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Mid-America Hunting Association
Noise control extends to the beeper vice bell. A sometimes controversial discussions.
The constant din of the bell means increased pressure on the pheasant. The bell, an un-natural noise, in an animal hierarchy where all creatures are either predator or prey, will likely cause the pheasant to perceive that bell as a threat. Then, when the dog is on point, the bell ceases and the hunter is left to find the dog. A difficult task as pheasant prefer thick cover that will easily conceal the dog as well.
The run mode beeper is no different even though the sound frequency is less. It remains a noise in addition of the dog moving through cover that prey animals will always alert to.
Point only mode beepers while lessening the during the run portion of the hunt noise do give point pressure. The value is the delayed point only beeper that begins only after the dog has been quiet for a period seems to be the best option. This choice allows for dog location by the hunter and about the least noise pressure possible during the point in thick cover.
Those that talk to others or frequently use dog commands mark their position to the pheasant. Two facets come to play. Consistency of the noise and proximity. Both bring pressure.
Consistent noise provides constant feedback that the predator is approaching or moving away. Proximity is already established in previous discussion. Combine the two and the hunter often tells of being able to see plenty of pheasants flushing at long range rather than speaking of the number of points to hunter flush.
Single hunters or a small hunting groups hunting close together will find more dog action than the slob hunter approach of the pheasant drive.
At this point the reader must decide the purpose of his hunting. Is it to pile up large numbers of dead pheasants. Or, to enjoy the quality of the hunt. Most notably through the dog’s performance.
Beyond willingness/capability to walk, shooting ability and hunting dog power there does exist a refinement of the hunter’s behavior that enhances or degrades the experience. To that end is the understanding the hunter has the role to guide the dog into the most likely habitat to produce birds.
The long answer is: The hunter’s height advantage is of seeing over the thick to the dog protective cover. The cover keeps the dogs sensory capability limited to the scenting range of his nose. The other part is that hunter needs to have the kind of hunting dog that will hunt with the him and not on his own. That means the dog follows the hunter. Not the hunter follows his dog.
This is Kansas wild pheasant conditions. Not a field trial of dizzied planted birds in a small field.
In a field trial the pen raised pheasants are placed within a confined area without regard to pheasant preference of cover or food source. The better field trial dogs quickly cover the field faster than a hunter can keep up with. Birds are typically placed within direct observation of where the gallery (spectators) can see the dog work. That means where the protective cover may cover the pheasant, but not the dog.
The contrasts should be obvious. The pheasant point pictures on this web site were only where the cover thinned enough to see the dog. Kansas fields are large 160 acres plus. The majority of the pheasant points will be in cover that will conceal the dog.
The story about the picture at right as we understand it.
They thought the hunt was over. They were at the truck. Guns unloaded. The dog goes on point. Two hunters walk in. One with the camera to capture the action, the other with his gun. They flush the pheasant. The cameraman getting a shot of it in the air. The hunter raised to fire and found he did not reload his gun.
We’ll leave it to guess who the shooter was. We do know it was Dusty that carried the camera.
Thank you guys for another good Kansas pheasant hunting story.
That is the common perception. The thinking is organizational of studying a problem and determining execution of the efficient solution. That human male behavioral trait along with the geometric carving out of Kansas into square and rectangular property lines is a problem. The combined of the two often drives a hunter to look at a quarter section of cover and plan a matching geometric walking/hunting pattern to cover all of it.
Or, the hunter was brought up in his early years that the most effective Kansas pheasant hunting technique is to sweep the field. He will systematically cover every spot not moving on until convinced every possible hiding spot has been trampled.
These two hunting approaches do not work well.
The effective pheasant hunter neither hunts a geometric pattern or systematically covers every spot.
There are some pheasant behaviors that if understood will mean more dog action. Those behaviors should guide the self guided hunter where he will walk to place the dog in the most advantageous position. The basis of these pheasant behaviors remains with the survival aspect of the definition of life. That is, process food into body energy, reproduce itself, and have a survival method from prey animals.
Wild pheasants always seek protective cover that means survival. To that end predator pressured pheasants will seek cover that blocks the predator ground and aerial observation.
With this idea the hunter that’s hunting from no or thin cover to thick cover areas will drive any birds that may be in the thin cover to the thick where they are more likely to hold for point. An example would be hunting a cut milo field next to a tall grass field. Hunting from the cut milo field of less than pheasant desired protective cover (a great food source) to that of native grass will yield more dog on bird action. Being that pheasants are more likely to freeze for point or flush in heavier cover.
Continuing the thin to thick cover hunting principle applied to the brush filled draw. The effective hunter hunts from the point, head or small end of the draw to the larger. Hunting the opposite direction will predator push any pheasants not pointed and are running to less and less protective cover to the point of no longer providing visual concealment from air and ground. This leaves the pheasant its final recourse of flight. Part and parcel to this thin to thick principle is that a small percentage of pheasants will hold for point, a larger percentage will run and all will fly out of thin or thinning cover.
Even in large fields of tall Kansas prairie grass not all grass is equal. There will be thick and thin areas with some close and farther away from food/crop fields. The same idea applies to hunting the thinner to the thicker grass with the thicker grass closer to crop fields being more likely to produce than the best grass well away from food.
A field snapshot to illustrate this is short native Kansas grass. Much native grass will conceal any dog on point to within a step of it.
Continuing the behavior aspect is the pheasant’s second of his two primary predator detection sensors. The first was hearing and sound control described earlier. The second is sight.
Pheasant eyes are high and to the sides of his head to give maximum observation front, side and back and to another direction that of up. Up is where his most feared predator exits.
The pheasant in most protective cover will have a large portion of the level or lower ground blocked from his view. The pheasant can see very well what is above him to include on hillsides or top of draws. With this understanding the hunter can make a choice. The first and common choice is hunting by walking along the high ground to give the hunter a good view of his dog, the terrain and any pheasants he may see. This of course allows the pheasant the best view of the hunter. Or, increased predator pressure.
Turn that around with hunting from low to high ground. Doing so denies the pheasant the opportunity to visually detect the hunter’s threat.
And, of course, the common technique of hunting into the wind always applies.
Two of these three friends whose’ dogs are in the pictures above. Average hunters who enjoy their dogs traveling for wild pheasants.
Kansas Pheasant Hunting & Pheasant Behavior
All ground dwelling birds run or flush away from the greatest perceived threat. The greatest threat is that which is closest, makes the most noise or can be seen the most.
Some other general behaviors. Pheasants will flush away from the tree line. In Kansas’ open pheasant country they may initially flush into the wind, but will typically turn to fly with the wind. Those that fly long distance will need to rest as flying is highly energy consumptive activity for this heavy body bird. Long flying pheasants that are seen to land will likely hold for point. Short flying pheasants typically run after landing.
Pheasants do not fly or run in circles as is commonly held. They make quarter arch movements. The cause is their side mounted eyes. One side’s eye will dominate behavior due to viewed threats or cover. That creates a side to side approach and avoidance behavior. Meaning the pheasant is going to pick one side over the other which direction to run and that puts a curve into his movement. That curve is not a full circle. It is a curve until it feels it has archived escape behavior either through ground cover or aerial flight.
This Kansas hunting article went well beyond what we thought it would. Feedback on anything on this web site is always welcomed. Each page at the bottom has our email link.