Pheasants: Rethink Your Bird Hunting

Pheasants: Rethink Your Bird Hunting
Infographic by Ryan Kirby (click to enlarge)

Hunting for pheasants is far from a complicated sport. For the most part, all you really need is an area with good habitat that will hold birds and to have enough gumption to get out and stretch your legs.

But somewhere in that simple process, the human element can interfere. Preconceptions multiplied by misconceptions can soon equal poor implementation of effective hunting strategies, and create frustration.

In my years of guiding, I've noticed a few areas where hunters could improve their methods and, in turn, enjoy more success while hunting pheasants. The next time you hit the field, you'll now have the cerebral ammunition to give yourself the best opportunity to bag more birds.

Shutterstock image


GOOD DOG WORK


The first order of business is having good dogs and, beyond that, having them ready to go. Hunting dogs that also serve as family pets are fine. But they must be in far better than city-shape. You owe it to them to guarantee they are in proper hunting form prior to hitting the field.

Far too often clients arrive with their dogs inadequately conditioned to negotiate thick cover and track down wild birds. There is nothing worse than seeing our furry friends struggling to do what they love — finding, putting up, and then proudly retrieving a large cock pheasant for us to admire.

BE IN SHAPE

While on the shape subject, this applies to you as well. Building up your cardio training is one thing, but preparing your body for uneven terrain while pulling your legs through thick cover requires other types of conditioning. Working out on the treadmill at the local gym and concentrating on the pretty thing exercising near you is certainly helpful. But, you should really be taking in scenery of the outdoor type by getting out walking and working with your dog, preferably in areas that are off the beaten path and require a little endurance.


This also serves to further the bonding process with your pup and provide it with valuable fieldwork. In return for this quality time, the dog will reward you with the very best hunting skills it can muster. After all, for most of us, watching our loyal companions perform at peak level ranks as high or even higher than bag counts.


Infographic by Ryan Kirby (click to enlarge)


DRIVE THE FIELD

TO MORE EFFICIENTLY HUNT a large field, cut it in half and hunt each half as you would hunt a regular-size field. Have your blockers stand near the natural pinch points and heavy cover, as opposed to the ends of the fields. You'll shoot more roosters by the end of the day with this strategy.


HAVE A BETTER GAME PLAN

Hunting pheasants is supposed to be relaxing, and it can be. But don't become lackadaisical and make the mistake of taking the birds' keen senses for granted. Be diligent about remaining sharp as you are stepping into the multi-faceted world that a wild bird lives in year-round. Never forget that you are playing by their rules.

Unfortunately, I see a similar scene play out time and time again each year as truck doors and tailgates slam, dog whistles blow and all the other silly things hunters do to inadvertently signal to all the critters in the area that danger is present. Don't start your hunt off haphazardly and on the wrong, loudly placed foot. At the first indication of unnatural noise, the birds will not only be running for cover, but will also be flying away. You may not even realize it unless the opposite end of the field explodes with roosters. Regardless, if you begin your hunt like this, it will be largely over before it ever really starts.

To avoid these common mistakes, have a firm game plan in place before even entering the field. Be certain that it is completely understood by each and every one of your players, as one weak link negates all other planning. Immediately upon arriving in the field, everyone needs to get out of the vehicles as quickly as possible and take their respective places in one smooth and relatively quiet motion.

Everything you need, which isn't much, should be ready to roll before arrival. Coats, vests, gloves and hats need to be on before you step out of the vehicle. Make that a habit, and I can guarantee your success rates will soar. Not being ready shows a shallow disrespect for not only the pheasants, but also for your hunting partners who are considerate enough be properly prepared. Believe me, you will not make yourself popular by having others continually wait for your entirely unnecessary pregame follies. Do yourself a favor — don't be that guy.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Lure Lock Options Includes LED Light Boxes & More

Lure Lock Options Includes LED Light Boxes & More

Pro angler Jonathan VanDam showcases new offerings at ICAST 2019, including the ultra-thin, big bait boxes, LED-lighted boxes and backpack-able gear lockers. With Game & Fish Editorial Director Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2019 in Orlando.

Minn Kota's Brad Henry shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead that there's much to like in the new Minn Kota Riptide Terrova saltwater trolling motor that comes with I-Pilot and an 87-inch shaft.

MLF Pro Tips: Go-To Baits for the Spawn

MLF Pro Tips: Go-To Baits for the Spawn

Major League Fishing pros talk about the first lure they choose when targeting spawning bass.

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

Fresh off catching the biggest bass in ICAST Cup history, 13 Fishing pro Jessie Mizell shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the new Big Squirm soft plastic worm and the company's unique Pathfinder topwater walking bait that is totally weedless in design.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish. Records

Upon Further Review: 70-Year-Old Catfish Record Voided

Game & Fish Digital Staff - May 22, 2019

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish.

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews of smelly ingredients often used to catch catfish. Catfish

How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait

Keith Sutton - August 04, 2015

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews...

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll find the Garden State's hottest bass fishing. Destinations

7 Best Bets for New Jersey Bass

J.B. Kasper - October 04, 2010

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll find the...

If you haven't looked at the smaller urban lakes in your area, you are missing out on some great bass pond fishing. Bass

Bass Pond Fishing: Catch Lunkers at Small Lakes Near You

Dan Anderson

If you haven't looked at the smaller urban lakes in your area, you are missing out on some...

See More Trending Articles

More Upland

Hunters can change between two choke-tube settings with a ‘twist and click.' Other Hunting

New TRUGLO Choke Tube Built for Dove Hunting

G&F Online Staff

Hunters can change between two choke-tube settings with a ‘twist and click.'

Fix your faults to get more hits on grouse this season. Upland

10 Ways to Eliminate Wingshooting Miscues

Tom Keer - November 05, 2019

Fix your faults to get more hits on grouse this season.

Hunting dog kennels continue to evolve with unique features and designs. Upland

Canine Carriers: 3 Great Hunting Dog Boxes

Scott Haugen - August 15, 2019

Hunting dog kennels continue to evolve with unique features and designs.

South Dakota's milo fields tell stories of decades-old tradition. Upland

Welcome to the Pheasant Hunting Mecca

Laura Kovarik - November 20, 2019

South Dakota's milo fields tell stories of decades-old tradition.

See More Upland

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now