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These annual pre-season 'load, shot size, choke for pheasants' threads are usually entertaining and occasionally illuminating (or worth eliminating by flushing smile ).
I recall the debate between Bro. Larry and the gentleman from Alaska (who is currently inflicting himself upon trapshooters.com) on the Shooting Sportsman Forum. He had never hunted east of Washington State, and mostly guided for pen raised birds, but was an expert in Great Plains big country pheasant hunting and confidently believed 1 oz. of 7s would bring down any pheasant at 40 yds laugh

A well known gun writer claimed in the Shooting column of Shooting Sportsman in 2007 "In 11 seasons and thousands of birds, we lost a sum total of one (pheasant)" and "I can't tell you how many hundreds of pheasants I've shot with a 28, but I can tell you that I've never lost one..."
Journalistic hyperbole aside, he then doubled down in response to a Letter to the Editor challenging these claims.

I've been in South Dakota doing the mass push and block military exercise mostly as a social event. Not what I enjoy. Most of the low life philistines had Benellis - Montefeltros and SBEs and were using Federal 1 3/8 4s which the guide almost demanded. We also had 12 and 20g SxSs with lighter loads. The best shot (by far) was an orthopedic surgeon specializing in knee arthroscopy who grew up in Ulysses, KS and had incredible eye-hand coordination. He was using a SBE and I asked what choke tube he had in and he didn't know; turned out to be Mod from his last duck hunt.
Point is, everybody killed birds, with every gun and choke and load combination. The experienced guys of course did much better than a couple a first timers. And I think that is the key. Technology will never triumph over talent, or the lack thereof wink And whatever allows the hunter to cleanly kill and harvest a (edible) pheasant within the distance limitations he chooses is what works, and arguing 'my way is the best way' is silly. But it gives us something to do until we can get out with our pups. And as an inspiration, the oft posted image from Presho, S. Dakota smile



And an unpleasant annual reminder. Some friends were in Russell, KS for opening weekend staying in the motel just off I-70. The parking lot was filled with hunting vehicles including pickups with aluminum dog boxes in the beds. In the middle of the night, the local meth addict and his buddy dumped out the dogs and stole a bunch of the loose dog boxes. I heard all but a pointer were found the next day. BE CAREFUL OUT THERE.

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Thanks, Drew. I find humorous the oft posted concept of developing loads for guns with tight chokes to open their patterns, while nothing is ever mentioned 'bout developing loads to tighten the patterns of guns with open chokes.

Hey, the "virginity" is gone from those guns, why would we work on developing anything for them?

Hilarious.

"Developing loads" would tend to indicate guys using a reloading bench, at home. I was assured, several times, by a transplanted Brit gunsmith that if it weren't for Americans with a reloading press, and a good double gun of some sort, that they fed the results of their efforts with the reloading press to, he would be a far poorer man.

The same gunsmith also told me all he ever used for "pheasant hunting" were Winchester "Feather Lites", in size 7 1/2. I then asked him about the pheasant hunting he did, and it seems he only pheasant hunted on an estate that featured driven birds, just like home. He never took a shot at birds already past, and the estate didn't have particularly high, or, wild birds. He did quite well shooting like this.

But, my birds never come like that. Mine are flying 30mph away from me, not 40mph at me, which changes the impact of ammunition on said birds, I suspect. It seems we differed somewhat on opinion for pheasant loads. 1 1/4 5s and 6s have been my friends for a long time, for the pheasant I get to hunt.

Was he right? Yup. Was I right? Yup.

Happy pheasant season, Drew.

Best,
Ted

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Thank you Ted. And a great, and safe season to you and everyone!

My 1908 Smith and 1913 Fox bird guns lost their 'new' a long time ago so the arguments for originality don't apply, but Ben Franklin said some nice things about women with experience wink

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Drew,

That's a good read.
If you post a variation on that synopsis once a year I'll be less tempted to open any of those load/choke threads.

FWIW, the story I recall is that a fella left his setter in the cab of his pickup truck and went into a diner for a bite to eat. He came out to find his window smashed...and two setters on the seat.


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I think they found the Pointer just east of Denver wink

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Originally Posted By: Drew Hause


I think they found the Pointer just east of Denver wink


Rocky Mountains must've slowed him down enough to catch!...Geo

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I always love tongue in cheek posts, even more so if they contain a little truth. Thanks Drew.

It may be of interest to you that one of those 4H kids for whom you send me those old collars to use, finished two dogs in a retriever field trial two weeks ago, one second and one third. I understand that the field was large enough that 87 dogs were called back, though I do not remember hearing for what series. The lad also judged a trial in Idaho this past weekend.

Those old collars did a lot of good, Sir.


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I was briefly in the guiding business (wild birds in Iowa) in the mid-90's. For 4 seasons. Small groups, pointing dogs--usually mine, and I preferred just 2 guys. Hunted with a group of 3 on a couple occasions, and one of my more interesting clients was an octogenarian heart surgeon. We had early, heavy snow the year he and his buddies came out. Harvest was late, a lot of the CRP was flattened, and we were forced to hunt standing corn. He didn't mind blocking, and was well prepared for long shots: 2 ounces of 2's. And he could put that load to use. Most of the time, on the hunts I guided, guys were shooting over points, and the problem was that they'd dump both barrels (or sometimes shoot 3 times with an auto) while the bird was still in easy range.

But my hunts aren't like the large group deals so common in SD. A skeet choke and an ounce of 7 1/2's would have worked fine most of the time, when we were working big CRP fields. Not a lot of long shots.

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In a meaningless attempt at statistical significance and consensus smile I went through the two threads on chokes. Assuming upland birds west of the Mississippi with a double, the final tally among those willing to say:
7 for IC / IM
7 for Skeet or IC / Mod
Surprising 4 for CF
1 M/IM
1 MF
Some favored spreaders but did not specify choke; assume tight.

I would think by adjusting shot size a guy could do with one gun and an ounce of shot for bobwhite and western quail, prairie grouse, mountain grouse, pheasant, huns, and even chuker with any combination, a good dog, and a bit of self discipline. It's not like we won't eat if we choose not to shoot at birds we don't have confidence that we can cleanly kill and retrieve.

Last edited by Drew Hause; 09/16/14 11:21 PM.
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Make that 5 for CF, it's an awesome combo.

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