Pheasant Hunting Tips For Beginners
Pheasant hunting is a great way to get introduced to the hunting sports. You don’t need a lot of equipment. A shotgun, some blaze orange clothing, and a good pair of boots will get you started. If you know someone who does a lot of hunting, try to go along with them first. If you’re learning on your own, here are a few tips to get you headed in the right direction.
- Be organized and ready to hunt at legal shooting time. Pheasants are transitioning in the morning and can be found in picked cornfields, fence lines, access drives, and other edge cover. The same transitions occur in the evening but in the opposite direction. During the last hour of legal shooting hours pheasants move from feeding areas to roosting cover.
- Being quiet isn’t just for deer hunters. Pheasants learn very quickly that truck doors slamming means hunting pressure is on the way. Try to sneak in with the silence of a bow hunter.
- Take your time when walking through a property. Walk fields in a zig-zag pattern. Many hunters rush in an effort to cover as much ground as possible. Savvy birds hold tight and let hunters walk right past them. Another good trick is to stop for 10 to 15 seconds. If there is a bird holding near you, a short pause is often enough to get them to flush.
- If you’re hunting a big property, start from the back and work your way to the front. Most hunters will start hunting right out of the truck and if they don’t get a flush in the first half hour they leave. The backsides of many public hunting areas go largely untouched. This is especially true if there is a water barrier like a creek or river. Bring along some rubber boots and you may be in for the hunt of a lifetime.
- Hunting the edges will be most productive. Spots where crops, brush, grass, fence lines, ditches, and cattails transition into each other will often be the best places to hunt.
- Hunt grassy areas near standing corn early in the season. Pheasants often work in and out of corn fields and can be found adjacent to standing corn if good cover exists there.
- If the hunting is tough during the early season take some time off and come back to it later in the year. Most casual pheasant hunters only make a trip or two early in the year before hanging up their shotguns. Late season hunts are typically much less crowded and pheasants are more concentrated than they were during the first few weeks.
- If you don’t have a dog immediately mark and retrieve each downed bird. It is easy to get confused when hunting thick cover.
- Be safe, wear blaze orange, and follow hunting regulations. If you’re unsure about a law, don’t hesitate to call a warden to ask. Every warden I have ever called is more than happy to answer my questions. They may also be able to point you in the direction of some good hunting. Wardens always know where hunters are getting pheasants.