Pheasant Hunting Etiquette
By Chris Larsen
It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about baseball, poker, hunting or really any other activity groups of people engage in together, there are often several unwritten rules. These are things that don’t usually affect the outcome of the hunt but are essentially just common courtesies to other hunters in the party and those who may hunt a property after you.
Just about everyone has heard the expression, “A bad day of hunting is better than a good day of work.” Well, it depends on how bad the day was. A hunting accident can make a bad day of hunting catastrophic. Know your target and what is beyond it. Know where your fellow hunters and dogs are at all times. A good rule of thumb is to hold your fire until the only thing behind the bird is blue sky.
It doesn’t matter if you’re hunting public land, a private plot, or a hunting lodge, leave the area you’re hunting better than how you found it. Pick up your empty shells, personal trash, and anything someone else left before you. Property owners appreciate seeing someone who respects the land.
Obey Game Laws
This one may seem like a no brainer to many of us but I have walked away from a few hunts in which I was appalled at the blatant disregard for hunting regulations. Knowingly breaking laws puts your hunting partners in a bad situation. If you’re doing something wrong, they will often be lumped in with you as a violator despite doing nothing illegal. In fact, they should turn you in. This puts everyone in a bad position. Read the regulations before going afield and follow them accordingly.
Stay In Line
When driving a field or brush with multiple hunters, maintain the same pace as everyone else. This will give everyone in the group an equal opportunity to shoot birds and help keep everyone safe. Some selfish hunters will walk ahead of the group in an attempt to get more shooting opportunities by taking shooting lanes from their fellow hunters. This is a good way to not get invited back to hunt.
Don’t Yell At Another Hunter’s Dog
Yelling at your own dog is bad enough. You’re the one who trained him. But yelling at someone else’s dog is even worse. The owner probably saw the mistake well before you did. You’re just going to confuse the dog and make the owner upset. Take the advice your mom gave you. If you can’t say something nice about the dog, don’t say anything at all.
Don’t be THAT Guy
We have all hunted with a few of these guys. The guy either shoots birds that flush in front of other hunters and then brags about his hunting prowess or can’t hit the broadside of a barn and proceeds to blame everything but himself. It is his gun’s fault, or the choke, or the shells, or your dog. If you have been lucky enough to bag a few birds and your partners have yet to pull the trigger, hang back and allow them to shoot. If you’re having a rough day of shooting, take it in stride. Everyone goes through slumps. Maintaining a positive attitude is the best way to get out of a streak of bad shooting.