View Full Version : Pheasant advice/help.......

September 29, 2007, 05:47 PM
First time trying this so would like some advice..........

Going to SD in two weeks. Suposed to be hunting WILD birds with dogs.

We have a O/U 20 with fixed SKEET/SKEET and a 3" chamber that my wife uses. I've got a 12 with either a IC or a Full.

What shot size? Do we need 3" in the 20?

The IC and SKEET/SKEET will work when hunting over dogs early in the season?


We will be flying into Sioux Fall and driving to Gregory, right past a Cabelas. Plan on getting shells there..............

September 29, 2007, 06:21 PM
I do a lot of pheasant hunting and all i use is number 6 high brass copper platted,,,,you pay a little more but the copper platted shot stays round and flies straighter and farther

September 29, 2007, 06:23 PM
The more open chokes are OK?

1 oz shot? More?

September 29, 2007, 07:11 PM
Guarantee you folks will have a great time and that includes the dog.

20 Ga. will do fine.
I prefer modified but shoot what you are use to.
I prefer 2-3/4 but have used 3"
Copper and/or buffered shot is very good and I prefer five or six shot.

Watch the dogs as they will let you know what's going on. Young birds may not have much of a tail feather so look for the ring and listen for a cackle. They like to play the wind as they may jump up into it, pause or do a fast 180. Give yourselves plenty of room and hunt safe .....

September 29, 2007, 08:11 PM
The answer kinda depends on what type of tactics you'll be using...

Most pheasant hunting I've seen in SD is large numbers of hunters pushing corn fields with posted shooters at the end, and lots of dogs running in between and slightly in front of the hunters. In the right area, when done correctly, this tactic will put up more birds than you thought possible.

Especially early season, some birds will flush wild in front of the walkers, but most birds tend to RUN in front of the hunters/dogs and hunker down at the end of the field not wanting to expose themselves to the posters. Eventually the walkers/dogs get close to the end, and the birds have no choice but to fly.

In this type of hunting I think a 20 with skeet chokes is marginal. A high-hard flying pheasant is not the easiest thing to kill. You need to put a bunch of pellets in them to avoid running cripples. I'd go with 3" #4 buffered shot. Keep your shots close, and don't bother with the high flyers.

Also, if you're doing this kind of hunting, it can get WILD. I've seen litterally hundreds of birds in the air at once. Don't shoot any bird unless you see sky behind it. I've been hit with bird shot before, and it isn't fun.

On the other hand, If you're working with small groups, especially over pointing dogs (or close working flushers) I think it's less of an issue. 2 3/4" #4, #5 (my personal preference) will be fine.

In your 12 gauge I'd run the full choke. 2 3/4" #5 shot. 3" isn't necessary, and it just hurts you shoulder more.

Good luck.


Zombie Steve
September 30, 2007, 12:12 PM
I have to side with wingshooter1.
#6 copper plated 2-3/4" and you'll be fine. The open chokes may limit your distance shooting, but again, if you stay up close to the dogs, you'll be able to knock them down.
I think if you are going with a 3" #4 load you'll get a cloud of pink mist and feathers.

September 30, 2007, 03:02 PM
My suggestion to go to 3" #4 was to compensate for not enough choke. Note that a 3" 20 gauge shell is the rough equivelent (shot wise) to a 2 3/4" 12 gauge.

Pink mist? Hardly. At any realistic distance it will just result in more dead roosters and fewer cripples.


September 30, 2007, 03:32 PM
So are they harder to knock down than ducks or is the issue more the fact that they will run like heck when they hit the ground?

We used to hunt wood ducks and the standard for them was 7 1/2s in thick woods and 6s out on the river over decoys.

If I understand corretly we will be hunting with a dog and it will be, unless we chose otherwise, just us and the guide.

We went through a few boxes of shells at the range this morning and as best I can tell the Skeet choke is only good out to about 25 yards or so on the clays. With a 1 oz load of 4, 5 or 6s it seems like the pattern would get kind of thin quick...........maybe should go with 6s in that one?

The 12, go with heavier load of 5s and let her take the first shot in close if possible.

And I do hear concensus that copper plated shot penetrates better and is worth the extra dollar?

All the input is appreciated...............

September 30, 2007, 06:44 PM
Please excuse what I am about to say but think you are working too hard at this. My hunting buddy shoots skeet twice a week and shoots 7-1/2 shot. I only hunt and am more comfortable 5' and 6's buffered or copper. Forget the 3's and 4's as you will be second guessing yourself all day. You will get plenty of shots and more hits than misses. When you hit one, watch how he hits the ground and how he holds his head. If he comes down with his head up, you could have a runner and the dogs will have to go to work.
Just do your best in your own best ways ..... Hunt Safe

September 30, 2007, 06:54 PM
I hunt pheasant every year as many times as possible, plus I take a week off work and spend it hunting pheasants on the Snake River. I have 2 Brittanys that work the birds pretty well, but there are still some birds that think they are Olympic sprinters and flush at 100-150 yds out. I have settled on high base 5s and have had excellent luck with them for over 25 years. Enough energy to knock down a rooster at 45 yds, and they can be hard to kill. But the shot size is not the issue here. The main thing I keep struggling with is not leading them enough. When the bird flushes, most people (me included) get focused on the center of the flying bird. The only problem with that is the tail is 2/3 of a flying pheasant's length, so you will tend to miss behind or hit towards the back of the bird. When I have my wits about me, I try to focus on the bird's head as a target. That way, when I do connect, they hit the ground dead. Don't get me wrong, I miss my share of birds, but a lot of them hit the ground and stay. And those that don't have to contend with my dogs.