Rooster Road Trip Episode 1:
Hunting for Habitat
The first morning of the Rooster Road Trip found us watching the sunrise over an expansive Wildlife Management Area in southwestern North Dakota. The dogs were ready, we were ready, but the habitat we were greeted with seemed a little sparse. Surveying the landscape, we decided to quickly cut through the short grass and dive right into the cattails. This wasn’t a normal move for a mid-October hunt, but our strategy quickly produced some tight holding hens – simply putting eyes on birds made the first walk jitters dissipate.
After moving around a few handfuls of pheasants and even seeing some sharp-tailed grouse, we decided to move north to another Wildlife Management Area that contained food plots, windbreaks, decent grass cover, and plenty of cattails. Much to our dismay, we found piles of wild-flushing pheasants in the cattails – not exactly what we were hoping to contend with during the midday heat, but we were able to slip a couple birds in our vests.
Choosing to let the heat dissipate, we put on some miles and arrived at a North Dakota PLOTS property for our last walk of the day. PLOTS stands for Private Land Open To Sportsmen, and this program allows access to habitat on private ground. In 2021, generous landowners have opened more than 800,000 acres to public access via PLOTS and we were excited to walk a few of these acres ourselves.
The weedy PLOTS property quickly produced waves of flushing roosters and hens well out of range, but we were lucky enough to bag a few as the light began to shift and the golden hour began to highlight the beautiful North Dakota landscape. This was a fantastic way to wrap up our first day of the Rooster Road Trip, and we hoped it was an omen for good things to come during the remainder of our travels.
The Rooster Road Trip is made possible by: Ruff Land Kennels, Browning firearms and apparel, Garmin training collars and tech, Thorogood boots, SoundGear hearing protection and enhancement, Federal Ammunition, Apple Autos, and South Dakota Tourism.