Wingshooting basics are really pretty simple, similar methods are used for all types of upland bird hunting, be it pheasant, grouse, chukar, partridge, snipe or quail. Basically, you’ll walk through areas with lots of cover that looks like it would hold the type of game bird you’re after. As you hunt more, you’ll begin to get a good idea of what kind of habitat holds birds. Hunting dogs aren’t absolutely necessary, but they make the experience so much more rewarding. So much so, that most hunters state that the main reason they bird hunt is to watch the dogs work.
“When you have shot one bird flying you have shot all birds flying. They are all different and they fly in different ways but the sensation is the same and the last one is as good as the first.” – Ernest Hemingway
ALWAYS know the location of your fellow hunters, including the dogs, and follow these safety precautions:
- Keep your firearms muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
- Keep your finger outside of the trigger guard until ready to shoot.
- Always treat every firearm as if it were loaded.
- Be sure of your target and what is in front of it and beyond it.
- Wear blaze orange.
Dressing Game Birds
Read your upland bird hunting laws for your state. Some states require that you leave one wing or the head attached during transport.
- Pluck feathers on lower breast and abdomen Cut through the belly skin at base of breast.
- Bend bird backwards and remove all entrails.
- Pluck feathers or remove feathery cape.
- Dry bird and keep it cool until you get it home; then refrigerate until cooking.
How to Cook Upland Birds
Maybe the best part of upland bird hunting is the fine cuisine, but you need some good recipes. Cooked properly, gamebirds should have a blush of pink, like a good-quality pork loin. Pheasant, snipe, quail, wild turkey, partridge, and grouse tastes similar to chicken of wild game birds. Ruffed grouse have a strong flavor that many hunters prefer to pheasant or quail, which can be bland.
Upland Bird Hunting Gear List
*The gear list is an important subject matter and does require personal contact with the outfitter prior to departing from your home.
- Hunting license with required stamps, photocopy of personal ID
- Shotgun with gun case
- Ammunition as required by state
- Quick shotgun cleaning kit
- Insulated outerwear including gloves and hat
- Upland boots, heavyweight socks
- Chemical warmers for hands and feet
- GPS *we like the Garmin inReach
- Protective eyewear, earplugs