Pheasant hunts are known for being great team games, but hunter and guide, Don Nelson, of Minnesota is a big believer in the solo hunt. Nelson says that some of his most fruitful hunts have been just him and his yellow lab, Houston. However, solo hunts do need to be handled differently than team hunts. Here are a few tips from Nelson to get you started.
First, Nelson recommends gritting your teeth and getting out into the real cold. The later months of pheasant hunting season, when temperatures drop, force birds into more predictable patterns. They’ll be easier to spot in groups under cover like cattails, cane grass, and willows.
The instinct may be to find small patches of cover as you’re working alone, but Nelson warns against that. Don suggests searching out big cover, target the highest-percentage areas you can find.
Find the seams that separate the pheasants’ food source from their cover. Solo hunting is a game of chess, so if you can figure out where the pheasants are likely to escape to and cut them off as they’re making that dash, you’re sorted.
Nelson says that evenings are really the best times to catch birds walking back along the seams. The birds feed just before sunset, so catching them on the way back to cover right before dark is the way to go.
Finally, work upwind of the birds. This will help dogs catch the scent easier, but it will also mask your approach, leading to a later flush. Because you’re working without drivers, stealth is key.
And when you’re ready to get into the game, contact Meadow Brook Game Farm in Westmoreland, Tennessee. We can’t wait to get started!