Rooster Road Trip 2016 - Upland Nation, an annual digital showcase of upland hunting on public land habitat & access projects, takes to the field October 24th – 28th and November 14th – 18th. This is the fifth report from this year’s tour.
The best thing about hunting pheasants in the Marshall, Minnesota, area, isn’t that there are 40,000 acres available to the public lands hunter. It’s that all those acres are within 30 miles of town.
Marshall makes a great base camp to hunt the four rectangular shaped counties in southwest Minnesota – Lyon, Lincoln, Murray and Pipestone - which offer up some of the best rooster action the state has to offer. Minnesota’s vast Wildlife Management Area system provides excellent public hunting opportunities in the area. In fact, the Marshall Area Wildlife Office of the Department of Natural Resources manages habitat on 136 Wildlife Management Areas in the region, which cover more than 25,000 acres. Combined with Waterfowl Production Areas and Minnesota’s growing Walk-In Access program, and you and your dog can pick a new spot every day, every trip. Ron Prorak with the Lyon County Chapter of Pheasants Forever has been hunting the area hard – three to four times a week during pheasant hunting season – and reports he’s yet to hit them all.
Prorak led our caravan out of town as we teamed up with a contingent from the very active local “PF” chapter for Rooster Road Trip 2016. It felt like we’d just stepped on the gas pedal when we hit the brakes just a couple minutes from town.
The large Wildlife Management Area we chose is by no means a secret, and gets pressured heavily early in the season. But the habitat is outstanding, including a large food plot supported by the chapter, and with a large group, including a boost in dog power thanks to Prorak, Harvey Noyes, Tim Moburg and Mark Peper, we had three roosters up and three roosters down in the first 45 minutes. Hen flushes finished off a very productive first hour in the field.
We reconvened for an afternoon hunt and doubled our rooster commute to nearly 10 minutes. Noyes bagged one right away, then a long lull ensued until we corralled a group of birds near an edge and picked up two more. With 40 minutes to spare, we headed just a couple more miles down the road to another WMA unit. In addition to a perfect October sunset, hens and roosters popped out of this small parcel, providing action on two more roosters and some close-in hen flushes just for fun.
One more day for the Rooster Road Trip in the Marshall area. We might stretch the radius out to 20 miles tomorrow and see if the good numbers hold!
-Anthony Hauck, Rooster Road Trip 2016
Up Next: Marshall, Minnesota
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