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I am making my 1st trip pheasant hunting with my Father and Brother-in-law this October. I am pretty excited. I just had a few questions.

1. My favorite shotgun is an Ithica Featherlight 20 gauge. It will not handle 3" shells. Can I get a shell @ 2 3/4" that will be sufficient? I could take a 12 ga., I just don't like it.
2. What are some of the general rules of etiquette that I may not be familiar with? There will be 11 of us, 8 of which I don't know. I don't want to make any enemies in the field.
3. Is there anything else I need to know?

Thanks for sharing all your experience to a hunter new to ringnecks!

Elvis
 

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Your 20 should be enough with 2 3/4 inch shells especially if you have a dog or two. I've hunted those big corn fed roosters down there and have shot many a bird with the 20. I too will be going to SD this year. They have a new law down there that you can now hunt road side ditches. This should help the average joe at least be able to get out of the car and go for a couple walks. However they have the law that us ND hunters are trying to fend off up here that all land is considered posted unless you contact the land owner. I go to SD every year more to see my brother than to take hunting serious. This law makes it very frusterating to take hunting real serious. It can be awfully tough to find a landowner and see a stubble field with 30 big roosters looking at you in the face, and I guarnatee you that this will happen to you down there! After going down there for several years we have met some landowners and have some spots on private land which helps. They're pheasant count was up the highest it has been in the last 40 years. There should be a ton of birds and if you can hit some of the public land early you will get birds, but they won't be there for long and you are going to have to do your homework and get a hold of some land owners. :-?
 

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E,

1. I use only a 20 for all upland. I prefer a 3' for pheas, but many will disagree. If you wanted the added boost of "plated" shot, I'm told only the Fiochi (Golden Pheas) is truely "plated" and gives you the shape retention qualitiies 'plating" is supposed to give. the rest of the "platedes" merely get a candy coating to make them look pretty. I like #5's as an all around good shot size.

2. Don't shoot anyone or shoot at anyone. Sounds funny and basic, but you'll see what I mean once you get a taste of posse style hunting, which I've come to loath. Cattails, standing corn and/or many multiple bird flushes make for a dangerous hunting situation. On my last trip to SD I took three pellets at 30 yards from a guy who claimed to have hunted accident-free for 30+ years.

3. figure out who the "hunt master" is and listen to him. Large groups can become a "cluster-f", especially when working large tracts, and no one likes a rookie who doesn't follow protocol by posting or walking somewhere other than where he's expected. Other than mayhem and not working the birds right, this is also a safety issue.

Have a great time. If you get on some good ground, you'll be absolutely awed by the bird numbers.
 

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Buy some good safety glasses rated for birdshot protection wear lots of orange. Going into a field with a bunch of hunters you don't know is very dangerous.
 

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Have any of you hunted SD late in the season do the birds come back to public land after the pressure subsides or is there pressure all season?
 

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One of the best hunting outings I ever had was a late season pheasant hunt in SD on public land around Eureka, after a light snow fell. Birds were holding for dog nicely over points. It was a blast.
 
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