Our tip this month is the second of a three-part series on pheasant hunting. We are going to discuss how to hunt them along with details on walk-in access information. So let’s get started!
How to Hunt Them
The most familiar approach is the traditional large crop field drive. This method requires a group of hunters and several dogs. It is good to have blockers at the end of the field covering escape routes. This will force the birds to flush rather than sneak off into adjoining cover.
1. Walk slowly into the wind or across wind. This way the dogs and birds have less chance to hear you. It is very important to walk slowly if you do not have dogs.
2. Form a line arching ever so slightly at the center. This keeps most of the birds in front not allowing them to escape out the sides. Care must be exercised as to not to create too much of an arch, as this could create safety issues.
3. Zig-zag while walking, stopping occasionally for a few seconds. This makes the birds nervous and they will flush.
The next method is ditch and draw hunting. This requires fewer hunters and can also be done solo. It is especially productive in windy conditions or late in the day. Work your dog in the ditch while you hunt up on the edge. Pheasants have a habit of flushing just beyond bushes or taller cover located in the draw. Also, birds may be along the upper side of the draw towards the edge of the cover. They will run to the corners or bends and flush, or they will run to the point where the cover thins or ends and then flush. Make sure there is a food source nearby.
Cover areas between crop fields are great early in the day or late in the day, as birds will be on the roost or coming in to roost. The corners adjacent to crop circles offer excellent hunting, as the birds roost in these areas as well as loaf there during the day.
Fence lines offer great opportunities when early season pressure has made the birds seemingly disappear. Fence lines are especially good when solo hunting. Also, cover areas of railroad easements hold good populations of pheasants. Be sure to gain permission from local yard master before hunting.
Cover and cattail areas near marshlands are great, especially during late season when birds have been pressured. These areas require a close working flushing or pointing dog who loves to bust through heavy cover.
I encourage you to hunt walk-in access areas, especially those located in remote rural areas away from larger towns. These are thousands of acres of private lands leased by the state wildlife agencies to grant access to the public to hunt. You can obtain maps of these areas, by county, online or in printed brochures from the state wildlife agency.
Good luck and we’ll see you next month when we will discuss guns, loads and safety in the field. For more detailed information about pheasant hunting, I encourage you to go to my website, www.huntsmartpro.com. Check out our DVDs on “Hunting Pheasants in the High Plains” as well as “Keys to Successful Upland Bird Hunting”.
See you again next month!
CJ & Shawnee