Scouting New Areas


New member
Hi guys,

I'm a long-time reader and a first-time poster who went pheasant hunting for the first time last year and loved it and am now trying to do a lot more this season. I've done some research online and looked at some maps of public land opportunities that have the 3 critical elements nearby (food, cover, water), but what is next? I'm planning on driving by the fields sometime soon to make sure the elements actually exist, but when you scout a new area do you get out and walk the field or would that scare the birds? Do I go early and try to listen for some crowing or is it to late in the year to do that? Any helpful information you guys have about your routine for hunting new land and how you find a honey hole (not where your honey hole is :eek: ) would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for your time.


New member
I would listen for crowing early. A lot of times good cover concealed by what you see on the road. So walking is better, even disrupted by a bird dog a week or so out doesn't cause much concern. If a parcel has food, cover, and shelter, it bears a walk through. Pheasants will use scanty cover to avoid hunters. I use an example of a parcel I used to hunt, it was an old rock quarry, mining all around, at the end was a depression with water thru it, grownup in tumbleweeds, out of the wind, but across the creek to a milo field. I think I was the only one hunted it, it always had a group of pheasants in it. These are the secrets you will find scouting. Good Luck.
my pheasants in the pen are not crowing any longer & from what ive seen in the past either are wild pheasants breeding is over now & its hot they are just trying to stay cool aka water...

id say take the dog out for a walk you have months B4 the pheasants season to let the birds calm back down but my self i wont walk my dogs on a public land spot i want to hunt i only hunt public lands so i dont want to blow birds off the area for all other hunters that come after me & hunt the area... any way walk the areas u want to hunt & see wear & what areas hold the most birds & come back on opening day...

find the water food & cover & 2ndary cover that most hunters avoid that will help once the shooting starts & its the 2nd-3rd wks of season...

in ur area of the country & being from MT id try 2 get on some private lands as many of us non resident hunters flock to ur state each season to chase pheasant huns & sharptails even sage grouse up in the NE MT

if you only hunt public figure out the areas u plan to hunt well & be there at the best spots early & try to hold them down as in MT u guys can start hunting at sun up so many guys blow birds out of there bedding early & mess the mid morning hunt up for the guys who come after so just cuz u walk a area with birds & dont see any during the season dont write it off some guys could of just walked it B4 u or in the early hours???

good luck & best of luck to you MNMT hunting is the guy to listen to hes a MT veteran


New member
What part of the state are you looking at? Some of the BMA maps are good about telling you what kind of game to expect there but it depends on which region. I scout year round while I'm working and I'm always trying to make contact with as many landowners as possible. I try to trade my services for permission to hunt on their land. Another thing I like to do is talk to some of the guys I work with. They hunt a lot of big game but no birds, so I get scouting reports from them and then hit the ground to see what I can find. Sometimes I have good luck, other times a lot of walking. There's nothing better than actually walking an area that looks promising to know if it has birds or not, that's how you learn. I'm also an early bird when I hunt public land, so I'm ready to shoot a half hour before sunrise. I try to be the first one in the field to help increase my odds a little. If I'm on private land, I'll wait until mid morning to go out. It all depends on where you're looking to hunt, time of the season and how much pressure an area sees. I like early morning/late afternoon drives to see how many birds are out feeding. Good luck.