Summer Hunting: Upland Birds

In the previous summer hunting articles, wild hogs, coyotes and squirrels were mentioned as worthy animals to hunt during the summer. However, most people think of game birds as only a late fall or winter activity but they would be wrong. There are hundreds of bird farmers in the U.S. and a lot of them either sell birds to the public or offer year-round hunting opportunities.

For owners of working bird dogs, it only makes sense to train as often as possible. I have grown up with bird hunters and thirty years ago, hunters had to wait for the appropriate bird season to open before they could work their dogs. Not anymore. 

There are two ways to utilize farm raised birds; you can hunt the actual property owned by the bird farmers. Most game bird farms offer packages in half-day or full-day time blocks. Some give discounts for off-season purchases. This is a great way to go if you don’t have any private land to hunt.

Another option is to buy birds and take them to your choice of hunting location. The costs can be lowered if you can find a couple of other hunters to share a bird package. However, every state has laws pertaining to where and when game birds can be used or released so always know the law. 

Pheasants are the most popular upland bird to hunt and they are the most expensive. One way to lower the cost of such an endeavor is to buy smaller birds such as chukars or quail. Both of these birds are excellent eating and their quickness and agility can make for a fun shooting challenge.

For those hunters who don’t like the fact that most farm raised game birds do not flush or fly as well as wild birds, you can still make it fun. Try taking a bow and a quiver full of flu flu arrows. For those unfamiliar with these wooden arrows, they have oversized feather fletching on them which allows them to slow down in mid-flight and lose their velocity. They are easy to retrieve since they do not fly very far, but they can be deadly at close range.

Having slow birds is also another reason to get a hunting dog some good field experience. Slow flushing birds can give a pup the confidence it needs to build a hunting foundation that you can fine tune and expand upon during normal hunting seasons. 

Game birds are a great excuse to go summer hunting.