Speaking of a hunting dog, you should get one, not only because you will be able to find more pheasants, as well as other upland birds, but also you will have more opportunities of detecting the pheasants that have been shot. Some choose Labs as they are known for being very efficient as far as flushing pheasants from the heaviest covers and are also good at tracking the birds after they have been shot. Read our pheasant hunting dogs section for more information about this topic.
Moving on, one of the particular things that are often overlooked in the case of inexperienced huntsmen is making sure they are as quiet as possible, starting from the moment they drive to the hunting area, until the actual hunt is over. There is no such a thing as a good time to slam the door of your car. From this we can deduct that hunters should be as quiet as they can throughout the hunting experience. Forget about the old and rusted saying of yelling out in order to get the birds to move - it only works within a farm, not in the hunting field.
When to go hunting? Similar to other types of hunting, you should do it early in the morning and once again in the evening. The reason why you should do it in the morning is because this is the time when you will find the pheasants in grasses, looking for food resources. Once you and your dog arrive there, the birds will probably retreat to heavy cover until the pressure eases.
During the early season, when pheasants are almost everywhere, it’s very important to know a couple of tricks to be one step ahead of the other hunters. The opening day is probably the most crowded day, therefore wait until it’s over and then go back through the areas that have already been hunted.
Pheasants move throughout the day. Also, looking for dense or hard-to-reach covers is a good idea, as these places are the ones where pheasants might be hiding.
You could also try working on short-grass loafing areas, near crop fields. Try to be fast and ahead of everybody, as these spots are very popular among hunters. For close-range shooting, your best choices are improved-cylinder or modified-choke shotguns.
Tips for Late-Season Pheasant Hunting Back up
This is the time when many veteran pheasant hunters hunt. Following these steps, you will definitely be successful. Always keep in mind that birds seek heavier cover as the season goes on. Therefore, that is a good place to look at. Also, other good spots are offbeat ones, which are farther, and hunters find difficult to walk to that far, as well as road ditches with dense covers.
Most important of all, avoid making a lot of noise. Pheasant’s main method of detecting danger is their hearing, don’t slam the door of the car or make other unnecessary noises. However, this is not such a big problem on windy days. It is recommended to use a modified or a full-choke shotgun for long-range shots.
If you are interested in winter pheasant hunting, you should know that during a warm day, the pheasants prefer to stay out all day long, searching for food. Cattail marshes will provide good winter cover for these birds as they can easily spot predators that are moving through the dense cover. In addition, during a severe blizzard, they can easily burrow under it. Other good places for cover during winter are the abandoned farmsteads and roadside ditches.
Probably the most important tip anyone can give you regarding hunting pheasants (or any other type of birds) is to practice. As they say - practice makes perfect. There are many hunting clubs in America (and not only) that open their doors before the general pheasant season kicks in.