It’s October, pheasant season is open, and your bird dogs are raring to go. The kids are back in school, too, with full schedules of football and band practice. You can maybe squeeze in a couple of hours to hunt. So we posed this question to three pheasant fanatics: If you have two hours free, how do you make them count?


VP of marketing, Pheasants Forever
Hunting Area: Great Plains public land
Years’ Experience: 30

Dogs: German shorthaired pointers


Hunt Plan:
“I’m definitely going to be out during the last two hours of the day. Pheasants leave standing crops just before the sun goes down and return to grassy habitat for overnight roosting. If you hunt agricultural field edges at this time of day, you can expect success. Bring plenty of dogs. Roosters run first, flush second. The more noses sniffing, the better.”


Owner, Halverson Hunts
Hunting Area: South Dakota private farmland
Years’ Experience: 35

Bird Dogs of Choice: Pointing and flushing Labs


Hunt Plan:
“I want either the first or last two hours of daylight. Pheasants are in grainfields early and late. Right now, while it’s still warm, fields near a water source are best. Be stealthy in your approach. Get all the hunters and dogs in position well ahead of time. We might move into our hunting spot from a half mile away so that we’re ready when we reach the birds.”


VP of sporting goods, Radians Inc.
Hunting Area: Great Plains public land
Years’ Experience: 38

Bird Dogs of Choice: German shorthaired pointers and a Lab


Hunt Plan:
“Be there at first legal shooting time. Often, you can watch pheasants fly from cover to feed and back. My best spots are waist-high CRP sections surrounded by cut corn or milo. Problem is, crops can still be standing now, and roosters will just take cover there. To flush them, form a V with your party and move through the crops. Put blockers at the end of the field.”

From top: Donald M. Jones; John Herr/Images on the Wildside; Dusan Smetana; Denver Bryan/Images on the Wildside