The Upland Bird Hunters Library - Partridge Hunting Techniques
Hungarian Partridge Hunting Techniques
Ever since the invention of firearms, gray partridge have been an important gamebird in Europe. Beaters were often used to drive the birds toward shooters stationed at the ends of fields. It is interesting to note that during the 1700s, Germany had a "cocks only" season on partridge. As the birds flushed towards them, the shooters selected only those birds with the dark horseshoe mark on the lower breast. Since the horseshoe mark is not a reliable method of determining sex, the German hunters were obviously killing some hens, but this "cocks only" hunting season was used for many years.
Before a snowfall, hungarian partridge can be hunted in picked cornfields or open grassy areas in much the same way you would hunt for pheasants. Hungarian partridge are jumpy and will usually flush as a covey, at flush they often squak warning calls while the hunter is still 30 or more yards away. If the hunter is a good shot and is armed with a 12-gauge, full-choke shotgun he may be able to harvest a few partridge before they get out of range. After flying for several hundred yards, the partirdge covey will usually alight as a group on open ground. If the birds are followed up by the hunter, the covey will usually flush just before the hunter gets in range. If this tactic fails to discourage the hunter, the birds may eventually set down as singles in a grassy area or hayfield. Singles hold better than the coveys and may provide some excellent close-range shooting.
When there is snow on the ground, partridge are easier to locate but often more difficult to approach. Under these conditions, some hunters have found they can get closer to these wary birds if they are wearing white coveralls. Bird dogs are not essential for partridge hunting. A wide ranging dog will often flush the birds beyond gun range. However a well-disciplined dog that stays close can be very helpful for partridge hunting.
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