Learning How to Pheasant Hunt Part 2- The Lesson
Updated: Nov 25, 2020
Pheasant hunting is one of the most fun forms of hunting I have experienced. You can generally be as loud as you want, you can walk leisurely, and you can do it in the middle of the day (no early mornings or late nights required). In order to make the most of the fun a field, I have recommended some gear. Below is a list of things that I found to be helpful in either comfort or function on my first couple of pheasant hunts where I was accompanying other experienced hunters with their dogs.
Chaps or field pants
These are probably the biggest comfort and function piece of gear for pheasant hunting in my limited experience. Depending on the field you march, you could be covered in burs, breaking sticks, and or getting ripped by thorns. In general, you want a pair of durable pants that don’t attract burs. Denim works and so does silent hide. Cabela’s sells a budget-friendly set of jeans (in blue, brown, or green) around $30 that I picked up and I have been very happy with their performance. It was a great starting product that saved me lots of scrapes and time picking burs.
Depending on your environment, you will want to choose a boot that fits your needs. I like the rubber calf-high boots for their versatility, scent reduction, and water repellent in slightly marshy areas. However, you may be better served with a hiking style boot for distance. You will have to figure out what works for the land you are hunting.
The shirt is dependent on your preference. I have seen guys wear tee shirts, long sleeve shirts, button-downs, and every other fabric out there. Generally, I would say you should see what kind of field you are hunting and pick appropriately based on temperature. I usually would rather be a little warm and not have to deal with brush or bugs, so I lean towards a long sleeve shirt of some kind that does not attract burs for warmer fall days, and a light bur-resistant material coat on colder ones.
You do not need a vest to pheasant hunt. However, you will want to wear some orange on your body along with your hat to signal other hunters you are in the area. Vests also make it much more convenient to carry any birds you shoot along with your ammo or other accessories without having to also carry a pack of some kind. They can add a layer of brush protection in certain environments and you can pick one up pretty cheap at almost any outdoor store or online shop.
You do not need a gun. Technically you could hunt pheasants with a bow or crossbow, but it is generally harder and not common.
If you are looking for a pheasant gun, just about any shotgun will work. Pick what fits your pull length (feel) and your budget. Those are bigger factors for me than individual gun attributes. I learned very quickly that shotguns are a feel instrument. You need to go rent some on a clay course and see what feels better to you while you shoot. Generally, if it feels better and fits your pull you will shoot better in the long run.
Budget is a factor for most people, which just solidifies the fact it is worth your time to go rent and try some different guns before you buy one.
Pheasant hunting is super fun and one of the most approachable, budget-friendly hunting options for beginners. The biggest financial costs are the gun and dog, and you do not have to own either one to get experience with the help of some pheasant hunting friends. Getting good at wing shooting takes practice. Go to clay courses and put some time into getting better in the offseason. Seek out some buddies with dogs that have some extra time. Often, they enjoy letting their dog work just as much as shooting birds. Don’t be afraid to ask to borrow guns when you are just starting. It’s a great way to try different models or get your first experience without making a big, non-returnable purchase. However, do a little homework on who you are borrowing from, and what type of gun you will be borrowing. Firearm safety is still in your hands and it should not be taken lightly. Learning to pheasant hunt is a fantastic way to experience the outdoors and it can provide a lifetime of locally and ethically sourced meat for you and your family.