Winter ring-necked hunting: wrong way roosters

If you’re hunting public-land pheasants during the late season, consider walking a different route from most hunters, like one that takes you deeper into the cover. This will involve a little more effort, but is usually worth it.

We’ve been hitting the public sloughs hard during the past few weeks in search of some roosters, and the sheer volume of competition has surprised me. Weekends are a zoo, and even during the weekdays there are plenty of people following dogs around.

It’s impossible to find a chunk of ground that hasn’t seen recent hunting pressure, and I’m starting to think multiple parties hunt these tracts several times per day. That doesn’t help hunting confidence, but the crazy thing is that some parcels still contain birds, if you know how to find them.

If we veer off the well-worn paths of hunters, we often find birds tucked into cover that others have overlooked or ignored. The protocol for many hunters involves walking the easy stuff while sending their dogs into thicker cover. This can work, but if that thick cover consists of a huge cattail slough, most hunters are missing the majority of the cover.

Use this to your advantage and trod where others won’t. Provided it’s safely frozen, the inside of the cattails versus the outside is my first destination. Or instead of hunting right from the parking area, my buddies and I might hike to the back of a property and hunt the cover opposite from most of the pressure.

It’s still not easy, but we are flushing roosters on nearly every property right now. Plenty flush out of range, but enough sit tight to make it worthwhile.

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, Tony Peterson

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