View Full Version : Help - need shotgun advice for SD pheasant hunt

August 18, 2002, 08:53 PM
Hi, shotgun-totin' friends. I need some advice, please. I've used shotguns a lot in defensive-type scenarios, but have never done much hunting with them, apart from using slugs on deer. I now have an opportunity to hunt pheasant in South Dakota in October, and need some advice.

I have a Remington 1100 LT-20, which I'd like to use if possible. Is this gauge adequate for pheasant, or is a heavier 12-gauge load more appropriate? What shot size in 20ga. would be best? Any recommendations as to choke (IC, Mod. or Full)? (I know this is a function of range, but those of you who've hunted pheasant in SD may be able to let me know what is the most common choke selection for the conditions there.)

If a 12-gauge is a better proposition, again, what shot size? What choke? Any suggestions on the best gun to use? (I doubt whether I'll buy one specially for the trip, but I daresay I can borrow a Remington 1100 or 11-87 in 12ga. from a friend, if I beg and plead hard enough!).

slick slidestop
August 18, 2002, 09:12 PM
I hunted South Dakota Pheasant and they are big, tough birds. I used an 11-87 Premier with 2 and 4 shot if I remember correctly(it's been about 7 years ago).

I hope you have dogs available, because we didn't and we didn't have enough blockers, so they usually just ran through the rows away from us. It was a lot of work for us, but a memory I will never forget.

Prepare for some high winds and snow in October. (we had 50 MPH winds one day) Also learn the difference between a Truck and a pick-up and Supper and Dinner and a Crick , not a creek (We got a lot of ribbing over these terms)

Use the same weapon you would use for duck hunting(big ducks, not teal) and you will be ok.

When we went you could shoot 15 roosters per non-resident license over a 2 week period. When you filled that permit, you could buy another for another 15 birds.

My friends family had a farm there, so we got 3 hots and a cot, and we did some chores to show our thanks... a nice trade

August 18, 2002, 09:25 PM
ahem...I'm not bragging but I've shot more than a few wild pheasant. Many in SD and more in Nebraska.
You didn't say if you would be hunting over dogs. a 20g is plenty over pointers or close working retrievers. 3"mags would give you a little more knockdown. I like 4s and 5s in the 20g for pheasants.
My favorite pheasant medicine is the Fiocci "golden Pheasant" loads with nickel plated #5 lead in 2.75" 12g and I'm pretty certain there is a 20g Golden Pheasant loading now also.

August 18, 2002, 09:51 PM
Your 20 is plenty for early season roosters---use number 4 or 5 shot---6's will do if that's all your can find------use 3 inch shells if your gun will chamber them. IC or MOD choke tube---use the MOD choke if you gun will only take 2 3/4 shells.

You'll be walking A LOT---so lighter is better.

You'll need a 12 for late season---because by then they are really wary and conditions are worse.

I live in Nebraska and hunt in South Dakota often-----usually opening day in South Dakota is warm and sunny---but don't plan on it---be prepared for any weather conditions. Also- you can't hunt till 10:00am or noon something like that?? in SD---not NE---NE is at the crack of dawn.

Usually when we hunt up there---it's go out and shoot a few birds----go back to town for lunch and to watch the football game----then back out to shoot more birds later in the afternoon.

I can't wait!!!!!!

August 18, 2002, 11:47 PM
If the wind is up take the 12 ga loaded with 1 1/4 oz of 4 or 5 shot at 1400+ FPS and a full choke. If wind is not up take your 20 with one oz of 5 shot.

August 22, 2002, 08:47 PM
For the most part, the earlier the season, the smaller the shot. Also early on, start with IC unless birds are skittish.

I use a big 870 Wingmaster with a 30-inch barrel. That will change as I am going to a 26-inch Hastings barrel with chokes this year.

I start out with 12 gauge Federal Premium 2 3/4 loads that are copper plated. I like No. 6 to start out, but on a windy day I will use No. 5 or No. 4.

Later in the season, especially on public land, I use No. 4 shot with the same Federal Premium delivery mechanism. I might even dig out some 3-inch mags for a long poke.

Dogs are the only way to hunt roosters. If you are blessed to have a pointer that will allow you to get close and have time to get set for a shot, a 20 gauge is great.

I have a 3-year-old male field bred English springer spaniel that stays close, but the flushes are more of a surprise! He doesn't point but will actually will look back to see if I am in position before he tears in after a bird. That moment of eye contact is my favorite part of hunting with a dog.

Later in the season, screw in a full choke and use larger shot, and maybe a 3-inch shell. That 20 will be just fine -- and even better if you practice a lot before going to South Dakota.