Top 10 Pheasant Shooting Tips
Top 10 Pheasant shooting tips for the start of the new season. Make sure your eye is in from the beginning and follow the Editor's best advice for a cracking day on the peg
Pheasant shooting tips for the best season’s shooting, courtesy of The Field’s editor, Jonathan Young.
1. When you arrive at your peg, mark carefully your neighbours’ positions and select the slice of sky that will legitimately hold your birds. Stick to that zone unless it’s to dispatch wounded birds. Shooting birds that another gun has already missed with both barrels – known as “wiping his eye” – is commonplace among friends but do not overdo it with strangers.
2. Always use a second barrel if the bird is not killed outright with the first. Don’t select another bird until the first is dead.
3. Don’t take a pheasant that’s too low unless it’s on a back-end, clear-up day. You will either miss, which is embarrassing, or hit, which is worse, as you may smash the bird.
4. Don’t try and shoot birds that are out of range for your equipment or level of skill. For most people 45 yards is the limit.
5. Pheasants become harder to despatch cleanly as the season progresses. Many guns switch from 30gm No 6 to 32gm No 5 after Christmas. And make sure your guns fit – the heaviest loads are ineffective if they are in the wrong place.
6. Unless they are very high, try and take the birds in front, somewhere between 45-70 degrees. The birds are more likely to be hit in the head and neck and there is more time for a controlled second shot.
7. If they are steeple-scrapers, consider turning sideways and taking them as an overhead crosser – it can be easier to gauge the necessary lead.
8. Count your birds down on each drive and mark them carefully, especially any runners. Make sure a gundog handler knows exactly what’s to be gathered.
9. Be courteous to everyone on the shoot, especially the keepers, beaters and gundog handlers. Without them, we could not have driven shooting.
10. Always take your brace of pheasants home. The essence of our sport is harvesting food for the table.
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