Big-gang pheasant hunting can be logistically challenging, aesthetically unenjoyable, and surprisingly unproductive. To find greater satisfaction and shoot more birds, pursue ringnecks two-on-one: just you and your dog versus a wily, long-spurred rooster. Here are three habitat-focused approaches for getting your dog a flush or point, then giving that longtail a ride in your game bag.
Pheasant country is full of strip, or ribbon, cover, including irrigation ditches, fencerows, grassy swales, and rights-of-way, and hunting it into the wind is a classic tactic. Drive or swing wide around a ribbon to get into position at the downwind end. Move slowly, pause often, and don’t rush. Let the dog quarter ahead, back and forth across the cover, as you follow. Even a pointing dog should be kept within shooting range, so you can bag any nervous roosters that erupt early.
While working into the wind may be the traditional approach for hunting ribbons, using crosswinds can be even better. Start from either end of the cover strip. Instead of pushing toward escape cover, move toward an open area or obstruction to stall the birds. Work on the downwind side of the strip, keeping the dog close and letting the breeze carry scent to her.