Just returned from NoDak after a week of hunting in and around the Harvey area.I'll start off by saying that I have been to NoDak a number of times before and that this was my worst trip, (bag wise) of any since I have been there. It started on the way there as I drove thru Minnesota and saw hundreds of potholes, both big and small, that were devoid of birds. Once I got to NoDak the situation did not improve. True all the potholes and big water were filled with plenty of H2O but other than mud hens the birds were few and far between. I drove from Harvey to Rugby on Tues on a scouting trip and put on about 300 miles that day and the results were the same. Very very few birds and the few that I did see spooked at the first sign of the truck stopping to look them over. The lack of birds seemed to me to be unusual and as far as mallards goes......there werent any. The few birds I did see were mostly Gaddies and a few Teal. The weather did not help at all, bright and sunny every day, despite having some good winds out of the NW. The temps at night dipped into the 20's and most of the slough's had an ice layer in the morning even though it was thin. The dumpster at the R&R motel would bear out the fact that most guys werent killing squat as it was virtually devoid of carcasses. One afternoon I did see about 50 pintails sitting in a very small pool of water so I kicked em out hoping that they would come back but they never did. My tally for the trip was 18 ducks over 5 days so it wasnt a total wash but I really had to work for them and my bag consisted of almost all Gaddies, 2 Mallard hens, and a few Teal and that was it. As for geese numbers they are there but they are in huge flocks so decoying them was not easy. I put 5000 Canadas and snows, yes they were mixed together, one night in a cut barley field, set up for them the next morning and NOTHING. The geese landed in a field about 1 mile away and there they sat.Dont get me wrong I had a good time and killed a few birds but nothing like I thought I was going to. The most disappointing thing is that I wanted a Mallard shoot one morning but it just didnt happen as the Mallards were few and far between. I'm not sure if I missed the migration or that it hasnt started but for you guys going out there this week Look north and west for birds. I hunted mostly up around Balfor, Drake, and Annamoose, and you should plan on scouting hard to scratch out a few birds. One last thing IMO NoDak is going the way of too many other states. EVERYTHING and I mean EVERYTHING is posted either by landowners or outfitters. Some landowners will let you hunt their posted property and some won't due to bad experiences with hunters, but I can see that in another few years access will be hit or miss at best. I for one will not be making the trip to NoDak again due to all the posted property. It's a dam shame that in a state such as NoDak, where you could hunt at will anywhere you wanted it has all changed and not for the better. Why anyone would have ever felt the need to lease property (read that outfitters) to hunt in a state that had free access for hunting, is beyond me but thats the way it is now and I dont see it ever going back to the way it was 10 yrs ago. Lastly I talked to a bunch of locals who all said the same thing: the migration has yet to start and when it does happen it will last a few days to a week and then be over. I would say they knew what they were talking about. Im posting this for information purposes and your experience may be different than mine so please don't frag me for posting up what I found when I was there......... P.S. I didnt see squat for Sandhills, but for the guy with the Swan permit there were plenty of them around.