Pheasant hunting is not only a great way to introduce beginners to upland bird hunting, but it is also extremely addicting. To get started, you don’t need lots of equipment, and you just need a basic understanding of how to hunt pheasants.
Beginners can start with pheasant hunting if they want to try small game hunting for the first time. These agile, wily grassland roosters are tricky to shoot, but once you get the hang of things, you will begin hauling in several birds per hunting session.
If you want to get started in Pheasant Hunting or simply need a refresher to up your own skills, then this article is for you. In this article, we will mention 16 pheasant hunting tips that can improve your level of success this hunting season.
Pheasant Hunting Tips
Before hunting, it is important to thoroughly scout the area you intend to hunt in. Learn the layout of the land and try to find spots that seem to be a pheasant habitat. Make sure to take notes of all that information.
During dusk, the birds are in one of their most active periods of the day, making it among the best times to scout. You are most likely to spot them at this time.
2. Hunt the Right Areas
Since you can’t kill birds that aren’t there, you have to choose a good pheasant habitat to hunt. During the day, Pheasants will also move throughout various kinds of habitats, leading them to the edges of those places very frequently. Also, remember to check out the edges of the habitats, such as ditches, fence lines, and roads, as they can and do hold birds.
3. Learn to Track Signs of Pheasants
Following the sounds of crowing and tracing foot tracks is one of the best ways to monitor pheasant activity. Also, you can pay attention to any other clues you may find on the ground, like feathers and droppings.
But keep in mind that human footprints might cover those tracks, especially if a lot of hunters participate in this pheasant season.
You can only scout locations filled with tall corn stalks and cattails, and this will make things easier for you. Those birds feed on corn regularly and seek shade under tall plants in grassy, marshy positions.
Although techniques and tips are very helpful, experience is the best way to understand pheasant activity. So do not worry if you can not successfully spot the areas with high pheasant populations on your first few hunting trips. Remember their eating schedule, flocking habits, and common tendencies when being flushed.
Practice makes perfect. In order to improve your pheasant hunting success, you have to continue shooting practice. Get out to the range and practice between hunts. Upgrade your shooting skills to their maximum level to decrease the possibility of missing a bird on the next hunt.
5. Don’t Overdress for Pheasant Hunting
A lot of pheasant hunters wear heavy clothes during hunting which makes them overheat after one hour of chasing the dog chasing the bird. You want to feel a little chilly while you are standing by the truck getting ready. You will warm up soon enough.
Heavy boots or brush pants are rarely required for Pheasant hunting. Choosing something that is lightweight and easy to move around in is much better. Instead of a heavy coat, try to wear numerous thinner, lighter layers up top. When you warm up and cool down, you can easily subtract and add layers, tucking unworn clothes into your bag.
6. Do not Assume All Public Lands Were Shot Out After Opening Day
Early in the season, when many hunters trample public land, the birds will escape the intense pressure and move out to nearby private acres. Sometimes Gunwise birds use the public area as a bedroom, returning around dark to roost, then leaving at the crack of dawn.
Try hunting on public land on the same day the corn is picked on private land across the road, and the result will really amaze you. Public areas (especially wetlands) often hold birds again when heavy snows have flattened sparser cover on private lands.
7. Stay Quiet
Similar to deer hunting, it is an important aspect of pheasant hunting to stay as quiet as possible even while exiting your vehicle, as this can spook any nearby birds.
As a result, they will head to thicker cover, or they will hunker down more, making them harder to hunt. So do not slam those vehicle doors, speak softly, and take a quiet approach if you want to hunt more game birds.
8. Be Patient
A lot of roosters were able to escape thanks to the impatience of hunters. A lot of hunters become frustrated if they do not bag a rooster within the first half hour of hunting.
But it is important to be patient during pheasant hunting. If things are not working and frustration is setting in, then try to slow down and assess the terrain around you.
If you know birds are in the area but have hunkered down, slowly retrace your earlier routes. Think about any areas you might have missed and where those birds might be possibly located, then focus on those locations.
You are more likely to find pheasants and have successful hunting opportunities if you are calculated and patient in your approach.
9. Try Sleeping In
It is true that you can find some good pheasant hunting in the early morning, but those early birds will get hungry later in the day too.
During the early and late afternoon, the pheasants begin to move out of heavy cover, making it a great opportunity to hunt more birds.
You could try the afternoon hunt if the morning hunt was not successful. In this way, you will not only get some extra sleep, but the result might also surprise you.
10. Embrace the Rain
Avoiding the rain is a very common error pheasant hunters make. Although it is messy, hunting in the rain is not a bad idea as long as it is not a storm, of course.
In fact, hunting pheasants in rainy conditions is much easier. The muddy grass gives away the location of the game, and the cold weather makes it easier for dogs to track scents.
11. Hunt in Groups
Whether you are hunting a big or small game, working with other hunters is always beneficial, especially if they are more experienced or skilled than you are. This is especially crucial for beginners.
In order to ensure a successful hunting session, you need to plan with your team and create a systematic formation. Pheasants do not fly as much as other birds do. When startled or shot at by a hunter, they tend to run swiftly to the end of the fields.
Pheasants are very agile, so getting a decent shot will be quite the challenge if you are hunting alone. These birds can easily outrun newbie shooters.
If there are experienced and newbie shooters in your team, the newbie shooters can serve as distractions to flush and startle the game, while the accurate shooters are aiming at the end of the field.
When you are looking for pheasants, do not only focus on food and cover but also look for pheasants near water sources. During dry conditions, those birds will frequently congregate near water sources. Search the streams or the edges of ponds but also never forget less obvious sources like drainage ditches or large puddles
13. Thick Cover
When the temperature is below the freezing mark and the ground is covered by snow, focusing on the heavier cover will be a good idea. Pheasants will try to stay out of the cold, therefore, they will be attracted to heavy cover. The snow will leave behind evidence of the pheasants’ activity, helping you locate them in these locations.
14. Use a Good Bird Dog
A lot of hunters can successfully walk through the cover and flush birds without even using a hunting dog. But having a good bird dog can provide the best pheasant hunting experience.
They will be a great companion during pheasant hunting or other upland bird hunting. Hunting dogs like Lab or a pointer will not only find more game birds for you but also will track them down after they are shot.
Some hunters prefer Labs due to their ability to flush pheasants from heavy cover and also have an unmatched ability to track down birds after they are shot.
While others prefer pointers as they can locate pheasants hiding in brush and grass, helping the hunters to know their exact location
15. Be Careful With Hunting Dogs
Before shooting, you have to make sure that there are no hunting dogs around. Those stimulated dogs will happily chase a flushed bird.
Also, never command or pet other hunters’ dogs. Apart from being rude, doing this can severely mess up the animal training and confuse them.
16. Don’t Plan a Big Trip for Opening Day
Those who travel to hunt pheasants can make their trip 2 or 3 weeks after opening day. A lot of hunters think the best time to hunt pheasants is opening weekend, with its uneducated, unhunted birds of the year.
Actually, the weather can be hot, which cuts the scenting and endurance ability of your dog. If the fields are not harvested by opening day, these birds will be hiding between the standing crops where it is hard to reach.
If you do not have a place to hunt lined up long before opening day, you might not find one, and public areas will have a lot of crowds.
After 2 or 3 weeks from the season beginning, the crops will be in, the crowds are gone, and the weather will be cooler. Also, you can find a lot of birds left as well.