Upland Bird Hunting
Where and when should you hunt for upland birds? What gear do you need? What tricks do you need to know?
You might think that hunting is a sport your grandfather or father did, but don't be fooled. Many hunters are now women and the sport has turned into a $40 billion plus annual industry. Estimates by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service place the number of Americans who enjoy this sport (including fishing) at about 40 million. This is a precision sport. It requires skill, is challenging, and of course, there is the lure of the great outdoors. Upland generally refers to the hunting of inland birds. The most popular are dove, quail, grouse and pheasant.
Where is the best place to hunt for upland birds?
Upland hunting is common in all parts of the country. Hunters are generally found standing around in fields and prairies, near where these types of birds eat. Find out where public and private lands are, although you will probably have to pay a fee to hunt on the latter.
When's the best time to hunt for upland birds?
The fall and early winter months are usually best for upland birds. Bird populations are dense, seasons are longer than waterfowl, and limits are larger. Choose the time of day that best fits your schedule because these birds feed at all times of the day,
What kind of gear do you need when hunting for upland birds?
* A hunting license - a must! Some states even require proof of a hunting safety course.
* Any shotgun - from a 12-gauge to .410 gauge.
* Attire - heavy canvas pants faced with leather or nylon for trudging through briers and thickets; game vest with many pockets to store shells and a place to stuff the game you shoot.
* A good dog, either:
* A pointer to track down birds, or
* A retriever to bring back your kill, or
* A springer to flush the birds up.
Shoot when the birds descend or take off. Because you're using a shotgun, don't shoot at anything beyond 40-yards. For more information, contact your local wildlife and fisheries department or sporting goods store.