Posted 10 November 2006 - 07:30 AM
here's my thoughtslet the other guys walk the fieldsyes, they will get some birds, but some will escapetry to think like a pheasant: "where would I be if I were one?"Leon told me the mortality rate on the planted birds is very high; less than 5-10% will survive in the wild after opening weekend; being pen fed makes them stupid; hawks and coyotes eat well !a likely combination for birds are alfalfa fields with ditches that have arrowweed along the sidesa freshly cut field with cover around is even better; the mower pushes them out of the field.less water in the ditch, the better; this means drainage ditch, not incoming water.although a cotton field offers very little to a pheasant (exept cover), try the drainages around the fieldif alfalfa or sudan grass is around, good chance a bird will be there as well.get out of the car, and look for tracks; they leave a large footprintthey also are a social bird; if you jump one, good chance another will be aroundI think the biggest mistake pheasant hunters make is not finishing the walk or course; it's very important to walk that field, brush row, or drainage ditch to the end of cover; even if you haven't seen a thing; you push birds along as you walk, and they are masters at hiding for being such a large bird; I've seen them come out of a single bush not hardly big enough for a quail.Another trick is to studder step; walk and then pause, take 5 steps and stop; makes the birds very nervous and believe they have been discovered.When walking a ditch, I use this method as well as kicking dirt clods off the bank down into the ditch.I see a lot of pheasants during dove season when we are down there; I right down the roads or the fields to remember for later.Lately the irrigation district (IID) has been scraping and removing a lot of vegetation from the ditches; this includes the drainage ditches as well: I don't know why they bother with the drainages, as they destroy a lot of good pheasant habitat in the process.As far as "knowing people", I know only a couple of the locals I have met over the years; I've had an offer here or there to hunt their property; because we hunt differently than most, I usually don't have to ask.Respect the distance from occupied dwellings, don't shoot over the road, clean up your trash, pick up your casings, and you'll get along fine with most locals; take the time to stop and talk to them.Oh and one more thing; the sheep are pretty heavy this time of year in the alfalfa fields; winter range.Pheasants hate sheep; must be the fear of getting stepped on or the sheep eating all the cover down to the ground. You can't hunt the field ar area where they are; but take a look at the opposite end of the field or the drainage at the other end; the sheep will push the birds out.I hunt pheasants using 3 people; if we have a lot of cover, all 3 will walk; if only a simple ditch, 2 will walk.the 3rd brings the vehicle along behind. This way, you don't have to walk the same ditch twice, on the way back to the vehicle; saves wear and tear on you, and allows you to cover more area as less time wasted walking back to the vehicle. Of course, we take turns, and the "high" man usually drives; the one with the most birds.Anyway, having hunted down there the last 30 years, you start to learn a few things.