Solo Pheasant Hunting
One of the reasons for bow hunting’s exploding popularity is the ability to hunt by yourself. A hunter can roll out of work and into a tree stand in no time. Pheasant hunting is usually thought of as a social endeavor. Two or three hunters and a dog or three work together to put birds on the ground. Some pheasant hunters wouldn’t dream of going into the field without their buddies. But hunting pheasants by yourself isn’t as impossible as it sounds. Even though it is harder to cover ground, there are some advantages to hunting alone.
Heavily pressured birds know when hunters are pursuing them. They relate voices and other human caused noises with danger. Fewer people make less noise and lead to the possibility of more birds flushing within range. Of course, many birds, especially heavily hunted pheasants, will run ahead of or around hunters before flushing.
Hunting groups usually setup blockers to hunt running birds. Solo hunters can use blockers too. But you have to use the terrain to do the blocking for you. For instance, if there is water on a property birds will eventually get up when they run out of real estate. Driving pheasants toward a water feature, especially a creek or river is an excellent solo hunting tactic. Simply weave back and forth through cover toward water. If there are pheasants in the area, they will move into heavy cover like cattails until flushed.
If no water is present, pinpoint the heaviest cover on a given property and work the property toward it. Fence lines and creek beds are nice spots to drive and you may even fill your game bag as you work them. Once the easy walking areas are covered, move into the thick stuff. Most of the birds that never got up are likely going to be in the thick cover and there is a good chance that they will hold until you get close enough to shoot before flushing. Keep in mind, hunting by yourself means walking the same spots twice. Smart pheasants will often circle back around you.
You will need quality boots and healthy lungs to hunt pheasants by yourself. With no one to help, you’ll have to walk all of the cover yourself. A dog will certainly help cover ground. If you have a good pointer, hunting by yourself may actually be more productive than hunting with a group. Some hunters specialize in solo hunting and they put a lot of time into their dogs. If you know hunting by yourself will be the norm, investing the time and money in a good dog is well worth the effort.
Even if you don’t have a great dog, try hunting pheasants by yourself. There are a lot of days when I just can’t find someone to go along. Instead of sitting on the couch, I head out by myself. Even if I don’t end up with pheasants the day is still a success. After all, a bad day of hunting still beats a good day of work!