First pheasant hunt? What to know
Ever since the pheasant was brought to the United States in 1898 it has remained a popular hobby/sport for many outdoors enthusiasts. Lately the number of hunters (at least in Minnesota) in any given season is closely related to the forecasted harvest (or lack thereof in recent years). Despite the ups and downs, every state will see new hunters buy licenses annually and I wanted to share my two cents to every new hunter who is looking to bring home some birds.
This doesn't mean that you have to come in high end outerwear, an expensive shotgun and the best trained bird yet to see the field. What I mean here is dress appropriately for the day, know where you are going, the habitat that is there and the forecast for the day. If you know it is going to be wet marshland or raining that day you wouldn't want to be caught without some waterproof clothing and boots as being wet 5 minutes into a hunt is not a great way to start! Look to my previous blog post here to better understand dressing appropriately.
To this day I still find myself hunting occasionally with my grandpa's 20 gauge Mossberg shotgun. If it is your first year out in the field borrow a shotgun from a friend so that you can know what to look for when you make a purchase. There is no need to buy an expensive firearm until you know what you are looking for from one!
Take your time and research the land you are going to be hunting. This above all else will benefit your odds of seeing (and hopefully bagging) birds and should not be taken lightly. As this is so important I have written a blog just on this topic alone here.
Safety is always number one and you can ensure you are covering this base by taking a firearm safety course through your state's DNR and ensuring that all of your hunting buddies have done the same. Always assume that the guy/girl next to you has a loaded weapon and be alert to where they are and what they are shooting at at all times.
Always be learning
Be alert from your first step into the field through the time you are leaving the field in your vehicle. The first few hunting trips you make there is a lot to learn in technique, safety, skills and hardware that will benefit you in years to come. I think the best way to learn is through hunting with others so if you can find a local club, pheasant forum, friends or relatives to go with you this will be the best way to quickly improve your experience out there.
Don't be afraid to get out there this season if this is your first time! It's a great hobby to have to get some exercise, enjoy the outdoors and put some delicious dinner on the table.