The Weather Channel predicted 10-24″ of snow across much of North Dakota, and they were WAY off with some places only getting 2″, and some getting over 30″. But, the wind kicked up in typical North Dakota style and 45 mph gusts were common. I-94 and I-29 were closed across much of the state and truck stops over flowed with stranded truckers and motorists.
That meant, only a few crazy (stupid?) hunters wandered out into the North Dakota countryside in pursuit of our favorite game. I was sort of smart and waited for Sunday but even then the interstates were closed going east of Bismarck, so of course I went west.
Getting to my favorite early season hunting grounds, I could tell I was in for some work. The road to my primary spot had been traveled earlier in the day and was looking pretty ripped up. I have a big pickup but in reality I didn’t want to tear up the road any more than it had been. I’ve been down some of those roads three days after a guy with a big 4WD shredded it and it’s not fun. So I went to option two.
The road to option two was totally blown shut. At least I knew no one had been in there yet. The downside was I would have to walk nearly a mile to the hunting area, and back up for that matter. So I pulled on the stocking cap, let the dog out of the truck and headed out through foot-high snow just to get to where we wanted to hunt.
Now ordinarily this area would be constantly disrupted by the sound of near-by gunfire. There is some great land, private and public, near hear and on opening weekend the sound of distant shotgun blasts usually fill the air. But today, nothing but the wind. I didn’t even see another hunter much lesss hear them.
Long story short, we were exhausted when we got to the cover, kicked out a few close hens, kicked out some roosters on the wrong side of the trees, and had one good shot that I passed up because the cock was heading across the river and I didn’t feel like walking three miles to pick up a downed bird.
This week the weather outlook appears better but there’s still a LOT of snow that has to melt so the roads could be sketchy for a few days. Won’t stop me from wandering out late in the week, but be careful out there.
If you are planning a hunt to North Dakota be advised there is a TON of standing crops. The weather has been extremely wet so farmers have not been able to get into the fields for harvest in many cases. At some point they will be forced to abandon the harvest until the ground freezes so some of the usual cover the birds are forced into might not contain the same amount of birds because they are still running around in the unharvested corn, sunflowers and wheat.
Good luck and stay safe!