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Thread: tactics question and wind

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Posts
    700

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    Good stuff here. If there's one rule of thumb I've learned, it's that there are no rules of pheasant hunting set in stone, & if there were, roosters wouldn't play by them anyway.

    But you simply MUST be "sneaky around pressured birds", unless you're actively using sound to move them somewhere you're more likely to be able to then put the sneak on them. I define "pressured birds" as birds that have been hunted 1 time. If they've been hunted more than once, they're seasoned veterans. Hunting a spot in a manner the birds haven't seen a 100 times. Minimize talking, & when you must, get close enough to almost whisper. Hand signals to other people & to dogs. Rely on e-collar or quiet-ish whistle to correct dog. And yes, if possible, hunt "into the wind".

    Obviously, unless you're an older parent or grandparent, it's virtually impossible to actually walk to AND FROM school, up hill both ways, in a blizzard every day. Similarly, hunting into the wind is impossible all the time. Luckily, "into the wind" is a relative term. I'm VERY content if the wind is a cross-wind, or any angle 90 degrees or less from straight in my face. If zig-zagging will make this possible, then do it. If swinging wide with the wind AROUND (avoiding) a particular spot is reasonable in order to hunt it back "into" the wind, then do it.

    But, for me, playing the wind is almost exclusively for sound masking purposes, & the lighter the wind, the more effort I make to play the wind. I've found that my dogs smell birds just as well regardless of wind direction. An experienced dog will figure out how to hunt in many different situations. If the wind is strong enough, say 18-20 or higher, I don't particularly care which direction it's from. The noise of wind rustling the cover & the wind's whoosh itself, will mask walking/hunting noise of both dog & hunter. But....if hunting down-wind....thou shalt not speak, slam your bolt closed, or make any other "unnatural" noises that the wind will carry to the ears of a rooster a mile away. If hunting down-wind in a strong wind, an experienced dog will most likely tend to get out there a little ways & then hunt back roughly toward you, nailing them that way. It's actually kind of fun, because you stand the chance, with a proper flushing dog, to get some birds flushed more or less AT you.

    I think for less experienced dogs, though, hunting into the wind is probably easier & more effective. When I have a new dog next fall, I'm sure I'll be reminded of this the hard way.
    "Most pheasants in South Dakota don't react too well to #5s." -The Hunt for Red Rooster

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Sartell, MN
    Posts
    18

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    Good points made here about wind direction, zig-zag, cross wind, birds doubling back and good dogs being able to work down wind.

    I also like to use the stop and stand still tatic at points when in good thick cover. I agree that birds will always know where you are and where you are going while you are moving due to noise. When you get in good cover or areas that the dogs were really birdy, don't forget about the option to just stop and stand still for 30sec, 1 minute, sometimes even 2 minutes. When you stop moving those educated birds can't locate you and they do not know where you are headed. I have shot many birds that have flushed within a few yards of me while I was just standing still. I feel these birds are ones that are content to just sit tight and let you walk on past them as perhaps many other hunters have when walking this cover prior. They get nervous when you stop and that gets them to flush and can land you more birds on pressured ground.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Davenport, IA
    Posts
    17

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    Only one thing I can think to add, cover the outlet areas first. On all the public areas I hunt the roosters seem to use the same outlet areas to access and then return from their mealtime. So I hit these spots first and then work toward other likely areas where roosters may be loafing about. I usually am able to find these spots by my dog trailing scent to where the cover turns into private crop fields, then I return to the public ground at the appropriate time and start at the escape route. It works for me.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    194

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    Lots of variables... first thing I do when trying to decide how to hunt a field. What direction is the wind? What way of hunting can I get the wind in my favor for the majority of the hunt, whether that is into the wind or a cross wind? And how can I hunt the field so I come across what I think will be the best part of it with either a head on or cross wind? It is pretty much geometrically impossible to not at least have a portion of the field with the wind at your back.

    Other things to consider, if you get a wild flush a ways ahead of you, will those birds stay in the public land or are you pushing them to private land?

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