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.
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
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.
- Binoculars (My Swarovski SLC 10X42‘s are excellent for glassing across the prairie)
- 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)
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.
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 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
- Danner – Grouse Model
- Irish Setter Wing Shooter Model 894
- LL Bean Kangaroo Upland Boot
- Russell Signature South 40 Birdshooter
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
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