The Ultimate Pheasant Hunting Gear List

If you’re lucky enough to live in rural South Dakota, pheasant hunting is pretty darn simple. Grab your shotgun, throw on a blaze cap, walk out your door and you’re pheasant hunting. Most of us have to travel some distance to chase ringnecks. That travel requires a little planning to ensure you have all the gear you need for a successful hunt. To help you plan your next rooster pheasant hunt, check out our Ultimate Pheasant Hunting Gear List.

benelli shotgun with shell in sideways to shot that it is safe
Safety First! My hunting partners and I always place a shell sideways in the breech of our shotguns when we get back to the truck as a clear flag to everyone that our guns are safe.

Pheasant Hunting Guns and Ammo

  • Shotgun – My current favorite pheasant gun is my 12 gauge Benelli M2. An improved Cylinder Choke is perfect for most pheasant hunting scenarios
  • Rifle – for shooting prairie dogs and the occasional coyote while you’re waiting for shooting time
  • Gun Cases – I’m partial to the Signatures series case by Boyt Harness
  • 5 Boxes of Federal Prairie Storm Ammo (Hopefully, I don’t need that many!)
  • 4 Boxes Federal Premium .223
  • Gun Cleaning Supplies
Pheasant Hunter and brittany spaniel
The author with his Brittany, a limit of Pheasants, and a Sharptail Grouse near Winner South Dakota

Upland Hunting Bag

I keep a bag stocked with all the gear I need for pheasant and grouse hunting trips. I’ve found the Sportsman’s Utility Bag by Filson is the perfect size for my needs. Here are the items I keep in this bag.

  • Ammo
  • Binoculars (My Swarovski SLC 10X42‘s are excellent for glassing across the prairie)
  • Compass                              
  • First Aid  Kit     
  • Game Shears  (Check out our easy method for Cleaning Pheasants)  
  • Gun Cleaning Supplies            
  • Hand Cleanser
  • Hearing Protection
  • Hunting License
  • Hunter Safety Certificate
  • Journal & Pen                       
  • Knife – Benchmade 940-2
  • Leatherman Tool
  • Leather shooting gloves – These unlined gloves by Bob Allen are a favorite
  • Shooting Glasses
  • Toilet Paper (just in case)
Filson Sportsman Utility Bag
The versatile Sportsman Utility Bag can be used as a blind bag, field bag, shooting bag, camera bag, or travel bag.

Dog Gear 

Brittany dog with pheasants

All of my dog gear lives in a 56 quart Plano Tote Box which is the perfect size for the task. Here are the items that I keep in my dog gear tote (with the exception of the kennel and Ruff Tough water dish).

  • Chest Protector Dog Vest – Pheasant country is full of barbed wire. A chest protector has saved me more than a few trips to the vet for stitches
  • Dog Leash – I carry a five-foot leather leash, in a compartment in my game vest, for the obvious reasons, but it can also be used to release your dog if it becomes caught in a conibear trap. A length of rope also works, just tie a loop for your foot at the bottom. (Click Here to watch a video on how to release your dog from a conibear trap.)
  • Dog treats
  • First Aid Kit – For Dogs (See Related Article: First Aid for Dogs)
  • Food and bowls
  • ID Collar – (With your name and mobile number)
  • Ruff Land Dog Kennel – Their Medium size is perfect for my Britanny
  • Ruff Land Water Dish
  • Vaccination Documentation (legally required in South Dakota)
  • Water Bottle – Carried in your game vest to provide your pup a drink
  • 7 Gallon Water Jug

Pheasant Hunting E-Collar

I cannot imagine hunting with a dog, without an e-collar. A collar-trained dog is a pleasure to hunt with, and it’s much safer for your dog. My Brittany typically only needs a tone from the collar to return to me. A GPS-enabled e-collar is an added benefit and peace of mind. The SportDOG Brand Tek 2.0 is a feature-packed GPS tracking collar and a current favorite. A non-GPS model to check out is the SportDOG Brand UplandHunter 1875

Pro Tip: If you normally only feed dry dog food, consider bringing along some canned food on your hunting trips to encourage finicky eaters.  

Brittany spaniel dog in protective vest
A protective dog vest has saved my dog from many barbed wire cuts

Misc Pheasant Hunting Gear

  • Bird Box – A plastic tub to place birds in when you empty your vest. Reduces feathers from flying around in your truck
  • Camp Chair -There’s nothing better than pulling out the camp chair for a cold beer on the prairie when you’re done hunting for the day
  • Coffee Mug – After breakfast in town, I fill up my mug for the drive to the fields where we’ll be hunting
  • Two Way Radios – A handy way to keep in touch when there’s no cell coverage
  • Coolers – One for birds and one for drinks 
  • 1 Gallon Ziploc Freezer Bags
Pheasant Hunter
A pheasant hunter near Winner South Dakota

Pheasant Hunting Boots

I am convinced that part of my pheasant hunting success comes down to walking more miles than other hunters. More miles equates to more pheasant flush opportunities. On a typical day of pheasant hunting, I will hike 6-9 miles. To walk this far in comfort, you need a quality boot. For most pheasant hunting I prefer a waterproof, uninsulated leather boot with a pair of wool socks.  I always bring two pairs of boots on pheasant hunts and rotate them daily. It’s also a good idea to pack a portable Boot Dryer to gently dry out your boots after a wet day in the field. 

Top Pheasant Hunting Boot Models

Irish Setter Wing Shooter Model 894

Pheasant Hunting Clothing

I hunt the same week in South Dakota every year. In over 20 years of pheasant hunting the same week every October, I’ve seen snowstorms, 95-degree heat, and literally everything in between. Given the wild swings in weather, one needs to watch the forecast and dress accordingly. Here are the items that I commonly pack for a wide range of conditions:

  • Belt – Filson
  • Blaze Baseball Cap        
  • Blaze Insulated Cap – Filson
  • Fleece Headband – A fleece headband is handy to keep in your pocket and slip over your ears if it gets cold
  • Game Vest – LL Bean makes a great upland vest
  • Jacket – An insulated upland jacket or coat will replace your game vest when it’s cold
  • Long underwear
  • Pants (sometimes called “brush”, “briar”, or “upland” – LL Bean’s Upland Pants are a favorite. Be sure to own at least one pair that is waterproof           
  • Rain gear
  • Shooting Shirts – Boyt Harness has a nice line of upland shirts    
  • Socks – Smartwool  
  • Suspenders – Boyt Harness
  • T-Shirts – Non-cotton
  • Underwear – Non-cotton

Pro Tip: Use boot dryers to dry out your boots each evening.

Related: How to Clean a Pheasant

Editor’s Note: If you care about our wild places and upland game, consider joining Pheasants Forever. Your membership matters! Over 91% of your membership fees go directly towards habitat projects, public awareness, and education.

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