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North Dakota???

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North Dakota???
My hunting buddy and I are planning on making the trip out to North Dakota in two years. We are going to fly and are starting the research for the trip. Neither of us have gone afar to hunt ducks/geese. We are primarily interested in guided field hunts over grain. Being our first trip we figure this is the best way. We are looking to go in the middle of October, unless otherwise overwhelmingly advised.
So......any advice, opinions, previous experiences or other comments will be greatly appreciated. We know nothing insofar as areas to go or guides. I have done some research, but would rather hear some first hand accounts.
Thanks
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Re: North Dakota??? In reply to
We've gone to ND probably 10 times over the past 15 years, almost always free-lancing. The last 2 years though I've had a vendor take me to Mouse River Outfitters in Kramer and they're AWESOME. This same vendor does a hunt every year and it's usually in some fancy lodge where it's more about the chef and lodge than the actual hunting. Once I got invited along I did some homework and asked them to try this outfitter for a year, and they've never gone back to their other outfitters.
The things I like about them, and the things you need to watch out for from other outfitters are:
1. They don't own a ton of land but basically have the whole county locked up through either day leases, helping to bale hay and shovel manure for farmers, etc. A LOT of the other outfitters own/lease 10,000 acres or whatever which sounds like a lot but that gets hunted out quick and they end up saving fields for the next group, putting you on fields that they just hunted yesterday, etc. Be careful at some of the outfitters and big fancy lodges (esp around Devil's Lake) for that reason. Also, be careful around some of the guys that mostly hunt deer or just farm but call themselves waterfowl outfitters. We ran into a bunch of them when we were free-lancing and most didn't have a clue what they were doing. Plus we ran into a bunch of their clients over the years at the bar or gas station, and they were all ticked off because the outfitter would stick them in some ditch somewhere and they'd be lucky to shoot a couple geese. There's an outfitter near Garrison that ALWAYS has hunters in the same field we drive past, year after year.
2. They have 4-5 guys constantly scouting to find the next field. If you get a chance, ride a long with them when they're scouting. It's a blast, and what free-lancing is all about.
3. They're really good guys. You'll laugh your butt off as long as you're there and have a great time.

Their lodge isn't anything fancy, but is really nice, clean, etc. The food is good and the beer is cold. Also, it's on the edge of the typical ND town, so you really get a "feel" for the ND life.

All that said, you could also freelance if you want. There are still areas in ND where you can knock on doors and get permission. It's gotten tougher over the past 5 years though as the last couple years there were 5 trucks circling most good fields and several pickups in the farmer's driveway asking permission. Also, if you're flying in vs. driving, it makes it way tougher to free-lance, especially for field hunting due to the huge decoy spreads needed.

PM me or give me a call if you want any more info.
Kirk Sherbine
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Re: North Dakota??? In reply to
Do you shoot white geese primarily?
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Re: North Dakota??? In reply to
We hunt mostly ducks and dark geese, and snows if they're around. A few years we took our full snow goose spread, but unless it's the right weather and the right field those things are TOUGH!!
Kirk Sherbine
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Re: North Dakota??? In reply to
Thanks Kirk!!
Just the info I was looking for. Both of us are turning 55 and want to do a trip. You gave me sound advice, especially going with the guides to scout. Probably would have never thought of that. We are both duck hunters....lol and don't get me wrong, we love to eat, but we are out there to hunt. Not interested in fancy lodges, just a clean place to sleep!
Thanks
Kurt
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Re: North Dakota??? In reply to
Give the owner Todd a call and tell them I recommended them. He'll treat you right! We've found the best week to be the end of October, but of course it varies year to year. That's usually when my groups out there. I'm taking a year off though because I'm hunting elk with my son that moved to CO this year, but I'll definitely be back!

Let me know what you decide! You'll be hooked. I know I am!
Kirk Sherbine
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Re: North Dakota??? In reply to
If you are wanting to target ducks in the field, then I would push the trip back to the last week in October and would recommend the first week in November. with our warmer and warmer falls; the migrations keep getting pushed back. especially with more and more row crops in ND. the ducks don't need or want to leave until the snow pushes them out.

we used to go to Canada. then we moved to ND. then we moved to SD. the drives were long and we found that we could harvest just as many birds further South; we just had to go later in the fall. Our SD trips are either the second week or the third week in Nov and I would like to go even later but the Holidays and deer seasons there and here at home start to interfere with those plans.

being as you are flying in; you do need to rely on an outfitter. you have already received a recommendation that sounds good. if you opt to not use that one and are looking a different one then ask for some client references that you can call to check them out. a good and reputable outfitter will be happy to do that.

one other item. clarify up front the expectations are you expected to help put out and pick up decoys? are the guides shooting also? explicitly, what do the fees include? processing of birds? are they morning hunts only? is there an opportunity to upland hunt also? if upland hunts in the afternoon are included, are there bird dogs?

make a list of questions and don't be afraid to call several times and discuss
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Re: North Dakota??? In reply to
My recommendation is to go further north into Manitoba. Liberal limits on ducks and geese. Kris Wujyk, Mitchitoba Outfitting. Have hunted multiple times with Kris. Great hunting and now has a nice lodge to stay. First two weeks of October can have fast hunts. You spend more time picking up decoys than the actual hunt. He is around the Salt Lakes west of Winnipeg about 3 hours drive. It's world class fowling. Buy you a bottle of Gibson Whiskey made in Manitoba while your there...

Regards,
Kristan
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Re: North Dakota??? In reply to
I hunted with Kris Wujyk about 10 years ago. I had a great time and would go with him again if I were up there looking for some hunting. Can't help you with North Dakota.
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Re: North Dakota??? In reply to
I live 40 miles west of Devils Lake, last year the hunting didn't get really good until after November 1st. I know you want to field hunt but don't pass up a good water hunt. The amount of different species is great. The best thing I suggest is bring cold weather gear,(the good stuff), I know ur from Jersey but laying on ur back for 5 hours, 10 degrees with a 30mph wind, could get chilly. That's when you shoot the snows good. By the way the swan lottery is open right now for ND. The best part of the hunt is scouting the evening before the hunt,just seeing those tornadoes is a memory, you will talk about them forever.
"When those birds stool".....takem!
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Re: North Dakota??? In reply to
Thanks for all the sound advice. I spoke with Todd and he seems like a down to earth kind of guy. Going to meet him at the Harrisburg show. I think we are going with him.
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Re: North Dakota??? In reply to
J. Clark Salyer Refuge holds good numbers of birds, loading-up with snows late in the season. A ton of posted land in the Upham/Deering area. This area around Minot is still in drought, so count on mostly field hunts. Good luck!
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Re: North Dakota??? In reply to
That's cool Kurt. I know you'll like Todd.

Let me know when you're coming to the Harrisburg show. We're having a booth there as well. We have a lanolin based lube/rust preventative I had a bunch of guys on duckboats.net field test for me last year. This year we decided to take the jump from automotive to the outdoors market and added earth and pine cover scent to it for deer hunters (https://www.pfcoutdoors.com/) We're launching it at the Harrisburg show.

Contact me closer to the show. I can either meet you at Todd's booth or our booth, or even grab a beer after the show if you have time.

Take care!
Kirk Sherbine