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I've always yearned to hunt upland birds. I don't have access to any land (yet), and don't know where to start, since no one I

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  • I've always yearned to hunt upland birds. I don't have access to any land (yet), and don't know where to start, since no one I

    I've always yearned to hunt upland birds. I don't have access to any land (yet), and don't know where to start, since no one I know bird hunts and can show me/take me. Any advice on how I can get my feet wet?

  • #2
    Look for public land to hunt, and then just go for a walk in the fall, look for the thick areas where birds like to hide. Use pictures to help you identify birds and their habits. I think that should get you started, if you have more specific questions feel free to ask.

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    • #3
      Where do you live and what do you want to hunt?

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      • #4
        Upland hunting is getting harder to do here. To many subdivisions taking good ground.

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        • #5
          I agree with MLH, also what type if any shotgun/s do you have or is that something that you need help with too. I'm sure someone can help if you could give some more info.

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          • #6
            Good upland hunting is getting hard to find. Check with your DNR concering public access and areas managed especially for upland hunting. Hiring a guide is a good way to gain expericence, especially in a one on one situation. Explain your learner status to your guide so that he understands you want to learn. Join local sportsman's organizations, quite often you can make contacts there. Your location and a little more info would be helpful.

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            • #7
              where are you at? MIlitary or State owned land will be the easiest to hunt. Otherwise drive around look for habitat and then find a house close to it, ask who owns it and if that doesn't work go to the county court house, get a plat map which shows all the private land in the county. (sometimes the state) and get a phone book. Personal visits are always prefered but you could call ahead and see when a good time to meet with the owner would be. Other than that go to you're state game biologist and see what information he has for you. It is his job to put hunters on game.

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              • #8
                I will probably get thrown off this thing for suggesting it but you might check for a local shooting preserve in your area. Some are in phone books or you can google it with your area as part of the search. The best place I have found are going to a local skeet range or gun club and ask them and check their bulletin board. What these guys do is take pen raised birds like quail,pheasant and chukars out and place them in cover for you. Every one I have been to has someone with a dog to hunt them with and he can show you what you need to learn. It does cost money but you will be on birds instantly and can see how different birds fly and how they work. And they aren't stuck with the normal seasons since they are their birds. Most work well into spring before it gets too hot. I go just to work my dog more since sadly upland is getting tougher all the time to find birds. Once you have done that a few times and watched and listened you can strike out on your own with a little more knowledge. That way your first times will be good experiances instead of frustrating ones. I pay under 150 a day for it but if you factor in what gas will cost just looking for birds it isn't too expensive. I am not rich either so don't take this as a rich mans answer. Don't give up on wild birds but go get yourself started and we will add one more member to our ranks.

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                • #9
                  These sound like good ideas. I live in OH, but am not worried about a good drive to get to decent places. I have a BPS 12g that'll hopefully get me going.

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                  • #10
                    hi_tail. Ohio DNR should be a great resource to locate public lands and learn more about the birds. Talk to their wildlife biologists.

                    I hunted bobwhite quail just north of Cinci back in the '70s. Not sure how the quail population is doing there now. Perhaps there is a local Quails Unlimited chapter close to you. Might also check Pheasants Forever for local chapters. I recommend getting involved and learning about the birds and habitat.

                    Ohio does have ruffed grouse. The Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS) website should show local chapters in OH. If you live close to PA, MI, IN, KY there are chapters there too. I hunt with people met through RGS.

                    And, you lucky dog, I think you have a mourning dove season.

                    BPS 12 is more than adequate. There's lots of differing opinions on loads, shot size, chokes, and gauges but you have to start somewhere. A lot of bird hunters prefer 20 or 28 ga doubles but use what you have.

                    Loads and chokes depend on what and where you are hunting. My take: Open chokes and light field loads, 7-1/2 or 8, for grouse and quail, going to 6 shot for grouse when the shots get longer. For my pump I handload spreaders for my first shot followed by standard field or target loads.

                    For pheasant, a 6 or 5 shot in a heavier load, and modified choke. If they are flushing long then change to full.

                    For doves, I am clueless - haven't shot any since I was a kid.

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                    • #11
                      I don't mean to sound ignorant, but how 'doable' is hunting upland birds without a dog?

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                      • #12
                        It is doable just harder. You have to work the brush in an area with birds just like pushing out rabbits. have you ever gone rabbit hunting? Just work thick hedgerows on the edge of fields and any cover around grain fields. like they have said earlier just get out and find cover and walk through. When you start flushing birds you will start to figure it out. I have hunted most of my life without a dog but I have now owned two and that is a cool experiance in ways. I would definately try to look up chapters of the orginizations mentioned. But in the end bird hunting is glorified hiking without the trails. But if you enjoy just walking outside it is always better with a 12 gauge.

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                        • #13
                          Sorey to sound smart, but nobody has mentioned the most important piece of upland gear...Good Boots comfprtable with good traction. Honestly sometimes it's easier w/o a dog there are days I leave my dog home. one of the best times to get a feel for finding birdy cover is later season when cold and snow or other not so nice weather keep birds sitting tight in those situations its black or white no gray areas helps to hone your "Pheasant Phinder" But Seriously consider joining Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, Quail Unlimited, of The Ruffed Grouse Society these groups are full of avid upland hunters and newcomers alike. Speaking as a PF Member my chapter has always welcomed newcomers young or old with open arms. Don't give up you are starting on a journey to some of the greatest times of your life.

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                          • #14
                            to MLH for doves I use cyl, or imp. cyl. with 8's for 12, 16, or 20, and imp.cyl, to mod with 71/2's in 28 or .410

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                            • #15
                              Agreed with Beekeeper answer above and A + 1 for you sir!!!

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