Archive for the ‘Pheasant Hunting Tips’ Tag

THE SOLO PHEASANT HUNTER   Leave a comment

Male Hunter 0013

Stealth and a change in hunting tactics are keys to solo pheasant hunting. Solo pheasant hunting is a challenge but by following some special patterns, it can prove successful.

Pheasant hunting is usually a social type of hunting. Several hunters drive a field with blockers at the end. Dogs probe every patch of vegetation in search of the gaudy import from the orient.

All too often, the solo hunter stays home when he cannot find a companion.

Not everyone can find a hunting partner with the same availability of time in his or her busy schedule. Perhaps they do not know someone else who is as interested in the sport. Others do not have a good dog to work the fields with them. Some times the dog is ill or tired. These are the solo hunters.

A combination of careful selection of habitat and stealth are essential to success for the solo pheasant hunter.

Sneaking up on birds is a profitable technique. They will sit tight allowing the hunter to get into range before they flush.

Nowhere is more productive for pheasant hunting than South Dakota. By studying hunting techniques from there, we can learn a lot about making pheasant hunting in the prairie state all the more productive.

Lee Harstad, veteran South Dakota pheasant hunter, recommends hunters find areas of brush and heavy cover that are next to harvested fields. “You can stalk the birds toward the open areas,” explains Harstad.   “The birds will usually flush rather than take a chance running across the bare areas.” Even if they do decide to run, hunters are able to see them and follow.

Another area to work is the fringe land area along streams. Cover is usually good here and the birds have easy access to water and gravel as grit. Late in the season, pheasants do not want to move around, as they need to conserve calories for warmth. They select areas with all they need to make it through the winter if they are undisturbed.

A little less productive are shelterbelts. These are usually areas of brush and planted trees next to grain fields. The cover is good and the birds have access to any spilled grain in the fields. Because they are more open, stalking is a bit more difficult. They do have open areas where the hunter can seek any birds trying to sneak away.

Another South Dakota hunter, the late Tony Dean, recommended solo hunters move steadily but also stop frequently. Because they are moving along in a stealth mode, it is easy to walk right past the bird who is sitting tight.

The solo hunter does better if he confines his activities to the late part of the season. The hunting pressure on the birds is less at that time of the year. Tony also recommends that one hunt the waterfowl and game production areas.

Late season solo hunters can work the areas with a lot of ground cover. Slews, cattail swamps and the like are shelters for birds. Early in the season, everybody hunts these areas but later the birds move back to them for shelter.

This type of hunting is good in public land areas. The birds are concentrated in the heaviest cover. Some birds will flush wild, but you will get some shots if you walk slowly.

Tony urged that one should find a brushy area and walk about 50 yards straight into it. Then stop and wait for about two minutes. Then he walked directly away to the left, circles around to the other side, and come in from there. This confuses the birds and confines those that would otherwise walk out on the opposite side from where the hunter enters.

Some other good areas to seek late season birds are the lowlands where landowners sometimes pile brush from other locations or where it is too wet to plow and seed. Often these areas are but a few hundred feet across and located in the middle of a harvested grain field. Smaller slews or cattail swamps will also fall into this category.

Because brush provides shelter in otherwise featureless fields, birds will huddle up in any cover they can find.

Dried up or frozen up wetlands often hold water part of the year but become dry land in the fall and winter. Due to the nature of the vegetative cover, they attract pheasants in search of a home. Take care to wear waterproof boots as all the water is not always gone or frozen and one can fall through the ice.

“Hunting isolated habitat is a bit different than working grain fields,” says Harstad. For the solo hunter they are perfect. Lee suggests that the hunter “work in a circle around the outside perimeter of the wetland. Then the hunter makes circles again and again in ever decreasing size until he reaches in the middle.” In this way, the birds evading the hunter move into the middle and he sneaks up on them until they have no place left to go except to flush.

If you have no one to team up with to go pheasant hunting, try some of these techniques. Pheasant hunting is not always a team sport.

PHEASANT HUNTING FOR THE SOLO HUNTER   6 comments

Laura 0007

Stealth and a change in hunting tactics are keys to solo pheasant hunting.  Solo pheasant hunting is a challenge but by following some special patterns, it can prove successful.

Pheasant hunting is usually a social type of hunting.  Several hunters drive a field with blockers at the end.  Dogs probe every patch of vegetation in search of the gaudy import from the orient.

All too often, the solo hunter stays home when he cannot find a companion.

Not everyone can find a hunting partner with the same availability of time in his or her busy schedule.  Perhaps they do not know someone else who is as interested in the sport.  Others do not have a good dog to work the fields with them.  Some times the dog is ill or tired.  These are the solo hunters.

A combination of careful selection of habitat and stealth are essential to success for the solo pheasant hunter.

Sneaking up on birds is a profitable technique.  They will sit tight allowing the hunter to get into range before they flush.

Nowhere is more productive for pheasant hunting than South   Dakota.  By studying hunting techniques from there, we can learn a lot about making pheasant hunting in the prairie state all the more productive.

Lee Harstad, veteran South Dakota pheasant hunter, recommends hunters find areas of brush and heavy cover that are next to harvested fields.  “You can stalk the birds toward the open areas,” explains Harstad.   “The birds will usually flush rather than take a chance running across the bare areas.”  Even if they do decide to run, hunters are able to see them and follow.

Another area to work is the fringe land area along streams.  Cover is usually good here and the birds have easy access to water and gravel as grit.  Late in the season, pheasants do not want to move around, as they need to conserve calories for warmth.  They select areas with all they need to make it through the winter if they are undisturbed.

A little less productive are shelterbelts.  These are usually areas of brush and planted trees next to grain fields.  The cover is good and the birds have access to any spilled grain in the fields.  Because they are more open, stalking is a bit more difficult.  They do have open areas where the hunter can seek any birds trying to sneak away.

Another South Dakota hunter, the late Tony Dean, recommended solo hunters move steadily but also stop frequently.  Because they are moving along in a stealth mode, it is easy to walk right past the bird who is sitting tight.

The solo hunter does better if he confines his activities to the late part of the season.  The hunting pressure on the birds is less at that time of the year.  Tony also recommends that one hunt the waterfowl and game production areas.

Late season solo hunters can work the areas with a lot of ground cover.  Slews, cattail swamps and the like are shelters for birds.  Early in the season, everybody hunts these areas but later the birds move back to them for shelter.

This type of hunting is good in public land areas.  The birds are concentrated in the heaviest cover.  Some birds will flush wild, but you will get some shots if you walk slowly.

Tony urged that one should find a brushy area and walk about 50 yards straight into it.  Then stop and wait for about two minutes.  Then he walked directly away to the left, circles around to the other side, and come in from there.  This confuses the birds and confines those that would otherwise walk out on the opposite side from where the hunter enters.

Some other good areas to seek late season birds are the lowlands where landowners sometimes pile brush from other locations or where it is too wet to plow and seed.  Often these areas are but a few hundred feet across and located in the middle of a harvested grain field.  Smaller slews or cattail swamps will also fall into this category.

Because brush provides shelter in otherwise featureless fields, birds will huddle up in any cover they can find.

Dried up or frozen up wetlands often hold water part of the year but become dry land in the fall and winter.  Due to the nature of the vegetative cover, they attract pheasants in search of a home.  Take care to wear waterproof boots as all the water is not always gone or frozen and one can fall through the ice.

“Hunting isolated habitat is a bit different than working grain fields,” says Harstad.  For the solo hunter they are perfect.  Lee suggests that the hunter “work in a circle around the outside perimeter of the wetland.  Then the hunter makes circles again and again in ever decreasing size until he reaches in the middle.”  In this way, the birds evading the hunter move into the middle and he sneaks up on them until they have no place left to go except to flush.

If you have no one to team up with to go pheasant hunting, try some of these techniques.  Pheasant does not always have to be a team sport.

TIPS FOR CHOOSING A HUNTING CLUB   2 comments

Dog0005

The two most important things in selecting a hunting club are good birds and good cover.  Everything else is secondary.

You can go to a lot of hunting preserves that have gorgeous clubhouses, expensive landscaping and all that.  But if the cover is not adequate and if the birds do not fly well, it is a big disappointment.

The science of raising birds has advanced so much that it is difficult to find bad birds anymore.  There are some really quality bird farms that raise really good birds such as pheasants and chukar.  If you have good cover at your club the hunter is going to have a very good experience in terms of good flight birds.

Remember that today’s birds are for the hunter to find.  The club has no control over whether or not you can hit them.  It is important for you refrain from having the attitude that it is like shooting fish in a barrel.  You still have to be a pretty good shot.

Although every club has its own bird dogs, some like to have clients bring their own with them.  It is important that the club have the very best dogs possible.  But the hunter can enjoy the experience so much more with his own dog.

You never want to talk about a guy’s dog.  “You might talk about his wife, but never his dog.

Early in the season most dogs are not in top physical condition.  This means that they tend to not last long in the field.  When that happens, the club owner can offer to bring out one his dogs.  They hunt every day and are in good physical shape.  They tend to last longer.

Placement of birds differs from club to club.  At some they place the birds and if the hunter has his own dog he just goes out on his own.  The club staff will check on the hunters and pick up the harvested birds.  They might also provide water for man and dog.

Many hunters fail to bring along enough shells.  Bring what you think you need and then add one box.  Inevitably anyone who goes out with one box of shells runs out.  We are just not as good a shot as we think.

Shooting safety is another consideration.  Does the club have an active program of gun safety?  Some clubs will demand that each hunters view a gun safety video prior to going out in the field.  It can really ruin a day if you shoot somebody or you shoot a dog.

The size and composition of shooting fields varies from state to state and club to club.  Some might have smaller fields with heavy timber and brush surrounding them.  Others might have huge fields of grain.  In the smaller fields the birds get up and go right to the timber.  In the larger fields with no surrounding cover you still have to be quick to get the bird before he is out of range.

Finally, does the club have a good way of preparing the birds for the trip home?   It is the hunters responsibility to have a cooler so that the birds will not spoil.  Most clubs will clean the birds and package them for the trip.  They should be marked with the date and the name of the club.

Modern hunting clubs are a far cry from the old preserves of the past.   Do some comparison shopping to find one that meets your needs.

TIPS FOR LATE WINTER PHEASANT HUNTING   1 comment

Pheasant hunting is usually a social type of hunting.  Several hunters drive a field with blockers at the end.  Dogs probe every patch of vegetation in search of the gaudy import from the orient.  Late season birds are different.  They require a change of tactics.

Not everyone can find a hunting partner with the same availability of time in busy schedules.  Perhaps they do not know someone who is as die hard in his approach to the sport as to accept the challenge of cold winds and snow. Others may not have a good dog to work the fields.  Some times the dog is ill or tired from the early part of the season.  These are the late season hunters.

A combination of careful selection of habitat and stealth are keys to success for these pheasant hunters.

Sneaking up on birds is a profitable technique.  Cold, they will often sit tight to conserve body-warming calories and allow hunters to get into range before they flush.

Find areas of brush and heavy cover that are next to harvested fields.  You can stalk the birds toward the open areas.  The birds will usually flush rather than take a chance running across bare areas.  Even if they do decide to run, seeing them allows hunters to follow the crafty birds.

Another area to work is the fringe land area along streams.  Cover is usually good and the birds have easy access to water and gravel for grit.  Late in the season, pheasants do not want to move around much as they need to conserve calories for warmth.  In any area where they find all they need to make it through the winter pheasants are reluctant o leave unless disturbed.

A little less productive are fencerows.  These are usually areas of brush and planted trees next to grain fields.  The cover is good and birds have access to any spilled grain in the fields.  Because they are more open, stalking is a bit more difficult.  Nevertheless, they do have open areas where the hunter can see any birds trying to sneak away.

Late season hunters can also work areas with a lot of ground cover.  Slews, cattail swamps and the like are shelters for birds.  Early in the season, everybody hunts these areas but sometimes the birds move back to them for shelter.

This type of hunting is good in public land areas.  The birds are concentrated in the heaviest cover.  Some birds will flush wild, but you will get some shots if you walk slowly.

Find a brushy area and walk about 50 yards straight into it.  Then stop and wait for about two minutes.  Walk directly away to the left and circle around to the other side.  Come back in from there.  This confuses the birds and confines those that would otherwise walk out on the opposite side from where the hunter enters.

Some other good areas to seek late season birds are the lowlands where landowners sometimes pile brush from other locations or where it is too wet to plow and seed.  Often these areas are but a few hundred feet across and located in the middle of a grain field that harvested earlier.  Smaller slews or cattail swamps will also fall into this category.

Because brush provides shelter in otherwise featureless fields, birds will huddle up in any cover they can find.

Dried up or frozen up wetlands often hold water part of the year but become dry land in the fall and winter.  Due to the nature of the vegetative cover, they attract pheasants in search of a home.  Wear waterproof boots as all the water is not always gone or frozen and one can fall through the ice.

Hunting isolated habitat is a bit different from working grain fields.  For the late season hunter it is perfect.  Work in a circle around the outside perimeter of the wetland.  Then repeat the circles in ever decreasing size until reaching the middle.  In this way birds trying to evade the hunter move into the middle until they have no place left to go except to flush.

Late season pheasant hunting can be difficult.  Try some of these techniques.

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