Hunting

How to Hunt Pheasant Without a Bird Dog

Flying Rooster Pheasant over the prairie

Pheasant hunting is one of my favorite ways to spend a day, and many of my fondest outdoor memories come from hunting pheasant with a couple of dogs and three or so family members.

While pheasant hunting falls into one of those fall and winter hunting seasons, it’s still smart to learn new tactics year round so you can prep and have a good gameplan set for when the season comes around.

For most pheasant hunters, having a bird dog is a must. The dog does a lot of the work and that helps make the hunt enjoyable and successful. You don’t have to have dogs to hunt pheasant, though, and you should never let the lack of a good bird dog keep you from heading out. Here’s how to hunt pheasant without a dog.

Hunt in a Group

Hunters walking through field
Jupiterimages (Getty)

The best way to ensure you can hunt pheasant without a bird dog is to hunt in a group. You can do it with just two people, but I highly suggest three or more. That way you have plenty of people to cover ground and be ready when a bird flushes.

Divide Pushers and Shooters

In addition to having at least three people, you should also think about dividing up your group into pushers and shooters. The pushers are the guys who are actively looking to flush the birds for the shooters. Essentially, they’re doing the work the dog usually does. They’re working to kick up birds.

Make sure to rotate fairly often. This will not only allow everyone in your party to get shots but it will also keep the people working to flush the birds fresh. It’s pretty hard work at times to get pheasant to kick up, and you can’t let one person do it all day.

Hunt With a Plan

Back of going hunter with killed pheasant in hunter’s hand

Not only do you need to get a group of guys together and have a strategy for that group, but you need a plan for the hunt itself. Discuss ahead of time who is doing what and where everyone needs to be. Talk the attributes of the land, weather, and any information people need to know while out hunting. The better the plan ahead of time the more likely your group is to be successful.

Hunt the Land Efficiently

If you’re hunting a fairly large area, you should discuss how you want to divide it up before you head out. This will keep everyone on the same page and ensure that you hunt the land in the most efficient manner. Where are you going to start and where do you want to end the hunt? Those are the questions you should ask yourself and others in your group.

You can be a little looser when you have a dog doing most of the work, but when you and your buddies have to do the hard work, you’ll want to be as efficient as possible. Get a map, GPS, or smartphone out and actually show people where and how you’re going to hunt the land.

If you focus on hunting efficiently and in a group, you should be able to bag a few birds despite being without a dog.


Any thoughts or questions? Leave a comment below!

How to pheasant hunt without a dog

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