Hunting is often referred to as a sport and animals are often referred to as game. Sports have existed for eons, while hunting has existed since the beginning of mankind. Our ancestors were forced to hunt, in order to eat and to survive. Hunting, in its earliest stages was a necessity and not an option. The modern world today has taken an ancestral tradition and added another element that aids in defining the twentieth-century sport of pheasant hunting.
Sports have two things in common, competition, and challenge. When it comes to hunting pheasants or any small “game” for that matter, having a well-trained dog, or even a set of dogs provides a large advantage to hunters no matter what their location. Many aspects exist in hunting pheasants such as proper gear, equipment, landscape, or terrain commonly known as home to the birds, and of course, weapons training is required. Yet, many pheasant hunters have at least two advantages our ancestors did not have. Gauged firearms, and “man’s best friend”. The question is not whether hunting a pheasant without a dog is more difficult. Basic logic would imply hunters unequipped with a four-legged animal bred to track, spook, and aid in the hunt simply makes for more of a challenge! Dogs or no dogs, hunting has never been considered “another day in the office” and is a great way to spend a weekend.
Who’s ever said pheasant hunting was supposed to be easy?
Some may say a pheasant hunter without his dog, is comparable to a chef without his kitchen. Tactically speaking, the pheasant hunter’s barking companion eliminates many advantages. Yet, the result of the hunt minus a pheasant hunter’s greatest asset can still be successful! The real question is, are they the pheasant hunter’s up for the challenge? If so, then a more methodical approach will be necessary. First, and foremost, know the targeted area. Study movement, and behavioral patterns more than ever before. Secondly, patience is key, when glassing the woodlands/plains sometimes the smallest step can result in your target showing itself. Attention to detail is a must. Often, the hunter’s reaction to his or her target will not only determine a chance at victory but more importantly a well-placed shot, ideally; an instant kill. Next, like every sport, there is something called practice. Sitting a rifle, or firearm in goes without saying.
Also, when hunting small game, specifically birds that can fly, skeet shooting can turn an average shot, into a trained marksman. Age and gender are irrelevant when honing these skills. Experience and fundamentals are gained through target practice, and hundreds and hundreds of clay exploding after the rifleman yells “pull!”. See, the question is not if it’s possible to hunt pheasant without dogs, the answer lies in the larger difficulty faced when attempting to do so. Hunters must determine whether they are up for the task, and able to adapt without an overused asset. After all, it all comes down to man vs bird.