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The Shotem' and Caughtem' Blog is the place to find the latest reviews and commentary on gear, destinations, conditions, events, and general knowledge to inform our readers and give our opinions to anyone listening.

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Thursday, 30 October 2014 17:32

Pheasant/Quail Hunt or not to Hunt

Pheasant Populations for Hunting are low in the Midwest

We at Shotem and Caughtem have been looking into whether or not to hunt pheasant and quail this year.  Though we love to hit the field and watch the dogs work we might just end up sitting this year out due to the drought and population numbers.  Though populations seem to be on the increase finally the last several years of drought have no doubt had poor effects.  Sitting this year out again, though sad, seems to be the right thing to do as hunters and as conservationists to make sure populations thrive for next year.  Let us know how populations have been doing in your state in the comment section below.

Kansas Upland Bird Populations in Kansas:

A copy of the 2014 Kansas Upland Bird Forecast is now available and from the looks of things, upland bird hunters will see improved populations this fall. Although below-average harvests are expected this year, hunters should see more birds and have more opportunities than the 2013 season. To view the entire forecast, visit www.ksoutdoors.com and click “Hunting,” then “Upland Birds.”


After three consecutive years of statewide declines, spring breeding populations for pheasant stabilized in 2014. The only region showing a significant decrease was the Northern High Plains. Summer brood counts show an increase of 70 percent when compared to 2013. This increase should offer improved hunting opportunities, and the best hunting this year will likely be in the Smoky Hills region. Kansas still contains one of the best pheasant populations among states and the fall harvest will again be among the best in the country; however, Kansas will again have a below-average pheasant harvest this fall.

  • Regular Season: Nov. 8, 2014 - January 31, 2015
  • Youth Season: November 1-2, 2014
  • Daily Bag Limit: 4 cocks in regular season, 2 cocks in youth season


Roadside surveys for quail showed a statewide increase of 50 percent compared to 2013. However, statewide populations are still below historic averages, and Kansas will likely have a below-average quail harvest this fall. Populations in much of the central and western portions of the state have not fully recovered from the drought. While opportunities will be better throughout most of the state this year, the best opportunities will likely remain in the eastern third of the state, particularly in the Flint Hills region.

  • Regular Season: November 8, 2014 - January 31, 2015
  • Youth Season: November 1-2, 2014
  • Daily Bag Limit: 8 in regular season, 4 in youth season

Prairie Chicken

Prairie chicken populations are generally up where the appropriate habitat exists. Hunting opportunities should be improved throughout the greater prairie chicken hunting unit; however, the best opportunities this fall will be in the Smoky Hills Region.

  • Early Season (Greater Prairie Chicken Unit): Sept. 15 - Oct. 15, 2014
  • Regular Season (Greater Prairie Chicken Unit): Nov. 15, 2014 - Jan. 31, 2015
  • Daily Bag Limit: 2. Southwest Unit closed to all prairie chicken hunting


Published in News/Events
Wednesday, 13 November 2013 23:05

Good Pheasant Hunting in Utah

We here at Shotem and Caughtem have not heard good things for the start of upland bird hunting in our area.  As such we thought we might find out where the hot spots were this year so that we might share with others on a good place to go find birds.  What we found is that Utah might be the place to go for some great Pheasant hunting this year.

More than 11,000 pheasants will be released by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources on public hunting areas during this season's pheasant hunt.  The 11,000 birds are more than six times the number released last fall and 20 times the number released in 2011.  This year's Utah general pheasant hunt opened at 7:30 a.m. Saturday and runs until Nov. 17 across most of the state.  The DWR and Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife worked together to buy the birds, which will be released in areas that have good pheasant habitat and good access for public hunters. 

In the Top of Utah area, birds will be released at the Howard Slough Wildlife Management Area, the Ogden Bay Wildlife Management Area, the Harold Crane Wildlife Management Area and near Willard Bay.  Birds will also be released on select walk-in access areas in Box Elder, Cache, Emery, Utah and Wayne counties.

For directions and a complete list of release locations, visit http://utahdnr.maps.arcgis.com .

Let us know how hunting season is going in your area in the comment section below and post pics of your adventures in the galleries.

Published in News/Events
Monday, 04 November 2013 22:05

Upland Bird Hunting Season

We at Shotem and Caughtem have recently noticed that the weather is headed for a cold change in temperature.  For us it could not come at a better time since we are mere days away from the start of Pheasant and Quail hunting season.  The unfortunate news for upland bird hunters is no state reports on their populations made for a read that got us excited as we begin to change into our warmer coats.  It seems that drought conditions and delayed crop growth has once again pushed the better populations to the northern parts of many states or has caused a reduction in overall.  The unfortunate news for upland bird hunters is no states reports on their populations made for a read that got us excited as we begin to change into our warmer coats.  

Extreme drought conditions persisted in most of Kansas again this year. While several late winter and early spring storms brought much needed precipitation across the state, levels were not high enough to recover vegetation conditions going into the breeding season. Nesting conditions were somewhat better for pheasants than our other game birds due to a later-than-average wheat harvest. Pheasants utilize green wheat for nesting more than other game birds, and a later harvest provides more opportunity for nests to hatch and young to fledge. However, the lack of precipitation in June and most of July did not improve vegetative conditions enough to provide for good brood rearing cover or sufficient insect abundance. The combination of these two deficiencies led to lower than average chick survival for all upland game birds across most regions of the state. As precipitation fell across much of the state in late summer, vegetation conditions improved, signaling improved conditions and a potential for better production in the near future.  Due to continued drought during the reproductive season, Kansas will experience a below average upland game season this fall. However, for those willing to hunt there will still be birds available, especially in the northern Flint Hills, and northcentral and northwestern parts of Kansas.

Though Nebraska also has many of the same reported problems as Kansas when it comes to Pheasant, their quail might be great hunting this year.  In contrast to pheasants, bobwhite abundance increased regionally and statewide compared to 2012. Results from the July Rural Mail Carrier Survey and the Bobwhite Whistle Count Survey both indicated regional and statewide increases in bobwhite abundance. Decreases were only noted for the North-Central region (RMCS; see reverse) and West Platte region (Whistle Count).

Published in News/Events
Monday, 21 October 2013 21:33

Pheasant Hunting Season in the Midwest

With South Dakota's opener for Pheasant Hunting Season we thought we would take a look at what has been reported from the Midwest.  With the cold temperatures and drought conditions in the Midwest this season's pheasant hunt should be more than interesting.  From the reports throughout the Midwest the season could be less than exciting.  Let us know how things are looking in your area prior to your states opener in the comment section below.

Estimates show a 64 percent drop from last year in the state's pheasant population. That's from roadside survey results released by the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks in August.  A couple harsh winters in recent years, last year's drought and this year's late spring have all been factors.
This severe weather in June that combined large hail and damaging winds dished an additional blow to pheasants around the Spink and Beadle County lines.

Runia says the birds have less habitat. There's less native prairie in South Dakota than there used to be. And the number of acres in CRP, which is a federal program paying landowners to set land aside for conservation, has dropped steadily in the state since 2007.  Unfortunately, estimated pheasant numbers are lower than they've been in years.  And this seems to be the trend across much of the Midwest.


Published in News/Events

We at Shotem and Caughtem typically do a seed mix from a local seed market to create the perfect wildlife food plot.  However, since we launched this site to inform people of products related to hunting and fishing we decided we would break from our normal routine and try some pre made products.  This year we traveled to Gander Mountain to see what our local store might have in stock and our options.  We were surprised that many of the products carried in stock were mainly for big bucks.  Though we love deer season, the amount of work it takes to install a food plot makes us want to attract more than just deer.  We like to make sure we have the opportunity to hunt all types of wild life and support our full ecosystem.  With this in mind we were disappointed that there was not a one solution option.  The company that provided the most options in stock that we decided to create our wildlife buffet was from Evolved Harvest.  We selected the four options above which we felt provided the most variety for the wildlife we intended to support but as you can see focused a lot on deer.  Again we only wanted to go off of what one can get on short notice since we like many farmers like to time planting to a good rain forecast like we had for this week.

We decided that these four products offered our best options with these criteria in mind.  A food plot that would keep a steady stream of wild life happy.  The soy beans, forage rape, turnip, clover would keep the deer more than happy.  The oats, sunflower, grain sorghum, and chicory for all things bird.  Granted we would have liked to have an option that would better cover the multitude of animals we love to see year round but this is what our options were in stock.  Cost was 90 dollars after tax.  

We wanted to give the product a less than ideal test bed to work from to really get a good test.  Since many food plots are created in less than ideal situations we wanted to do the same.  We choose a place that had never been used for this type of test.  It is a pasture that has raised cattle since it was stead ed in the late 1800's.  It had been grassland its whole life.  It did have some positives on its location as seen in the photos below.  It is right along a well traveled wildlife trail along a wooded creek in a small valley.  We did not test the soil.  But we wanted a good test of how good the product can preform in an untested rural area.  Places we like to hunt and enjoy the great outdoors.    

We first brush hogged the grass as low as possible.  Then because it was undisturbed ground we disc-ed the area several times to break the soil just enough for planting.  The more roughed up photo shows the soil conditions after we planted.  We broad casted the seed in separate strips so that over the next couple of seasons the crop would have room to grow.  In all the bags planted about half of the 3 acre patch we prepped.  It took us most of the weekend to get the ground to a point we were comfortable would be a good test of the products capabilities.  

We will keep you posted on growth and conditions as the season begins so that you to can make an educate decision on the products you choose and a true test of effectiveness.  Let us know the products you have used in the past and how they worked in the comment section below.  Or post your food plot photos to the gear section and let us know what you used and why.  

We at Shotem and Caughtem are starting to get things prepped for food plot planting season.  Any experienced hunter knows that a successful food plot can not only help lure game to their property but also provide conservation measures to ensure wildlife populations.  There are many products available that will help to create and manage your food plot, but we have also found some alternative seed sources and practices that might aid in creating a successful habitat source for wildlife on your property.  

First rule of a successful food plot, location, location, location.  All wildlife need the three basics.  Water, food and shelter.  They also like to have all these close to one another in order to avoid predators.  If a person plants a food plot away from any of these three factors it will more than likely not gain you anything when it comes to wildlife.  Therefore pick or clear a spot where your wildlife can take advantage of all three neccessities without having to subject themselves to stress from predators.  A quarter to half an acre food plot per 25 acres seems to be the going rule from what we have learned.  It should be located next to a shelter belt with good cover and close to a water source.