Pheasant Hunting Tips
- Early Morning - Birds will go to feed early in the morning. Look for them at this time at or near food plots.
- Windy Days - Pheasants will normally hang out in shelter belts such as thick tree rows and heavy cover. The best way to hunt these areas is with a group of guys at the and both ends and another group working the middle in heavy cover. Great caution needs to be exercised here is in order as the birds often fly low and in large numbers.
- Early Season - Birds will flush and generally hold tight and many times within close range. They will also run ahead especially if hunted in row corps. Blocking is the common hunting tactic where hunters are placed at the end of rows while a group of hunters work down the row toward them.
- Mid Season - Birds are now wild and will usually hold tight when approached and often times the hunter will walk right by them especially in good cover. They realize if they fly hunters will get a good target and smart birds will not do this. The biggest mistake most hunters make is to walk to fast you need to slow down and walk in irregular zigzag patterns and occasional stop and turn around and look. This confuses the birds and will often times cause them to flush up close.
- Hunting Tall Grass - Tall grass hunting, such as South Central SD, is a different kind of hunting and it takes a great deal of hunter ingenuity to out fox the pheasants as they can hear you and see you coming. Unlike row crops it is not predictable where they will end up going. Pheasants can out run most dogs and would rather run than fly so it is difficult hunting for small groups. To be successful you need eight to ten hunters to converge on the area while working the hunting ground with a good dog.
- Hunting With Dogs - In case you think you don't need a good dog, you better think again. I have seen many cases where a half a dozen hunters worked a field with dogs and not get a single bird up. Immediately following that a couple of hunters walk the field with a well trained dog and they get their limit. If you have never hunted with a well trained dog you are not even seeing 80% of the birds that are out there. If you don't see birds in an area you are waling too fast and you need a good dog. It helps, of course, that you know there is good cover and that there are birds in the area. Many hunters hunt real hard in areas where there are no birds.
- Late Season - Bird hunting in late season can be real good as 70% of the hunters hunt only in the first three weeks of the season. The birds will hold tight on cold days and often times you can almost step on them to get them up. It is not uncommon during this time period for dogs to catch wild birds because they hold so tight. Birds need more food to overcome the cold weather and spend most of the time eating or sunning themselves. On real cold days birds will be close to shelter belts out of the wind. The roosters will flock together and when you jump them it is not uncommon to see 100 plus birds in one flock. This means that you have to spend a lot of time looking for that "Pheasant Honey Hole" in order to find the birds. It pays to talk to the land owners during this time as most of them know will know where the birds normally hang out during these conditions. The best part of late season hunting is you usually can have the whole area to yourself and never see another hunter.