Pheasants are very keen animals. Brought over to the United States from Asia in the 1800s, they have since become one of the most hunted birds in the world. With 5 cones in each eye and exceptional vision, pheasants will notice you. Your choice of clothing is more for your benefit than anything else.
It starts with the essentials. A vest may not be your thing when it comes to fashion statements, but it’s highly advantageous. You also need good boots anytime you go into the woods, with long sleeves, layered clothing, blazing orange, and gloves.
One of a pheasant’s extra cones detects ultraviolet light, while the other is a double cone for detecting motion. With that knowledge in hand, you could wear a clown suit while pheasant hunting, and you may only lose a slight advantage.
What to wear Pheasant Hunting
If you want the best hunting experience, you need to have proper pheasant hunting clothing, especially if you’re hunting without a dog. Without man’s best friend beside you, it’s your job to flush roosters and hens.
A good vest is an essential clothing item on your list. You need one with pockets for carrying the essentials, including extra shotgun shells, your hunting license, gloves, and water. Keep it lightweight, and it should never obstruct your ability to shoulder your shotgun.
Depending on the state you live in, there are different rules and regulations on wearing blaze orange material while hunting. Some states advise it, while most require a set number of square inches that you have to wear.
Pheasants will see you whether you are in a gillie suit or shooting flares in the air while dancing and screaming, so the blazing orange only matters for your safety. You should wear at least a blazing orange cap or a suitable amount of it on your vest.
Pheasant hunting starts at different times in different states but usually begins in the fall and goes well into the winter. Layered clothing is a good idea since pheasant hunting is best early in the mornings before the night’s chill has worn off. You can layer down as the day goes on and the weather warms.
It’s also good protection. You’ll spend a lot of time moving through low-lying bushes, undergrowth, briars, and everything else you can imagine. That’s not to mention all the frigid morning dew rubbing off on your clothes. Extra layers will keep you warm and protect your skin.
Upland hunting boots
You’ll need a solid pair of hunting boots, preferably high tops and waterproof. There are plenty of boots out there with Gortex, which is an excellent waterproofing material. A good pair of upland hunting boots are comfortable, durable enough for long hikes, waterproof, and provide plenty of protection for your ankle and lower calf.
Hunting pheasants means covering a lot of ground and shoddy or cheap boots or going to force you to pay the price. Nothing is worse than blisters rising up on your ankles and heels. If your feet get wet, you might as well call it a day, especially if it’s pretty chilly outside.
Ear & Eye Protection
No pheasant hunting attire is complete without safety in mind. A good pair of shooting glasses and hearing protection are worth their weight in gold. Hunting in the morning hours means the sun might be in your eyes anytime you’re facing east.
Shooting glasses that are tinted and provide UV protection, like the BLUPOND Sports or the Beretta Performance Shooting shield are perfect. When it comes to hearing protection, keep it small and simple, with Howard Light by Sperian or The Ear Buddy.
Large and unwieldy earmuffs may interfere with your stock placement and cheek weld. Using the smaller ear protection option allows you some freedom of movement and doesn’t mask your ability to hear what’s happening around you as much as ear muffs.
You’ll need the gloves for the same reasons you need the layered clothing, to protect your hands from every briar and bramble that wants to latch on for the ride. Plus, it’ll help keep your hands warm.
When it comes to shooting, you can either try to tug your gloves off your shooting hand when every second matters or you can learn to shoot with gloves on. The latter is the best option. Shooting with a glove on feels a little alien when you’re exercising trigger control for the first time, but it’s worth the know-how.
Don’t bother wearing huge, bulky gloves, or you’ll have trouble getting your finger in the trigger guard. You can always cut the index finger off the glove if it’s more trouble than it’s worth.
You should approach pheasant hunting the same way you approach any difficult task—well prepared. You don’t have to worry much about pheasants seeing you or not. Unless you can turn invisible, that’s just a foregone conclusion.
What gives you the edge is how well prepared you are for the hunt, whether you have dependable gear, are practicing proper safety precautions, and have everything you need to respond to every eventuality.
You don’t have to get crazy and take out a second mortgage on your home to afford everything. But if you want your hunting experience to be comfortable, fun, and exciting, especially if it’s your first time, then you want to do it the right way.
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