Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Basic Pheasant Hunting Strategy

I'm going to start this blog by discussing a basic strategy for hunting pheasants. We will build on this strategy over the next year. The first step in successful pheasant hunting is searching  for a good location at your state natural resource management department's website (or whatever your state calls the department that manages the state's hunting and fishing activities). Most state websites have information online on where public hunting lands are, and what areas of the state have the most pheasants. Another way to find the public lands is to buy a topographic atlas at a store such as Cabelas or Gander Mountain. These books will detail the locations of pretty much all the public land in a state. You will have to actually scout the land or hunt it to really determine how good it is though.

Choose a few spots to try and choose a close backup just in case your spot is taken. The best pheasant hunting lands have plenty of dense cover ( high grass, scrub shrub, cattails), agriculture fields next to it, and are not too large for the size of your hunting party. Sloughs and other water bodies with cattails can hold a lot of birds, but are hard to hunt. Also keep in mind that really cold or snowy winter weather will push the pheasants into the thickest cover such as cattails, but they will be much more concentrated.

 Slowly walk the thickest part of the cover.  This is particularly effective from mid morning till about noon and during the late afternoon. Spread out with about 30 yards between hunters and walk in a zig zag fashion (while not getting ahead of each other) across the area you are hunting. It is also important that hunters pause for about 5 seconds on a frequent basis. This mimics the behavior of some of their predators and will help make the pheasants nervous. Be sure to walk the natural edges of the cover particularly if there is a food source nearby. While planning the direction you are walking try to walk towards a place where the cover stops such as a bare field, body of water, or other environmental barrier. Often pheasants will run ahead of you until the cover ends at which point they may flush.

Another way to force the pheasants to flush is to place hunters on the corners of the cover to use as "blockers," preventing pheasants from escaping out the ends, and adding another motive to flush instead of  running.

When you are planning your hunt, choose a good time. If you only have a few days to hunt them, wait until the crops surrounding the cover have been taken in. If the crops are unharvested in the field, the pheasants will prefer to use them as cover rather than the nearby prairies or natural cover.

Look for more articles on pheasant hunting soon!

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