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Hunting Early Season Pheasants By Gary Howey

For those of us that have been waiting all year for pheasant season, well, it’s here!

Reports indicate that the pheasant outlook is good with those states that have a lot of habitat really crowing about their pheasant numbers.

Over the years, I’ve hunted with hundreds of hunter and was surprised how some of them hunted and amazed by others at how well they would look over the situation, hash things over, approaching each field differently.

Here are a few tips that I’ve learned that have helped me to become a more consistent early season pheasant hunter.

  • Once you arrive at the field that you plan on hunting, keep the noise down to a minimum as all wild game has a very acute sense of hearing.  This means, don’t slam your car door; keep the noise to a minimum.
  • If you use a whistle to control your dog, don’t keep blowing the whistle, as this will surely put the birds on alert, the last of a loud whistle is a foreign sound. If you use a whistle, try using a hawk call as this is a familiar sound and many times when the birds hear it will cause them hunker down, allowing you to get closer before the bust from the cover.
  •  Let your dog do the hunting and follow him wherever he leads you, as his sense of smell is the key to locating the birds.
  • In the early season, you’ll run into many young birds, which hold tight, allowing you to get close, so a heavy load generally isn’t needed, as it would be during the late season. Six shot is a good load to use at this time of the year and as the season progresses you can go with heavier loads.
  • Even though it’s early season, take your time hunting, as there’s no need to rush.
  • Work your way from side to side when hunting a field or slough as pheasants will run off to the side of a hunter and sit tight until the hunter passes. By working back and forth, you and the other hunters with you will eventually force those running birds into the air.
  • Stop occasionally so your dog can work the area, if you aren’t hunting with a dog, it’s still a good idea to stop as this makes those birds that have hunkered down nervous, thinking that they’ve been spotted forcing them into the air.
  • Use wingmen and blockers, as even early season birds will run ahead of the hunters.  Wingmen should be 15 to 20 yards ahead of the walkers and blockers will need to spread out at the end of the field that you’re hunting.

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Early Pheasant Hunting Tactics Gary Howey

For those of us that have been waiting all year for pheasant season, well, it is here!

Reports indicate that Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and South Dakota pheasant numbers are up, these states are really crowing about their pheasant numbers increases.

The mild winter and decent spring, as well as some improvements in habitat have helped to bring pheasant numbers back up.

I have hunted pheasants in the upper Midwest most of my life and especially in South Dakota, as that was where I grew up. If you are looking at pheasant hunting in South Dakota, you will not need to worry, as the number of birds in the state is unbelievable and there are more birds there than anywhere I have ever hunted.

Over the years, I have hunted with hundreds of hunters and was surprised how some went charging into the field after pheasants. Then there were those, which amazed me, these hunters looked each field over, hashed things over and then made a plan, approaching each field differently.

Here are a few tips that I have learned over the years that have helped me to become a more consistent pheasant hunter.

• Once you arrive at the field you plan on hunting, keep the noise down to a minimum as all wild game has a very acute sense of hearing. This means, do not slam your car door and you will need to keep your dog under control. [Read more…]

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Doves, The Aerial Acrobat 2014 By Gary Howey

Summer is quickly slipping away with the fall hunting season right around the corner.

Late summer is when I start to think about the upcoming hunting seasons with the dove season the earliest to open.

Most of the states in the upper Midwest now have dove seasons opening up around September 1.  We have two species of doves in our area we can hunt, the Morning Dove and their larger cousin, the Eurasian Collared Dove.

The weather plays a big part in the dove season, as it will not take much of a weather change for the birds to pack up and migrate south.

If a cold front or damp weather arrives around opening day, hanging around several days, many of the doves will begin to move out.

The good news is that unless the “fowl” weather stays for an extended period, the doves from up north will move down, stopping over in our area, giving us another chance to take a few doves.

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