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Thread: First time hunting PA

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Central MD
    Posts
    2

    Default First time hunting PA

    Hey all, been lurking here for a few years on and off watching everyones success and insights. Im from central MD and am very jealous of the PA game commission's commitment to pheasant and small game in general. I am looking at making a few trips up to to some game lands in PA this year to try my hand at connecting with a few pheasant. I had a few questions before I go.

    First question I had was am I foolish to head up there without a dog? I understand that makes it much more challenging but is it do-able? I'll most likely have one other person with me to kick around some brush also so hopefully that makes a difference. Does anyone have any tips for a first timer up there? I have shot preserve birds and have been shooting for some time but no wild or stocked birds. I have identified a few SGLs to check out and am familiar with the stocking schedule. My biggest concerns are not stepping on anyones toes or ruining a hunt for anyone else. I am not asking for any specific tips on any game lands because I know you all put a lot of time into scouting locations and I plan on doing my own scouting with boots on the ground. I am asking more general tips and any heads up so I don't step on anyones toes.

    Thanks for any advice and good luck with everyones season. If you see a left handed guy shooting a 16ga O/U out in the field up there feel free to stop by and say hi. Thanks again

    Charlie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Adams County, Pa
    Posts
    1,577

    Default

    It is work it to hunt without a dog if you don't mind putting in the work. You want to check out some of the woods when hunting without a dog. A lot of birds get pushed to that area. What area do you plan to hunt? I notice a lot of MD hunters in the Adams county area.

    I usually try to give other hunters plenty of room and go in the opposite direction of them when possible. I do avoid opening day on the gamelands due to the high numbers. I do have dogs which makes things a little easier. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Happy Valley East
    Posts
    875

    Default

    No, you are not foolish to head up here without a dog. Second, we have plenty of room to roam so you will not be stepping on any toes. Hunting here will be a lot different than what your use to. The first thing I would do is pick a few game lands to check out before the season..that way you can understand the lay of the land because that's going to be important to your success. I would look for some hedgerows and other pinch points of brushy and woody cover mixed in with fields that way you can funnel the birds where you want. Large fields will be more difficult with out a dog but definitely do able..you will want to zig zag through the field taking time to stop and pause.

    The opener is very crowded and really the only day where everyone is stepping on each others toes..lol but it's the opener and that's the way it should be..it's tradition and everybody gets very excited. We normally try to find areas off the beaten path and away from the majority of hunters for the opener and if gets to crowded we move on! I highly recommend hunting during the week because you can have some places all to yourself. Remember all game lands are not created equal. They vary quite a bit and are all different. Some have great habitat other's not so much. Some are very popular and get a lot of pressure because of where there are located so keep in mind that driving an extra half hour to hour may mean a world of difference! Most importantly have fun and enjoy yourself!

    Good Luck!

  4. #4

    Default

    Hey Charlie, you say some interesting things here. I am glad to hear that you understand hunting state stocked birds is nothing like hunting on a preserve or private club. Statistically, hunters with dogs harvest considerably more pheasant at release sites than hunters without dogs. It is advised to pay close attention to retrieving your birds without a dog too. There are a few tips about recovering pheasant for hunters without a dog, by now you probably know them? I also commend you for being conscientious of other hunters. I am not suggesting that you change that attitude, but few pheasant release site hunters do any scouting, although they should. Many wonder and many even follow or "shadow" other hunters. I dont advise you do that and also that you move away if hunters shadow you. Hunters without dogs can do quite well on release sites, you just have to use your head (and your eyes and ears).... I wouldnt worry about taking someones spot on a release site, it doesnt really work that way. Just move away or yeild if you prefer to other hunters. But dont expext the same courtesy. It is your responsibility to move away. Believe me, I have been out some days when I spent 90% of the day changing direction to keep ditance between us and other hunters. dont get pissed, just do it. If you avoid key days like stocking days, saturdays, hollidays, and certain hours of the day, you can have some release sites almost to yourself. That is what we do and my advice to you. good luck

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