Chasing Roosters in December

As pheasant opener has come and gone, the preferred destinations that many hunters flocked to early in the season are now left barren. Many people overlook the excellent opportunity that chasing roosters in December presents. With temperatures hovering around freezing or below, pheasants tend to group up during this time. Crops have been harvested and most areas in the country have received a blanket of snow, pushing pheasants to better cover. This means a well thought out game plan is necessary before hitting the field.

Babe Winkelman
Babe Winkelman

From the opening of the season, pheasants receive heavy pressure and gunfire, meaning a vast amount of pheasants have already been harvested. There are still plenty of roosters to be had, but a different approach needs to be taken. The surviving birds are clever, which means you need to be smart when chasing roosters in December.

In my many years of hunting in December, I find I am the most successful when hunting with a smaller group. Hunting in a large group presents a number of challenges, such as miscommunication and pushing pheasants in the wrong direction. When I talk about a small group, I am talking about four to five hunters accompanied by a dog. This allows for a stealthy approach, increasing your chances of being fruitful by day’s end.

Other considerations to keep in mind include keeping noise to a minimum. Make a lot of noise and you will find the birds are long gone. By learning to utilize hand signals in your hunting party, you will increase your odds of success.

Another consideration is planning. Before you step foot afield to chase roosters this December, come up with a concrete game plan that your entire hunting party understands. Be patient and take note of what the birds are doing around you. By locating escape routes and patterns, you can better coordinate with your hunting group where to set your blockers.

Cold weather might require you to bundle up and add an extra layer in December, but the adrenaline rush you get from flushing bunched up roosters will leave you shaking in excitement — and not from the cold.

Get out there today and be greeted with fewer hunters and more pheasants!

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