Here are some valuable Pros and Cons to hunting Pheasants in the snow everyone should know!
For many pheasant hunters, early season might not be a great option for them.
Early to Mid October, most pheasant seasons open but most crops are not harvested or it’s simply too warm to run dogs. Then comes deer rifle season to shy most long tail chasers away the month of November.
December arrives and so does the snow. Perhaps my favorite time of the year for this North Dakota native.
Why is December my favorite time to be hunting pheasants in the snow?
One of the Pros is because there is less pressure. Most hunters won’t brave the cold elements. So that leaves you, if you are willing to brave those elements to have the fields all to yourself.
Con, you have wintry weather to contend with such as the cold and perhaps deep snow drifts to trek through.
I enlisted group feedback from Upland Chat members.
Dave Nattress “You can look for tracks in the snow or just go for heavy cover, I find pheasants hold after a snow fall”
Pro, use the snow to your advantage. Minimize your exposure outside your vehicle by scouting out areas. Try to hunt right after a snow fall and seek out fresh pheasant tracks.
Dress appropriately such as I did here for some blustery conditions we were faced with one of our limited hunting days. Yes those are ski goggles. And yes, we did get a bird that day.
Use the first hour or two in the mornings to catch birds out feeding. Drive around on less traveled roads. Look for picked corn fields next to ideal cover.
Pro, I have noticed that late in the season, most pheasants are starting to group up. So where you find a few birds, there are likely many, many more.
One Con is that there are many more eyes to warn other birds you are coming. Be sure to catch our 23 Pheasant Hunting Tips article and combine with these!
For exposure concerns, I now use a Hoo-Rag because of walking into the wind, these are ideal for wind burn. Hands are another huge concern for me. My best luck are these North Face Apex gloves. They are the best I’ve found and still light weigh enough for working the safety and trigger pull.
Find the right cover
Brent Oslin “Cat tails, heavy cover, and food. If you aren’t finding tracks in an area keep moving.”
Cattails are king especially in the area I hunt in Southeast North Dakota so I can relate to this. In fact, the field I got the Sharptail Grouse and one rooster in the featured picture has a slough where there were hundreds of birds that flushed when I stepped into it. Just waves of birds taking flight! Unforgettable.
When I go hunting pheasants, I am usually alone or at most, two others with me. I was alone and had wished I had at least two others with me. Not only to witness the numbers, but to have had fellow hunters post and get some pass shooting. We would have been done hunting with our 3-bird limits in minutes.
This field is very special as there are PLOTS (Private Land Open To Sportsman) around this field. My assumption is that early season pheasant hunting pressure as well as deer hunting on those PLOTS fields pushed the birds to this private land. It is a 1-mile walk into this spot where those pheasants likely felt very safe. A “Pro” to late season pheasant hunting I would say. Not many will want to trek a long distance.
Dog Care for snowy conditions
Another bit of advice I would add to this is a proper kennel cover to insulate your dog from the cold. When inside their body heat will be enough. I’ve opened the cover to have steam pour out in sub-zero temps hunting with my lab. Take into your consideration which dog breed and cold tolerate they are first and foremost.
Despite the cold temps being a Con for sure, the Pro list will definitely outweigh the Con list any time if you are a true pheasant hunter. When it comes to hunting pheasants, seeing the tracks, your bird dog “birdy” and potential for seeing hundreds of birds a day, the adrenaline will make you forget about cold hands. At least that’s what it does for me!
Have anymore Pros or Cons to add to this please reach out to me and I’ll gladly add them to this list! E Mail us by submitting the form below!