Sniper Tactics For Pheasant Hunting
Pheasant hunting is largely a social affair. It’s usually done with two, three, or more hunters and a dog or three. The camaraderie of the event is part of the fun for many pheasant hunters. But like in all other walks of life, there are others who march to the beat of their own drum. In pheasant hunting, I call these people snipers. They are often in and out of hunting areas before anyone else gets to the choice spots. They move quickly and quietly and they tend to walk with heavy game straps. For those who choose to remove the military connotation from this style of hunting, you can call it bowhunting tactics for pheasant hunters. Many of the same ideas that make successful bowhunters lead to success in the pheasant fields.
A sniper is always silent. This means closing truck doors quietly, loading guns quietly, and getting the dog out of the truck quietly. Many pheasant hunters make a party out of getting ready to step into the field. A pheasant isn’t any different than any other game species. They figure out pretty quickly that trucks and dogs equal hunting pressure. When they hear hunters coming, ringnecks run for cover. A stealthy approach can often keep birds holding tight. Hand signals for your dog and fellow hunters can be an advantage as well.
Changing The Insertion Point
Just about every piece of public hunting land has a parking area. 99% of everyone who hunts that property parks in the same place. I can promise you the birds living there also know this. Next time, stop in the parking area to get all your gear ready. I mean everything. If it’s legal in your area, uncase your gun. Make it so all you need to do is step out of your truck and grab the dog. Once everything is set, get back in your truck and drive a half mile down the road. Park alongside the ditch and sneak in as quietly as possible. This often leads to immediate flushes and I once limited out in five minutes using this tactic.
Do Your Homework
Snipers study maps, lots of maps. You should too. Google Maps offers free online satellite maps. Google Earth has flyover type views that show topography. These maps can help you choose your insertion point, plan drives ahead of time, and find honey holes many hunters don’t know about. Often times you can pick out the best cover spots just by studying satellite maps. A word of warning though, some of these maps can be as much as three years old. A little binocular time can also help out.
These tactics aren’t for everyone. Many hunters enjoy the social aspects of pheasant hunting. But if you’re looking to try something different, these ideas can help you put more pheasants in your vest the next time you’re in the field.