Three Tips For Better Pheasant Hunting
Casual pheasant hunters usually hit the fields running. Sure, they set up drives and often bring along a dog. But serious upland bird hunters know there is a sweet science to chasing ringnecks. Volumes are published every year on whitetail hunting strategies while the finer points of pheasant hunting are largely unknown to all but the truly committed. And I mean committed in every sense of the word! Here are a few tips for making your next season more productive.
Pheasants are no different from any other wild animal. When they hear predators coming, they attempt to escape. For some reason many pheasant hunters think they can be successful while making all kinds of noise. Yelling at the dog, yelling at each other, slamming car doors, and more can put ringnecks on high alert. Come up with a plan before driving an area. The plan should have a start point and an end point. If you reach the end without a bird, have a team meeting and discuss what is next. Use hand signals to make adjustments during the hunt. Also, a dog can hear quite well. If you find yourself constantly yelling at your dog, maybe he isn’t the one that is hard-headed.
No matter how talented you are and how good your hunting area is, there are going to be ups and downs during the season. There are days that are so bad you wished you stayed home. Every season there are a few days where everything comes together. Maximizing those days is the difference between a tough season and an epic one. One of my favorite public hunting areas has hundreds of acres of corn surrounding it. If you can be on that property the day the harvesters hit the corn… lets just say it’s a short hunt. I have a another favorite hunting spot that is covered in marshes. There usually isn’t standing water but the mud is so thick you can’t walk through it. However, if you show up the first few days the mud starts freezing up the hunting can be phenomenal. Both of these strategies lead to a few of my best hunts every year. But they both involve putting a few miles on the truck and knowing what is going on with the land.
Hunt The Edges
When most hunters fall out of the truck they look for big chunks of cover to start their drive. There is nothing wrong with that strategy but hunting field edges and fencerows can be very effective if you’re striking out in heavy cover. A lot of hunters overlook these spots and birds seek refuge from pressure. In thick cover, pheasants often run from hunters until they have no choice to fly. Their escape routes are more limited on field edges and ringnecks are usually more apt to fly first.