tactics question and wind

1. Often I've heard about being sneaky around pressured birds. Approaching from a different way than most other hunters. The part I don't understand about this is that I was told playing the wind is so important. If there's a big crp field and I'm going to walk it with my dog, we want the wind at our faces for scenting and increased stealth. Doesn't this force every hunter to walk to field the same way as long as the wind stays constant?

2. If walking a field with the wind directly in your face, when you get to the end do you walk back towards the truck with the wind at your back and still hunt, or is this a waste of time because the birds hear you?
 

Altillathedak

New member
I like cross wind situations a lot. Long walks mean you are gonna do part of a walk with nonideal wind conditions. Dogs will figure out how to work down wind with exposure.
 

1pheas4

Super Moderator
If there's a big crp field and I'm going to walk it with my dog, we want the wind at our faces for scenting and increased stealth. Doesn't this force every hunter to walk to field the same way as long as the wind stays constant?
Yes. Typically (all) the hunters walk in the same direction (in this case into the wind) from one end of the field to the other end. If you have blockers at the end of the field it's best to have them make their way to the other end as quit as possible, unless you have a big group. In this case you can have hunters flanking the sides of the field too. Sometimes noise can be used to push the birds to the blockers n an attempt to "corral the birds" to one side/area of the field. Otherwise being quiet is good.

If walking a field with the wind directly in your face, when you get to the end do you walk back towards the truck with the wind at your back and still hunt, or is this a waste of time because the birds hear you?
Last Saturday I hunted by myself (no dog) and flushed a rooster in a field that I already worked on the way in (I was walking it again as I made my way back to my truck and working with the wind to my back). I was very quiet the entire time I worked the field.

Pheasants will often run back and behind you when you push a field and therefore you have a chance of flushing a bird/birds even if you are working with the wind (instead of against the wind).
 
Well put on birds doubling back , I often hunt with 2 dogs and one almost always hunts further out and one closer often the long dogs get a lot of action but the shorter dog picks up birds that double back .

Quartering into the wind is good to .
 

birdshooter

Active member
I like cross wind situations a lot. Long walks mean you are gonna do part of a walk with nonideal wind conditions. Dogs will figure out how to work down wind with exposure.
Absolutely agree here.

I also feel If I'm working a large field with just me and a dog I may start by walking the edges first.
 

BritChaser

Active member
With a big field hunting alone, I like to zigzag across the wind, gradually moving upwind while keeping an eye on the dog.
 

hunter94

Active member
With a big field hunting alone, I like to zigzag across the wind, gradually moving upwind while keeping an eye on the dog.
all good comments here........i like a cross wind myself.........lots of variables also involved.....not only previous hunting pressure/direction, but adjacent fields and edges, roads and end of fields.....all play a part in how the birds will react to you and your dog......it's a helluva chess match when hunting late season birds!.........gotta luv 'em, gotta hate 'em.
 

Altillathedak

New member
all good comments here........i like a cross wind myself.........lots of variables also involved.....not only previous hunting pressure/direction, but adjacent fields and edges, roads and end of fields.....all play a part in how the birds will react to you and your dog......it's a helluva chess match when hunting late season birds!.........gotta luv 'em, gotta hate 'em.
Yep. Also in play...can you push the birds towards cover you can hunt versus onto adjacent land you don’t have access to.
 

hunter94

Active member
Yep. Also in play...can you push the birds towards cover you can hunt versus onto adjacent land you don’t have access to.
another good point well taken, sometimes herding them to a different nearby field may be your best bet......a lot of work..........the list seems endless...
 

A5 Sweet 16

Active member
Good stuff here. If there's one rule of thumb I've learned, it's that there are no rules of pheasant hunting set in stone, & if there were, roosters wouldn't play by them anyway.

But you simply MUST be "sneaky around pressured birds", unless you're actively using sound to move them somewhere you're more likely to be able to then put the sneak on them. I define "pressured birds" as birds that have been hunted 1 time. If they've been hunted more than once, they're seasoned veterans. Hunting a spot in a manner the birds haven't seen a 100 times. Minimize talking, & when you must, get close enough to almost whisper. Hand signals to other people & to dogs. Rely on e-collar or quiet-ish whistle to correct dog. And yes, if possible, hunt "into the wind".

Obviously, unless you're an older parent or grandparent, it's virtually impossible to actually walk to AND FROM school, up hill both ways, in a blizzard every day. Similarly, hunting into the wind is impossible all the time. Luckily, "into the wind" is a relative term. I'm VERY content if the wind is a cross-wind, or any angle 90 degrees or less from straight in my face. If zig-zagging will make this possible, then do it. If swinging wide with the wind AROUND (avoiding) a particular spot is reasonable in order to hunt it back "into" the wind, then do it.

But, for me, playing the wind is almost exclusively for sound masking purposes, & the lighter the wind, the more effort I make to play the wind. I've found that my dogs smell birds just as well regardless of wind direction. An experienced dog will figure out how to hunt in many different situations. If the wind is strong enough, say 18-20 or higher, I don't particularly care which direction it's from. The noise of wind rustling the cover & the wind's whoosh itself, will mask walking/hunting noise of both dog & hunter. But....if hunting down-wind....thou shalt not speak, slam your bolt closed, or make any other "unnatural" noises that the wind will carry to the ears of a rooster a mile away. If hunting down-wind in a strong wind, an experienced dog will most likely tend to get out there a little ways & then hunt back roughly toward you, nailing them that way. It's actually kind of fun, because you stand the chance, with a proper flushing dog, to get some birds flushed more or less AT you.

I think for less experienced dogs, though, hunting into the wind is probably easier & more effective. When I have a new dog next fall, I'm sure I'll be reminded of this the hard way.
 

marn

Member
Good points made here about wind direction, zig-zag, cross wind, birds doubling back and good dogs being able to work down wind.

I also like to use the stop and stand still tatic at points when in good thick cover. I agree that birds will always know where you are and where you are going while you are moving due to noise. When you get in good cover or areas that the dogs were really birdy, don't forget about the option to just stop and stand still for 30sec, 1 minute, sometimes even 2 minutes. When you stop moving those educated birds can't locate you and they do not know where you are headed. I have shot many birds that have flushed within a few yards of me while I was just standing still. I feel these birds are ones that are content to just sit tight and let you walk on past them as perhaps many other hunters have when walking this cover prior. They get nervous when you stop and that gets them to flush and can land you more birds on pressured ground.
 
Only one thing I can think to add, cover the outlet areas first. On all the public areas I hunt the roosters seem to use the same outlet areas to access and then return from their mealtime. So I hit these spots first and then work toward other likely areas where roosters may be loafing about. I usually am able to find these spots by my dog trailing scent to where the cover turns into private crop fields, then I return to the public ground at the appropriate time and start at the escape route. It works for me.
 
Lots of variables... first thing I do when trying to decide how to hunt a field. What direction is the wind? What way of hunting can I get the wind in my favor for the majority of the hunt, whether that is into the wind or a cross wind? And how can I hunt the field so I come across what I think will be the best part of it with either a head on or cross wind? It is pretty much geometrically impossible to not at least have a portion of the field with the wind at your back.

Other things to consider, if you get a wild flush a ways ahead of you, will those birds stay in the public land or are you pushing them to private land?
 
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