When bird hunters hear North Dakota, they think one of two things-waterfowl or upland hunting. What hunters should be thinking is both.
North Dakota is unique in that many portions you can pursue waterfowl in the sloughs or fields as the sun rises and finish your day pushing through cattails and prairie grass in search of a cackling rooster as the sun is setting in the west.
I grew up waterfowl hunting in the north-central part of the state with my dad. We chased mallards in loafing ponds and set up morning feeds in grain fields. But what do you do when you are done duck hunting by mid-morning and already have a meal and afternoon nap in? That’s when we decided to tackle pheasant hunting in North Dakota.
When it comes to choosing a location, North Dakota is known for three main upland regions (the famous southwest region, the northwest region, and south-central region along the ND/SD border). When it comes to combining waterfowl and upland hunting in the same trip or day I would focus on the northwest or south-central part of the state for two reasons:
- Both of these regions see a lot less pressure compared to the southwest.
- The prairie potholes are more bountiful in these two regions which will provide better habitat for waterfowl and hold birds longer.
Scouting will be a hunter’s best friend that wants to tackle two sought after hunts. Once you’ve settled on an area, pull up Google Earth. I love using this tool to analyze potholes in a particular area and find big bodies of water that may hold birds in drought seasons when the small sloughs start drying up. Not only do waterfowl utilize ponds, so do pheasants. Once you have determined your area, pick your dates and get here a few days early to do some early morning and evening scouting.
If you’re looking for guided hunt services, visit www.ndtourism.com. If you’re looking to hunt public land, check out the PLOTS Book the North Dakota Game & Fish publishes, this a great resource that lists private land open to public hunting. The PLOTS Book is located online at www.gf.nd.gov or can be found at most sporting goods stores throughout the state.
When thinking about your next waterfowl or upland adventure, think about North Dakota and how you can pursue the all-in-one trip that can truly provide a hunting experience of a lifetime.