or are bird numbers your number one priority? What will you be driving? This all has much bearing on what you hunt and where you go, and ultimately how much you enjoy the journey.

At this point I would hesitate greatly on planning too much. The West is notorious for unreliable hatch and early brood conditions. It's boom and bust out here, but never bust or boom everywhere at once. Late May/ early June weather (localized) will tell a lot. Mid June through mid September has a huge influence on brood survival. By August, you can get a much better idea of where your time is best spent.

Also, avoid the trap of maintaining a strict schedule, it sucks the fun right out of a trip. Be flexible. If you plan to visit 5 areas but are having fun, 3 is okay too. I made that decision in Kansas this year and learned the area I was hunting quite well. That makes future visits so much better. Things like that lead to long term "relationships" with an area.

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pbr streetgang
PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 7:33 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 26 Dec 2006
Posts: 90
Location: At the edge of a Florida marsh

Iíd get a paper map out, tape it to the wall, and throw three darts.

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Gran16
PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:43 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 08 Mar 2016
Posts: 40
Location: Upstate NY

We will be driving out in my truck which is 4x4. We are in our early 20s and in good shape, planning to be in better shape preparing to do lots of walking. Not looking for big numbers just the chance to hunt some new places and enjoy the scenery.

I get what your saying about trying to have a schedule. We have done that before with a fishing trip having planned to go 2 places and left somewhere we were having a good time to somewhere where it wasnít so great.

I guess I donít know what you mean by what type of hunting do I prefer. Thereís not to much choice out here either pen raised pheasants release by the state, and some ruffed grouse hunting which I just recently found a really good spot but havenít connected on anything yet.

Also Montana is just some place I though could be an ending point. Not set in stone but rather just some place I have always wanted to go.
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Riflemeister
PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:37 am  Reply with quote
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Some of advice for once you get there, don't be so locked into your schedule once you get there that you pack up and leave some place when you are into birds on a regular basis. Even the good years on western birds requires a lot of walking, but if you are consistently finding birds, that is as good as it gets. Don't expect to limit out every day or even most days. The possession limit on birds is generally double the daily limit, so unless you are cooking and eating a lot of birds, it won't take long to fill your possession limit. I'm out west to work my dogs and get them (and me) in shape. I try to reward good dog work with a retrieve, but seldom take more than one bird from a covey. Even at that, I keep a log of bird numbers that I put in the freezer just to ensure I stay legal.

Montana and many other western states have some very specific regulations concerning how you clean your birds and what parts must be left attached so F%G agents can identify the species. Don't just breast them out on the tailgate after the hunt or you could end up before a judge. They are also specific on what parts you must save or be liable for charges of wasting game. Getting cross threaded with the fish cops is a good way to lose your hunting privileges in several western states without really trying. It will be the experience of a lifetime, but you must prepare.

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NY16ga
PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:26 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 10 Aug 2009
Posts: 171
Location: New York

Lots of good advice here, I'm also planning a trip west from NY this Fall. I went to North Dakota for pheasants and sharptails five or six years in a row with lots of success but the oil boom put a stop to that. To be fair, I had some contacts there so we always had some local knowledge. It helps but so does doing your homework, especially if you're hunting public land. I did a fun late season trip to Kansas by myself a couple years ago too with no contacts at all. Didn't necessarily kill a lot of birds but I killed some and had a great time exploring the public land there.

This year I'm determined to go to Montana for sage grouse in September. I've never hunted them so I'm excited and hopeful that it's not too dry again. If the weather is such that its really not worth it, I'll probably go to Colorado for blue grouse instead.

All of that said, I haven't really done a multi-state trip. I guess given enough time I would but I find that it takes time just to get the lay of the land in a new area. If I was going to do that I'd probably try to set up at least one of them that was a known quantity. For example, I'd hunt some excellent grouse and woodcock spots I know in Wisconsin with my buddy there, then move on to a prairie hunt somewhere new.

Feel free to PM me if you want to talk NY bird hunting, Gran16. I'm no expert but I usually do OK on grouse and woodcock.
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bmarks
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:00 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 21 Jan 2018
Posts: 5

If you are planning to take this trip with just 1 dog, you should plan on giving the dog days to rest and perhaps not hunting the dog full days in the field.

I have gone on the road, out west, with 1 dog in the past. Conditions can be rough on even a long-legged well-conditioned bird dog
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