As my love for deer hunting has grown considerably over the years, so has my love for hunting birds. Most recently I have taken up pheasant, dove and crow hunting and found that I enjoy that just as much as I do hunting deer. Not only has it expanded my time in the outdoors, it introduced me to a much more relaxed and carefree hunting atmosphere, which I found is much needed after months of being so serious about deer hunting.
Last November I went on my very first pheasant hunt in Kansas. I didn’t really know what to expect but to prepare myself I shot skeet as often as possible throughout the summer and weeks leading up to opening day. Looking back, I feel that it was a good way to prepare and found that pheasants fly very similar to a clay pigeon being thrown out of a skeet thrower, starting at the ground and flying up. Not many birds were shot due to the previous years’ drought taking its toll on the population, but this will be a hunt I look forward to each November from now on.
Dove hunting was a slightly different story for me. They are much smaller, much faster, and fly totally different than a pheasant. The best way to prepare myself for dove hunting was to actually go dove hunting. I will admit that I spent a lot of time in the dove field last season and came home each time without a single dove. I feel my biggest mistakes were not swinging through the shot & leading the dove, and just getting too anxious & forcing a bad shot. Dove season starts this Monday and I feel much more prepared this season after my experience with it last year!
A less common type of bird hunting that has quickly grown to be my favorite is crow hunting. Like pheasant and dove, I also began crow hunting last year. Crows can be brought into shooting distance fairly easily with an electronic call and some crow decoys. I’ve found that crows are easier to hit than other game birds because they tend to fly slower, therefore you don’t have to lead them too much with your shotgun. Not only is crow hunting a blast, I feel it has helped me the most in becoming comfortable with my shotgun and learning how to handle it.
As a deer hunter, I have learned patience, appreciation, and determination. As a bird hunter, I learned each of those all over again. I set my rifle and bow & arrows aside, something I had become comfortable with, and learned my way around a different weapon. I’m glad I stepped outside of my comfort zone and tried something new last season. By doing so I not only learned the above skills again, I gained a whole new perspective on hunting.