Pheasant hunting tips and gear for beginners
Pheasant hunting is a good introduction to bird hunting since it is easy to understand the basics but hard to master. A successful hunt takes patience but not a lot of gear.
Early-season pheasant hunting is especially easy since the weather is usually mild. No matter what time of year you are going hunting, there is some gear you’ll want on hand.
The basics of pheasant hunting
Pheasants are elusive birds that can often be found in dense grasslands and near water. The early morning and late evening are the most popular hunting times.
It’s common to use a bird dog but not necessary. Labs are popular for flushing and retrieving while pointers are for, as the name suggests, pointing to where the pheasants are. Not every dog is cut out for hunting, so only bring a dog that has been specially trained.
Licenses and permits
To go pheasant hunting you must have a hunting license in the state where you are hunting. If you are from Kansas but hunting in Oklahoma, you'll need an Oklahoma hunting license. Consult the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to find a hunting license retailer near you.
You may also need pheasant stamps or tags or to register any shot roosters on your license. In most states you can get fined for not properly recording a kill, so do plenty of research.
Practice and knowledge
When it comes to practice and knowledge there is no substitute for experience. Spend time figuring out your aim and personal quirks when hunting. If hunting with a dog they also need practice with you and your hunting method.
If you are new to hunting, also consider taking a hunter’s safety course. It will help you stay safe no matter what and where you are hunting.
Knowing how to dress a bird can also be helpful but isn't necessary with pheasants. So having a bird knife is nice, but not usually required.
Firearms for hunting pheasants
Shotguns are the primary firearm for hunting pheasants and most fowl. Twelve and 20 gauge shotguns are by far the most popular, but there is a wide range of options. Simply choose a firearm with a caliber heavy enough to take down mature birds.
In addition to a shotgun, some people recommend bringing a rifle when you hunt just in case a vermin goes after your kill. But most of the time, it’s not necessary and can weigh you down.
Clothes for pheasant hunting
When choosing clothes for pheasant hunting, be aware of how bulky each item is. You want to make as little noise as possible to keep from spooking the birds. Likewise, you need to be able to move freely, so don’t choose anything that restricts you.
Carhartt Men's Knit Cuffed Beanie: available at Amazon
Some areas also have detailed requirements on how much blaze orange you have to wear and where it needs to be. Choose your gear accordingly. This hat is a practical starting point since
Gamehide Switchgrass Upland Field Bird Hunting Vest: available at Amazon
Upland Vests are an absolute must when hunting pheasants and other fowl. Ideally, you want a vest with blaze orange on it, like this one.
ADAFAZ Camouflage Hunting Suit: available at Amazon
This camouflage hunting suit includes a light jacket and pants, making it great for early season.
North Mountain Gear Lightweight Touchscreen Camouflage Hunting Gloves: available at Amazon
These gloves are best suited for early to mid pheasant season since they are a bit light. But they have touchscreen tips so you can easily use your smartphone.
Simple Man Game Calls Paracord Small Game Strap: available at Etsy
Having a game cord makes carrying pheasants, ducks and any small game much easier. This one is handmade out of paracord, so it is durable and easy to use.
Safety and emergency gear
If you are doing any kind of hunting, there are some items of safety gear you need to have with you. This includes basic supplies such as eye and ear protection. It also includes sometimes overlooked items like a first aid kit and a survival whistle.
Howard Leight by Honeywell Genesis Sharp-Shooter Clear Lens Shooting Glasses: available at Amazon
Glasses protect your eyes from debris, and these clear lenses work whether you are in the field or at a shooting range.
LYSIAN Ultra Soft Green Foam Earplugs: available at Amazon
Ear plugs protect your hearing when you are shooting in the range or field. Plus, these are disposable and easily fit in any size ears.
TIANBO FIRST Small First Aid Kit: available at Amazon
While it might weigh you down, keep a first aid kit in a vehicle or bag close to where you are hunting. This pack contains 120 pieces and will be helpful whether you need a tourniquet or have a hot spot on your foot.
LuxoGear Survival Whistles With Lanyard: available at Amazon
Keeping a survival whistle with you reduces risk when you are hunting. Plus, these come on a lanyard, making them easy to put under a shirt or vest so they don’t catch on anything.
Gear for pheasant hunting with dogs
No matter how your dog is trained, you must bring a rabies certification. Some states will have other required paperwork, so consult your vet.
If you are taking a dog hunting with you, make sure to have food, water, treats or other required supplies. There are many different methods for training hunting dogs so bring gear that suits your method. For example, dog whistles and tracking collars.
Browning Hunting Full Coverage Dog Vest: available at Amazon
While not necessary in most states, having your dog wear blaze orange makes them easier to spot. Plus, it protects them from barbed wire fences and brush.
Kurgo Blaze All Season Dog Boots: available at Amazon
Dog boots are ideal when taking a hunting dog with you. Look for those that are water-resistant, otherwise, they won't stand up to the elements.
Jackalyn Beck is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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