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Pheasants, Chokes and Loads from 150+ Years of Hunting Experience

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by 1100 REMINGTON MAN, Jan 1, 2017.

  1. 1100 REMINGTON MAN

    1100 REMINGTON MAN Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    797
    image.jpeg Q image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg
    Me my Father & Brother have been chasing Pheasants since I was a Kid we have over 150 years combined experience, I am from Iowa but have hunted Pheasants in IA,NE,SD,KS & IL and 99% of the Pheasants I have hunted has been on Wild Pheasants.
    What have I learned about them comes from my Father the Best Shooter I have ever seen in the Uplands bar none, He liked Pheasant hunting so much in the 60's he bought a Bar in Fedora SD because he was hunting there so much. I don't say this lightly as when I was growing up he went 5 + years on Pheasants without a miss on Pheasants and we were shooting a lot of birds back then when Iowa's Pheasant harvest was over 1 million birds a year.
    Iowa Pheasant season starts last Saturday in October and runs till January 10th a very long season which calls for different Choke's & Loads.
    My thoughts on Choke's & Loads for the 12ga, 20ga and 28ga for Wild Pheasant's. My thoughts on shot sizes 4-5-6 shot I use these, I have tried 7 1/2 shot and it has NO place in hunting Wild Pheasant's and I have shot a lot of Pheasant's with it, but it is a crippler, and a Pheasant can hide under a pencil on a table, and run like a track star.
    The Fun Gun my 28ga 1100 Remington which I have two barrel's for Imp. & Full Choke. I use only the Full Choke barrel period. I have tried the 3/4oz load in 6 shot and it's performance is lacking to say the least as when hunting with a 28ga I have switched to Winchester's 1oz load exclusively and it's performance is superior and with it and I have bagged a triple with it. I will not hunt with a 28ga without a dog or after Thanksgiving as the birds begin to flush further from the gun.
    Now the 20ga in both 2 3/4 inch and 3 inch shells. From opening day till the week of Thankgiving 2 3/4 inch with 1oz load works fine with a dog and 6 shot Choke Lt Mod. after Thanksgiving day if I continue using the 20ga I go to 3 inch shell's and 6 shot with 1 1/4oz of shot Lt Full choke but come December it's all 5 shot till the end of the season and Full choke. The best shell I ever hunted in the 20ga is Remington's HD 3inch 6 shot. In lead Remington Nitro Pheasant in 5 shot. For nontoxic areas buy Kent's tungsten matrix works as well as lead. I will hunt without a dog with 3 inch 1 1/4oz shell's but not 2 3/4 inch 1oz load.
    Now the 12ga a true Pheasant gun my Favorite Remington 1100 Diamond Anniversary Model 2 3/4 inch.
    I start the season with 2 3/4 inch shell's 3 3/4dr. 1330 FPS 1 1/4oz shell in 6 shot when a majority of shot are under 40 yards and Imp Choke 26 inch barrel. Then switch around Thanksgiving week to 2 3/4 inch 1 1/4- 1 3/8oz of 5 shot & Mod Choke 28 inch barrel till around Christmas. Now after Christmas we are into Pheasant hunting with birds that have a Ph.D. on Hunter's are flush very far from the gun.
    This call's for Remington 1100 3 inch Mag. in 30 inch barrel Full choke and Winchester 3 inch Mag. 1 7/8oz copper plated 4 shot this is for the ultimate long range load.
    Summary light loads and Pheasant's don't mix if you respect the bird you are hunting.
    When hunting without dog after dropping a Pheasant get to it as fast as possible as they tend to flap there wings for 5-10 seconds getting there composer to run. Hunt with a orange hat and if you have to put your gun down to run down a bird drop your hat with gun makes it easer to find you gun. ( Trust Me )
    I'm 55 years old and can still run down a cripple in a harvested bean field the trick is when you get to them kick them like a ball, to get them off there feet so you can grab them. Yes I have hunted a whole season without losing a bird and without a dog. You have to be quick he who hesitates looses the Bird.
    Hunting with Copper or Nickle Plated shell's is like stepping up one half in shot size and less feather draw on bird so yes there worth the money it's all I buy any more.
    A good Dog makes Pheasant hunting a pleasure and make mine a GSP why low maintance easy to keep clean vs my longer hair Brittney who would get cocker burrs and mud stuck to her fur.
    A Bad dog cost you birds it's just that simple a dog must listen, I would rather hunt without a dog than hunt with a Bad Dog.
    Now the last and hardest tip to learn, it took me 10 years, My father said when a bird gets up close to you let it get out a ways before you shoot there not going to get away. So let the bird flush let him make his little turn and let the shot develop and take him, your shooting percentage will go way up. This also works duck hunting when I stand up in my duck blind the birds start to flair let them get on there track and then take them there not going to get away. Shooting at them making a turn in the wind will make you miss or you will turn some into hamburger. I did this post because so much intrest in shot sizes in the Pheasant hunting South Dakota. Good Hunting.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2017
  2. Mark Seely

    Mark Seely Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2016
    Messages:
    52
    Location:
    kansas
    Good write up. I've used the Remington Express loads in 20 ga. # 4 shot since the came out a long time ago. I use these for the first month of the season then switch to 12 ga. 1 1/4 of 5's for the rest of the season. You are right, pheasants are tough, get on them quickly while they are still flopping and you will collect more birds.
     
  3. Joe O

    Joe O Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    325
    Location:
    Minnesota
    We are to believe that when you wing tip a rooster you put your gun down, with your hat, and proceed to chase that rooster down on foot? IF you can maintain the 10 mph a rooster can run when you get close he will use what is left of his wings to flutter and change directions. I've seen dogs have a hell of a time getting a running rooster in the open, god forbid there is ANY cover for them to get to. I've hunted with some pretty agile guys but none of them could out run a rooster, especially with a 30 yd head start.
    Nothing personal, just can't picture that. Send the dog, if no dog just shoot it again, simple enough.
    Joe O
     
  4. ditchparrot

    ditchparrot Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Messages:
    792
    Location:
    Paradise, CA
    Agree with most of what you postulated here, with a couple of exceptions:

    - There's no question that an out-of-control dog will cost a hunter birds, but I flat-out will not hunt if not accompanied by a dog. It just isn't any fun for me and from a game conservation standpoint, it's a very disadvantageous situation.

    - If a wounded rooster comes down feet-first, he's very likely to hit the ground running. There often won't be any grace period during which he flops around. I've witnessed this play out many times on bare ground where you can see the whole scene. You could have Usain Bolt standing right next to you with his track shoes on and he wouldn't be able to run down a lot of them unless there's a physical obstacle to stop their progress. In that case, even a bad dog – so long as it's fast and aggressive – at least has a chance of recovering that bird.
     
  5. Joe O

    Joe O Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
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    Location:
    Minnesota
    I can count all of the WELL trained dogs I've hunted with without taking my shoes off! I'm with you completely. I'm in my 45th yr of pheasant hunting. I spent many hours in my youth trying to keep up by letting the dogs set the pace. Now I'm 60 yrs old, I set the pace. My labs stay within 25 yds unless released. Often in food plots(milo) they are kept on heal. If I could not take the dogs I would not have any interest in hunting pheasants. It's ALL about the dogs!
    Joe O
     
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  6. well digger

    well digger TS Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2015
    Messages:
    25
    Location:
    Colorado
    Good read,
    I live in Eastern Colorado , shoot about 60 Pheasants a year
    most of the time i will grab my standard poodle walk out in the wheat stubble
    and have my 3 birds within 2 hours
    shoot only Fiocchi nickel plated 4 , 390 Beretta with a release trigger ( why change from my trap gun )
    my long run so far is 16 first shot kills, and agree you need to let the birds get out a little ways before shooting
     
  7. scoutmaster

    scoutmaster Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2011
    Messages:
    380
    One load you left out is the 12 gauge 2 3/4 of hard shot 1 3/8 of 5's and 4's if the wind is blowing hard. This load moving at 1300 fps plus does anchor birds dead.

    SM
     
  8. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Messages:
    6,348
    I think a guy can be very effective hunting roosters solo and without a dog .... but why would he want to?

    Good write up M 1100, the only thing I would add is a 16 gauge with a 1 1/8 Oz load of #5 is hard to beat for hunting these great birds.
     
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  9. Hunt!ng

    Hunt!ng Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2014
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    529
    Location:
    central minnesota
    I will not disagree with the above mentioned choice of gauges, choke and shot size selection for wild pheasant thru out the typical pheasant season with it's changing conditions. Also agree with the guys that believe one could hunt/effectively hunt wild pheasant without a dog (good dog) BUT I do not understand why one would want to? Another matter is how one hunts. Where we hunt in S.D. our group is never more than 5. We generally hunt solo, each guy with their own dog going their own way but occasionally 2 guys with their two dogs together. Only one of our group uses a 12 ga. At the same place a group of the farmers relatives also hunt with up to 8 people and they only hunt as a group with never more than 2 mediocre dogs, walking/blocking style hunting with lots of hooping and hollering much like if they were on a cattle drive. They all use 12 ga. guns, many using 3" mag. ammo and when they shoot at a pheasant multiple people shoot multiple shots at the same bird. They are very good supporters of the ammunition manufactures. I've watched that group clean birds and some look downright pitiful and @ the end of each day they always are talking about how many they got, saw and lost. The farmer which doesn't hunt has separately watched his relatives clean birds and my own group clean birds and once made a comment:" Why aren't your birds all shot up?". My answer after biting my tongue for a little while was:" I guess because we use little guns", but it was also because of the style of hunting that we prefer.
    .
     
  10. Setterman

    Setterman Well-Known Member

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    Even late in the season, I've never seen the need for 3", 12 gauge loads for pheasants. If a 1 1/4oz of 5's or 4's at 1330 and a full choke won't bring 'em down, I shouldn't be shoot'n at em.

    And, on any given day, my dogs are more than capable of making me look like the worse dog trainer on the planet
     
  11. 1100 REMINGTON MAN

    1100 REMINGTON MAN Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Yes the 1 3/8oz load of 5 shot at 1475 FPS second picture down Kent. Truth is when I use them it was cold and did not seem any faster than a standard 1330 FPS load. Yes a nice Pheasant load.
     
  12. 1100 REMINGTON MAN

    1100 REMINGTON MAN Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
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    Yes I have run down a lot of Birds in my life no fun, and yes they make changes in directions when you get close thats why I said kick them, it works. get them off there feet and don't loose sight of them. Put your gun down and RUN and if you did not put your bright colored hat down you could spend 45 minutes looking for it. Been there!
    Yes when I can I shoot them on ground with out a Dog if I have a chance.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2017
  13. spartacus38

    spartacus38 Member

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    35 years ago I used to drive alone from Lake Tahoe,CA,meet my 12 year old son at the Denver airport and
    drive another 400 miles to south central Nebraska for a week of pheasant hunting.I used a Rem 870 12 ga
    with Federal copper coated # 4s with 1 1/2 oz of shot.They worked well.My son used a Rem 1100 28 ga with
    7/8 or 1 oz # 6s.We had to work small patches of cover since it was just the two of us with no dog.I sure do miss those days.
     
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  14. yukon_870

    yukon_870 Member

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    Good information.
     
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  15. Readgriff

    Readgriff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2014
    Messages:
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    Location:
    West Michigan
    I have shot quite a few pheasants in my years of hunting and never needed 3 in shells.
    Use 3" on geese and ducks only because you have to use steel.When you didn't have to use steel shot allot of ducks with 2 3/4 shells lead.
    I think if people shot skeet and trap ,sporting clays at there gun club before the season they would improve there success in the field by allot.
     
  16. spartacus38

    spartacus38 Member

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    Skeet shooting can make you one hell of a bird shot.