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Thread: question on hens and cackles and roosters too

  1. #1

    Default question on hens and cackles and roosters too

    Can a hen make a cackle noise? I'm wondering because I've heard one buddy say who has been pheasant hunting for longer than I've been alive that he never shoots based on cackle, he always looks for color. Then I heard another buddy say he only listens for the cackle to make his decision. I would say that I err on the side of good judgement and am reserved in my shooting, although I'm an adult onset hunter who has yet to get a wild bird. Also, what happens when a hen is shot? I've talked to several guys who say they have shot them on accident in the course of their lifetimes. One guy said almost every year on their trip a hen is shot(this is a large group of hunters). I understand it is illegal I'm guessing everywhere, but that over a lifetime of hunting it probably will happen on rare occasion.

    Also, why does the rooster cackle sometimes and other times they don't make a peep? Sometimes he cackles for almost his entire flight, other times it's a cackle only when he jumps up then he goes quiet.

    Sorry to be asking so many questions, I wasn't brought up with it and don't really have a mentor.

  2. #2
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    Can a hen make a cackle? I honestly don't know. But they don't. Ever. If it cackles, it's a rooster.
    I know hens get shot by accident. But I've never done it. It's just not that hard to know it's a rooster 100%....or not shoot. 30-35 years ago, when killing was a big deal & roosters seemed hard to come by, I shot a couple hens. But every one I ever shot was on purpose. A couple of those I might not have KNOWN it was a hen, but obviously wasn't sure it was a rooster either. Not proud. Just what happened & I THINK when you hear somebody accidentally shot one, that was likely the case. Uncertain?? Just don't shoot.
    There are going to be those that say it'd be a disservice to the hen (shot by accident) to leave it lay.
    I say, then, that it's a disservice to the sport to not turn yourself in to the game warden.
    My opinion would be that an accident is an accident. Keep it if you want, but if you think there's a chance you could lose hunting privileges over it, count it as part of your limit & leave it lay. Or penalize yourself & quit for the day. It was an accident, but the law won't care.
    I don't know why roosters don't cackle every flush. But it seems they cackle more readily earlier in the season. Wild ones anyway.
    Could be weather related?? But I think it's a factor of level of surprise. Birds that flush wild (because they knew you were there) rarely cackle. I'm a springer guy. Flushers. I think early in the season, dogs are more apt to get closer to (like right on) the birds at the flush, & they're more surprised & they tend to cackle because of it. That's my guess.
    "Most pheasants in South Dakota don't react too well to #5s." -The Hunt for Red Rooster

  3. #3
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    Agree with A5 Sweet 16; I can't recall ever hearing a hen cackle, but lots of roosters roll on out without a sound besides wingbeats. There's certainly someting to be said for close flushes, where a rooster cackles; I, however, believe the rooster that cackles on his way out is giving me the finger, or at least double-dog daring me to shoot him.

    As to killing hens, let he who has never cast the first stone. It happens. Mostly due to misidentification, yet I clearly recall several years ago I cracked a rooster and watched 2 birds fall. Scotch Double! Nope; 2nd bird was a hen. We all do our best to keep the girls alive, how you proceed after the deed is up to you. I won't judge.

    Best hen story: 5 of us are hunting together, and are walking a fenceline to the next spot. A bird flushes, Steve yells "HEN", and then proceeds to shoot a nice fat rooster...while the rest of us just stood there. We still Steve hunt with us, but we'll never let him forget this

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vammy View Post
    Best hen story: 5 of us are hunting together, and are walking a fenceline to the next spot. A bird flushes, Steve yells "HEN", and then proceeds to shoot a nice fat rooster...while the rest of us just stood there. We still Steve hunt with us, but we'll never let him forget this
    Bahahaha! That's really funny. Bet none of you fell for that twice. Gotta try that on my buddy. My guess is he won't fall for it, but we'll see. That's hilarious.
    "Most pheasants in South Dakota don't react too well to #5s." -The Hunt for Red Rooster

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vammy View Post
    Best hen story: 5 of us are hunting together, and are walking a fenceline to the next spot. A bird flushes, Steve yells "HEN", and then proceeds to shoot a nice fat rooster...while the rest of us just stood there. We still Steve hunt with us, but we'll never let him forget this
    Steve "cock blocked" you.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by A5 Sweet 16 View Post
    Bahahaha! That's really funny. Bet none of you fell for that twice. Gotta try that on my buddy. My guess is he won't fall for it, but we'll see. That's hilarious.
    I clearly recall watching that bird thinking "that's a rooster"; but there I stood with my gun at port arms.

    Ah well. He'll never live it down, and we'll never trust him again

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Singer View Post
    Steve "cock blocked" you.
    I am LMAO! PERFECT!

  8. #8
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    Hen pheasants can't cackle. They can make a "chirping" sound but not a raspy cackle like a rooster.

    Most (not all) wild rooster pheasants will not cackle when flushed, though younger birds, particularly in the early fall will cackle more often when flushed. At times older birds will do this too.

    That said, there's an area I've hunt where the wild roosters will cackle (young and old, early season and late season) when flushed. Other than that wild roosters usually have to be identified by sight/color.

    Also, the beat of their wings differs between a hen and a rooster so this too can help identify a rooster from a hen.
    "Through license fees and excise tax on arms and gear, sportsmen contribute over $200 million per year for wildlife conservation programs" (U.S. fish and wildlife service)

    http://www.pheasantfreaks.com

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