Here’s a tip that will help you harvest more smart, long-tailed roosters. In the “olden days” when I was taught to hunt pheasants by my father and grandfather, one thing that would earn a stern look from either man was talking while on a pheasant drive. Pheasants have extremely good hearing and learn to associate human voices with big trouble. Granted, you make plenty of noise while traversing heavy cover, but the pheasants don’t know if you’re a cow, a deer, a horse or what. But let one human voice be heard and pheasants know to “get out of town!” Plan some simple hand signals with your hunting partners and keep voices to a minimum. Use whistles to handle your dogs when possible. Save the high fives and hollering until the end of the drive.
Another tip for outsmarting old long-tailed roosters: Carry a hawk whistle. As you are working a patch of cover, blow the hawk call every now and then. Pheasants will hold better instead of making a run for it. And while hunting heavy cover, don’t just walk at a steady pace; vary it considerably and stop dead in your tracks regularly. When a predator such as a fox or coyote is hunting pheasants in cover and they spot a bird, they freeze for a moment just before they leap. Pheasants know this well and when you stop suddenly in cover, a bird that is holding tight will think, “The jig’s up” and may flush immediately. This tactic stops many of those wily roosters from letting you walk by and then flushing, or just walking away after you pass.
From— From the Field: Member Tips and Insights