Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011...8:08 am
South Dakota – Monday 9/20/10
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It’s Monday, September 20th.
I stayed in Fort Pierre, SD last night and got a chance to go by the ranger station for the Pierre National Grassland. I’ve been wanting to hunt the grassland for years and just haven’t been able to work it out.
I stopped at the main station to get a little information and talk to the folks that run it. They were really nice and helpful. I was able to purchase a few maps and ask about bird numbers and best places to start. I also picked up maps for two other South Dakota grasslands—the Grand River/Cedar River, which is on the South Dakota/North Dakota border. The other one is Buffalo Gap, which is a little further west, off of I-90. If I have enough free time I want to check out all three of those. I don’t know if I’ll get that done this week or not, but I’ll have the maps if I need them. You can get those online or you can order them by mail. I’ve done both. But while I was there, I figured I’d go ahead and snag them and have them in my possession.
I also ran into some hunters this morning while gassing up my truck that were all the way from New York State. They had come over on some personal business, but decided they were going to hunt The Pierre Grassland while they were here. They had some really pretty English Setters. We had a good chat.
I got the dogs exercised this morning using the chain gang. I am a gigantic fan of now. We have used them most of my life, but for some reason I never liked setting them up on the road. I’m not really sure why. I can take care of 8 to 12 dogs by myself much faster using a chain gang. It’s quick, easy and it gives the dogs more time to take care of their business.
It’s becoming more and more common that I travel by myself and have a large number of dogs with me. Using a chain gang makes it all possible.
I’ve got six with me right now, which is not a large number, but it’s a lot easier just to chain them out and take care of all my sorting business. It gives them a good bit more time out of the truck, which I’ve noticed Bu seems to need. She requires more time than I’m willing to give her when I’m walking her. If I chain her out, I can give her 15-20 minutes, it works out for me better.
I got all my regular ID dog collars switched out today, which is something I meant to do before I left town.
I had a couple of dogs that looked like I did not switch their collars out last year. I normally switch out dog collars at least once a year. Based on the condition of some of these collars, they had to be two years old. I was pleased with how the majority of them held up.
The ID plate on Sage’s collar was coming lose. I am not sure if he did that from pulling on chain gang. I’ve got to look into that. The rivets were stressed.
I’ve got a couple of dogs that are too thin. I’ve got to work on that some. Mac and Apple need about five pounds on each of them. They’re just a little skinner than I prefer.
Stud is looking better but still needs a little bit more weight. Sage is a little on the skinny side. I’m a big believer of keeping them lean in the summer, but I may have pushed it a little far on a couple of these. I’ll be interested to see what kind of shape Cash and Merle are in when I pick them up in the morning.
I’m headed north to Flasher, North Dakota. I have a couple dogs that spent the summer with birddog trainer J.C. Turner. They’ve been in North Dakota since early July. A good 10 weeks. I have been getting real good reports on both of them. We’re going to run them in the morning and see how they look. Hopefully the weather will cooperate.
It’s a real pretty day today. It’s 58 and overcast and a little windy. I am going to try and hunt some this afternoon when I get to North Dakota. I’ve got an opportunity to go to a couple different spots.
I’ve also got to pick up a new walk-in Atlas. The “walk in” program in North Dakota is called PLOTS. That stands for Private Land Open to Sportsmen.
I’ve got one of last year’s maps, but you can’t trust them from year to year. The ground can come in and go out depending on if the land owner renews his contract. You’ve got to update your maps every year and watch the signs real close.
Both South Dakota and North Dakota do a really good job of marking the public areas. There is an enormous amount of public land in this part of the world. Millions of acres of public hunting land available including national grasslands, state lands, walk-in areas, and conservation areas all for the price of a hunting license.
It takes a lot of leg work to find the best spots. You’ve gotta do your research and drive some miles. Just because there is land available doesn’t mean it’s all great hunting land. It’s hit and miss, and it takes a lot of work to find the great spots. They do call it hunting for a reason.
I’m mainly going to treat today as a travel day, but I’d like to get at least a couple dogs on the ground if I can.