Can You Call Pheasants?
Updated: Dec 31, 2020
If I told you that I could use a call for waterfowl (ducks, geese, etc), most of you would not bat an eye, but can you call pheasants?
After a hunt with a buddy I needed to find out for myself so I did a little research and discovered that pheasants can be hunted with calls. Pheasants make sounds called "crows" and other communicative sounds that both males and females use for various aspects of their life. These sounds can be replicated by hunters using a mouth call. The crows and cackles may be used any time of the day, near or far from the bird.
If you already knew this, then maybe you can comment on different tactics, because during my first pheasant hunting season I got to experience the ability to call in rooster pheasants.
I was walking the field with one of my buddies and they started hammering on this call. I looked over with a sideways “what the heck was that” look and was shocked to see him with a duck looking call to his mouth. He would hit it about five times in rapid succession and it sounded just like a rooster pheasant. I could not bite my tongue any longer, I had to ask, “does that thing work?” It only took two rips and I had my answer, and it wasn’t from him. Very clearly a rooster sounded off down the field edge out to our right. After the hunt, my buddy explained that the call works primarily because the raised and released pheasants that the DNR releases are fed in pens, and when they are released they have a natural tendency to group together at the sound of that rooster crow. I am not sure if their behavior once released is food driven or social, but after that hunt, I went on amazon and bought a call. I wanted to try this thing out for myself.
The following week I went back to a piece of public land I had been bow hunting all season that also had a pheasant hunting ground adjacent to some deer woods. I sat with a crossbow on the corner of the still-standing cornfield and the hard wood-ridge behind me. I was about ten feet from the cornfield edge, and while I was sitting there waiting for evening to fully set in, I started hammering on the pheasant call. I was excited at the possibility of calling in a pheasant. I would do a five-call sequence and pause. After a few sequences, I started to hear some movement in the field. I could not tell what species it was, but I knew an animal was moving right on the edge of the field. It stopped moving, and I went silent on the call trying to hold still and be ready for whatever was going to emerge. I’m not sure if a squirrel hopped down near me or what sparked the spook, but all of the sudden, three large rooster pheasants flew up from the cornfield edge about eight yards from my folding chair. I could do nothing but hold my crossbow and smile because I had just called in three pheasants while “deer” hunting with a crossbow. I never did see any deer that trip, but I was definitely already planning some new combo spots that might put both fur and feather in my freezer on my next hunt.