Pheasants are among the most hunted of game birds, and thanks to being introduced into many new areas, they can be found in countries around the world. These are colorful, good-sized birds that have very good tasting flesh. They range from plains and prairies to mountain slopes. Even their feathers are treasured by fly fishermen. However, they aren’t necessarily easy to find and bag.
These birds blend in so well to the background that it is quite difficult to see them. The male does tend to make a characteristic call periodically, though. People who have been into the country have most likely heard the pheasant’s crow, though they might not have known what the sound came from. It is even featured in many western movies and TV programs because it is a hallmark of the ‘wild west’.
The crowing not only alerts the hunter to the presence of a cock pheasant, it also gives them an important tip about hunting these birds. The crowing is a signal to other cock pheasants that they own the territory. Pheasants have very good hearing, which would be needed for the crowing to be effective.
This means that if you are hunting these birds, do so without making a lot of noise. Load the shotgun before you go into the field and don’t slam the pickup or car doors. If you must talk, do so very quietly. The bigger pheasants are usually the older ones and they got to be older by paying attention to sounds. Making sounds that they can hear plainly and which are out of the ordinary is likely to spook this game bird. If that happens, your success rate is likely to plummet.
Additionally, this is a slow moving game bird. They aren’t prone to flight except to escape immediate danger. A mistake that even seasoned hunters often make is to move through a field too quickly. Older cocks, alerted to the hunter’s presence will simply run to one side and then circle back around so they are behind the hunter. The hunter isn’t successful in even seeing the birds, though they are there.
It is far better to move a dozen feet, slowly, and then stop and take your time looking around and listening for movement, before moving on. This approximates the movement of grazing animals, which the pheasant perceives as no threat. It can even be useful to just sit down for a spell and let the birds come to you. You could be in a big field of wheat, but even though they are slow moving, pheasants get around. The key is to minimize the feeling of threat.
Don’t make the mistake of hunting too early, either. That goes for the time of day and the time of season. Eager hunters are likely to be in the field early in the season and early in the day. The hunters tend to retire toward the middle of the day. That gives you a distinct advantage.
Pheasants feed throughout the day, and the tendency is for the smaller and less experienced birds to be shot early in the season. The cocks that have been around for a while have learned the trick of staying under cover early in the day and season. If they didn’t, they’d have already been eaten. Take this advantage and be successful.
It doesn’t take many tips before you can see a substantial success rate when hunting pheasants. Understanding the behavior of the birds will help you greatly. These tips all have to do with the behavior of these wonderful game birds. Crank up the stove and get it ready for a feast of pheasant, because if you follow these tips, you are likely to have one ready by dinner time.