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Hi guys, from Aus and I am going to be shooting some pheasant soon. They are only found here on a few farms that breed them for hunters. I shoot a lot of birds but I am not sure what size shot would work for me. My guess is 6 would be good because 4s feel to heavy and 7 or 8s seem to light. Anyway keen to see what you US based guys who have plenty of pheasant to hunt use. BTW will be using my 20Ga with 7/8 ounce loads out of light mod and mod chokes (side by side) cheers and hello from Australia.
 

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For farm/pen raised birds anything from 4-6 will work (5s are an awesome compromise). That said, a lot will depend on whether these are close in birds being hunted with pointers (so shots are close) or no dog and birds are running before taking flight at distance. If the former, 6s through moderate to open chokes; if the latter 5s or 4 through tighter chokes.
 

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oneounce

I guess you have never had the chance to hunt pheasants over a close working English Springer? No mention of flushers in your post unless they are in the "no dog" class. LOL

I hunted pen raised and wild birds all my life with 1 1/8oz. of 5's.


Steve
 

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my uncle hunted them with 6's with a m/f sbs.
 

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I hunted pheasant for a lot of years and always used #5 shot. Worked very well.
I used Improved Cylinder for the first shot and full for the (rare) second shot.

For close in IC is hard to beat.
 

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I guess you have never had the chance to hunt pheasants over a close working English Springer? No mention of flushers in your post unless they are in the "no dog" class. LOL

I hunted pen raised and wild birds all my life with 1 1/8oz. of 5's.

Steve
I have hunted pen birds with springers; never had to fire a shot -the dogs would run them down and bring them back alive so all we did was wring their necks.
Never had to worry about a piece of shot cracking a tooth that way!:D

At least the labs I hunted over weren't so wired like a kid after a double espresso; springers (and cockers) are excitable breeds to be sure.
 

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At least the labs I hunted over weren't so wired like a kid after a double espresso; springers (and cockers) are excitable breeds to be sure.
Very true, but way more fun to watch hunt then my son-in-laws Lab.

Steve
 

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Pheasant Shot

My son and I use 6 shot for all our pheasant hunting. The only thing we do is vary the amount of shot and the fps of the load depending on if we're hunting wild or preserve birds.
 
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Many years ago a friend and I hunted chukar every weekend in central Ore. We ran into to pheasant's too. Our shot of choice was 7 1/2 but both of us noticed that we recovered quite a few of the pheasant's still alive. Switched to #6 shot and the problem went away. I've always had the feeling #5 shot just for pheasant would have been better. haven't hunted then in a lot of years now.
 

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I have hunted native roosters in IA, KS, NE and SD going on 25 years. I have hunted the barnyard variety of pheasant in CT for 44 years. 1 oz. to 1 1/4 oz. of 6's and .010" to .015" of choke will kill as many as you care to put in the freezer. 5's are OK too. When the quail are around I use #7 for the first shot and have had excellent results on pheasants.

I have no use for #4 shot on pheasants.

My personal preference is 1 1/8 oz. of 6's @ 1,275 FPS using .015" of choke. On the pen raised birds here in CT, I change to .010" of choke.
 

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On wild pheasants my preferred load has always been 1 1/4 oz of 5s at 1,220 fps. The old Live Pigeon load but with 5s. They don't run away when hit with those 5s because I think they break bones better than 6s.

This was without dogs. I have not hunted wild birds with a dog so that makes a difference in what shots you get.
 

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I've pheasant hunted wild midwestern birds for the past 50+ years. Early season birds (=much closer shots) are usually taken with 6 - 7 1/2 shot. Late season birds (=much farther shots) often require 4 or 5 shot. As a general rule I use 2 3/4" #5, or #6 shotshells in my 20 gauge. BUT, let's not forget that shot size and velocity are just part of the equation. The 6 or larger numbered shot seems to work well out of a shorter improved, or modified choked barrels. The heavy #4 or 5 work effectively when combined with a longer fuller choked barrels. The background, cover, use of pointers (I'm a GSP guy), and other variables all play a part in successful hunts. We call pen raised pheasants "footballs" because you have to kick em' to get em' to fly. Not my schtick, but I don't hold hunting em' against anybody.
 

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I've pheasant hunted wild midwestern birds for the past 50+ years. Early season birds (=much closer shots) are usually taken with 6 - 7 1/2 shot. Late season birds (=much farther shots) often require 4 or 5 shot. As a general rule I use 2 3/4" #5, or #6 shotshells in my 20 gauge. BUT, let's not forget that shot size and velocity are just part of the equation. The 6 or larger numbered shot seems to work well out of a shorter improved, or modified choked barrels. The heavy #4 or 5 work effectively when combined with a longer fuller choked barrels. The background, cover, use of pointers (I'm a GSP guy), and other variables all play a part in successful hunts. We call pen raised pheasants "footballs" because you have to kick em' to get em' to fly. Not my schtick, but I don't hold hunting em' against anybody.
I had to laugh when you said "pen raised = footballs" I never heard that said here in calif., all the years I have hunted.:)
 

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We call pen raised pheasants "footballs" because you have to kick em' to get em' to fly. Not my schtick, but I don't hold hunting em' against anybody.
I hunted a place in Northern California called Suisun Marsh IIRC. I had a great Lab at that time and when he found a pheasant that wouldn't flush, he'd smack it with his paw. Then it would flush and away we went.
 

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I've pheasant hunted wild midwestern birds for the past 50+ years. Early season birds (=much closer shots) are usually taken with 6 - 7 1/2 shot. Late season birds (=much farther shots) often require 4 or 5 shot. As a general rule I use 2 3/4" #5, or #6 shotshells in my 20 gauge. BUT, let's not forget that shot size and velocity are just part of the equation. The 6 or larger numbered shot seems to work well out of a shorter improved, or modified choked barrels. The heavy #4 or 5 work effectively when combined with a longer fuller choked barrels. The background, cover, use of pointers (I'm a GSP guy), and other variables all play a part in successful hunts. We call pen raised pheasants "footballs" because you have to kick em' to get em' to fly. Not my schtick, but I don't hold hunting em' against anybody.
Used to be a club called Topaz Sportsmen's Club near Topaz lake on the NV/CA border. He raised his birds from eggs to fields and there were a few that hadn't gotten "birdie" yet where we had to kick them in the ass to get them to fly....didn't need a dog for those birds and you sure didn't need anything tighter than a LM for the second shot
 

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I hunted a place in Northern California called Suisun Marsh IIRC. I had a great Lab at that time and when he found a pheasant that wouldn't flush, he'd smack it with his paw. Then it would flush and away we went.
I would have loved to seen that dog do that! That is one smart Lab!
 

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You don't know the half of it. One day it was pouring rain and the birds didn't want to flush, so they were running. He went back and forth around 30 feet a few times chasing the bird, thenthe pheasant finally got tired of it and flushed. He jumped up in the air and smacked the pheasant out of the air with his paw.

A group of guys who saw it came over and asked me how I trained him to do that. I told them I didn't, he just did it on his own.

His name was Ornbaun's Steam Power and he showed it.
 

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That is too funny! What a personality! 😄 Need to breed him or her and hopefully retain some of those wonderful characteristics.
 

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I didn't breed him and he's gone now, but the breeder, Ornbaun, is pretty well known in the world of competition and hunting labradors.
 
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