Lots of Things Go into Making a Good Pheasant Shoot


This will be my fourth trip to Oklahoma to shoot pheasants so here are a few tips that might make your shoot more successful.  First of all you need a shotgun and the choice is yours I use an over/under 20 ga. but you are welcome to bring your favorite side by side double, pump or semi-auto, 12 ga. or 20 ga. You do not need to have a plug in your gun so you can load 5 shells and just blast away until you are empty or the bird falls out of the sky.  Suggested load is 7 1/2 shot and depending upon the type of gun you bring you will need a lot of shells and a carrying bag for your shells.  Four or five boxes of shells will not be too many.

Chokes, I would suggest improved cylinder or even more open because these shots will be within 25 yards and you will be shooting at the breast and not the back of the bird like you do when they are in a field and rise up in front of a dog.   Speaking of dogs there will be dog handlers working between the stations training and working their dogs so be polite to them and don’t interfere with their dog work, ask permission if you want to pet a dog and don’t distract the dogs from their jobs.

You will be give instructions about when to load your gun, when it is safe to shoot and all guns are unloaded and empty until you are on station.  When the call comes to stand down and move to the next station your shotgun will be empty.  You will not shoot any pheasants on the ground, sometimes they will land and run and it is then up to the dog handlers to take care of the situation.

Now is the time to get you shotgun out, make sure it is clean and not full of crud and old oil since we will be shooting in cooler weather and firing pins can get gummed up.  A whole lot of gun scrubber in the right place will clean out the innards on your gun and you don’t need to re-oil the trigger mech.
If you have a semi-auto make sure your have cleaned the little holes half-way up the barrel that releases gas back into the action.  If you are in doubt about the condition of your gun you might have time to take it to a gunsmith for a tune up.  And last of all, if you do have more than one gun take your spare as a backup, I had to do that several years ago and it saved my shoot.

As for clothes, we are not required to have any hunter orange so I just dress kind of drab and in layers so that I can adjust to the temp as the day warms up.  Make sure your jacket is loose enough for you to shoulder your shotgun and try this out at home, now so you can plan ahead.  If it is really cold good warm headgear and gloves will help.  I shot one year with snow on the ground and it was cold and kind of muddy but a lot of fun.

So dress right so you can adapt, bring a good shotgun in working order, 12 ga. or 20 ga. and plenty of 7 1/2 shot shells. don’t let the falling pheasants hit you on the head and you will have a good time.


About the Author

Joe McElyea
I am an original member and founder of the esteemed High Plains Shooting and Dining Society which is dedicated to fellowship of bird hunters and shooters who also enjoy finding great local places to eat large, unhealthy portions of breaded and fried meats and gravies washed down with the appropriate libations. I am also a retired old man who enjoys fishing, shooting and my wonderful family.