I didn't grow up hunting, picked it up 3 years ago. Picked up a shotgun and learned how to shoot trap because I moved across the street from a trap club. I shoot a good amount of clays, around 5,000 shells a year. I do sporting clays as well and mix up my shooting both low gun and pre-mount. This weekend I grabbed a relative's dog and went pheasant hunting in southern MN. I have never got a wild bird in my life, 3rd year trying. Friday evening I paused to get the dogs attention and one popped up on my right, loud cackles and off he flew, low over the grass. I popped off twice but didn't cut a feather. The next day different spot I'm hunting a ditch with standing corn on a dirt road(got permission from property owner first) and dog takes off along the corn row and up jumps a rooster, cackling really loud, I don't think he likes golden retrievers much. He has to fly higher because the corn is in the way. I pull up and pop off two shells and two clean misses. The fist time I went to the game farm I couldn't hit anything. But the last two trips there I was really on the money. I take a duck hunting trip once a year and I do fine there, and some days I'm really on. Later that evening walking the edge of a bean field the dog runs off into the field a few yards and is chasing like crazy, running circles, zig zags, you name it. Finally a bird flushes out and I'm looking for color don't see any and it has a really short tail so I'm thinking hen. By the time I process this I realize that it had cackled the entire time it left the ground. I was so amazed by the dog work etc. that I never even raised the gun. 0-3 on roosters last weekend and I want so bad to get my first wild pheasant. All 3 flushes were very doable shots, I felt bad for the dog, really wanted her to get her first wild rooster retrieve. I still praised her for doing her part even when I failed on my end. Is there any tips you guys have for getting better at this? Maybe I am overthinking things. Either way I am excited to get out and try again as soon as I can. The first miss I think I was so surprised by the flush that I didn't get my cheek down on the comb and shot over top of him. Shooting #2 blackcloud steel through IC choke. Going to order some bismuth 4's and give those a go. Not blaming my shooting on that though, it was my own poor technique.