A Sportsman’s Guide to Pheasant Hunting

A Sportsman’s Guide to Pheasant Hunting

Pheasant hunting is another recreational sport that has a beginning way back in history. It was a sport for royalty and recreation that became a way to feed ones family. Now it is a way to enjoy hunting and control over population. There are still those who enjoy a meal of pheasant and I am sure this will always be the case. When it comes to getting into the sport, it can be relatively inexpensive and is a good place to start. Of course, one pheasant fever kicks in; costs can grow, especially for those who choose to find the perfect hunting dog.

Pheasant Hunting

Beginners

Beginners can get into pheasant hunting pretty inexpensively. The only absolutely necessary items being a shotgun, orange protective gear, a sturdy set of boots, and the appropriate hunting license. It is also relatively easy to find the game you are looking for in rural areas. Morning hunting is the best, and any crop field, fence line, or underbrush area is a good place to look. Walking the perimeter of these places can yield a few plump pheasant. Be cognizant of other hunters in the area to avoid any accidents. It is typical for hunters to shoot towards the center of an open area; that is why it is important to stand on the perimeter of these areas. Likewise, you would not want to fire a weapon across a fence line towards someone’s home or across a roadway. These are all very dangerous approaches that could get you in a lot of trouble. Another good idea is to start at the rear of big open hunting areas. Pheasant tend to find safe havens there, and since most hunters start at the front of the property, this is a good location to try your luck. If it is early in the season and you are not having much luck, consider it practice and familiarization with your weapon. Most seasoned pheasant hunters wait till later in the season because they know that is when pheasant will be the most plentiful. Lastly, if you are unfamiliar with pheasant hunting laws, don’t hesitate to call the local game warden to find out; they are happy to answer questions and quick to fine those who violate the law.

The Dogs

For those seasoned professionals who have been in the game a while; pheasant hunting can be a very time intensive and fulfilling hobby. For millennia man has spent uncountable hours breeding, training, and caring for dogs that hunt alongside him. There is no exception when it comes to pheasant hunting. There are 3 distinct categories of hunting dogs: gun dogs, terriers, and hounds. We will focus gun dogs here, since these are type used in pheasant hunting. There are 3 subcategories to the gun dog group: pointers, flushers, and retrievers. As you can imagine, a pheasant hunter who enjoys hunting with a gun dog can end up with quite a pack! Gun dogs will scent an animal in the air; within a close range to their hunter and either alert the hunter or flush and retrieve the game bird. There is a lot of breeding, training and care that goes into these dogs and hunters prize them for their usefulness and versatility.

The Right Weapon

The correct weapon for pheasant hunting is a shotgun and choosing the right one is critical. You do not want a weighty one. You could be walking for miles and lightweight will be important.  For the average adult male, a 12-gauge model is the way to go. You are sure to hit your target and ammunition is easy to come by. For a young hunter, it is better to look into 16 or 20 gauge models. They are less effective but will be easier to manage. There are several 12-gauge models that are lightweight and will be easily carried on long hunts. Semi-automatic and double action shotguns are preferred by most hunters. They have consistent smooth action, especially some of the new models on the market. You can find several of these styles in any price range. Appearance of the weapon really comes down to taste and if you intend to use it for any other type of game bird hunting. There is something out there for every preference, just remember, it is a long term purchase and if done well will be something to pass down to the next generation.

Competitions

A great way to get an inside view of the world of pheasant hunting is to attend or compete in a pheasant hunting competition. These take place annually, in several states, and many hunters train during the year to participate. These competitions are usually held outside of pheasant season, so participants are getting in a little extra practice.  Gun dogs and hunters alike are tested on in their ability to follow hunting regulations and work together as a unit. There are competitions for puppies, young dogs, and seasoned pros alike. Games from these competitions are always used; nothing is wasted, as there is no such thing as killing just for fun in the world of game hunting. For those who are enthusiastic about the sport, or may be interested in getting your first gun dog; this is the perfect opportunity to get a peek into what it is like.

Conclusion

Pheasant hunting is a wonderful way for the avid sportsman to introduce hunting to a youngster and provides a lot of opportunity to grow personally. For beginners, it is an inexpensive start that can become a lifelong passion; from choosing the right shotgun to taking on your first gun dog. It is a worthy tradition that brings food to the table and controls pheasant population. When it comes to abiding by laws and using what you take; sport hunters take that concept very seriously. Pheasant hunting can be done in a couple of hours, first thing in the morning or it can be an all-day competition. However you decide to participate, do it safely and pass that knowledge on.

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