Enjoy Guided Pheasant Hunting at The Wilderness Reserve

When it comes to bird hunting, the dog can make all the difference. Here at The Wilderness Reserve, we strive to make the hunting experience fully accessible to all, and that includes guided pheasant hunting for those who don’t have their own fully trained gun dogs. This is why we are pleased to have a professional guide and gun dog trainer, Walt Noa, on the Wilderness Team.

Professional Pheasant Hunting Guide

Walt brings years of bird hunting and outdoors experience to the Wilderness Team. He has been guiding preserve hunts for over 30 years, and loves the unique challenge that each game bird provides. In addition to guiding pheasant hunts at The Wilderness Reserve, Walt operates the Black Duck Hunting Preserve in Rapid River, Michigan.

The Rapid River preserve offers bird, deer and bear hunts, and is home to the U.P. Bird Hunters Association, with over 50 members. The group takes a fun approach to bird hunting and holds monthly meetings to fine tune both knowledge and skills. The Black Duck Hunting Preserve also hosts the Double Gun Classic, a side-by-side shotgun 3 day tournament held in August.

Although Walt is a knowledgeable guide, his passion is the outdoorsman’s best friend – their gun dogs. He trains roughly 40 dogs per year at the preserve, and although this makes for a crazy schedule, he loves every minute of it!

Successful Gun Dog Trainer

Gun Dog TrainerTo hear Walt speak about gun dog training, and debate the personalities of dogs, is truly inspiring. One can tell right away that he knows what he is talking about and strives for an even deeper understanding of the animals’ nature. “Every dog is different, I still learn more and more every day”, he explains.

Walt became involved with the training of gun dogs when he got his first dog, when he was a deputy sheriff in Lower Michigan. He describes the experience with that hindsight vision, saying “the dog turned out good in spite of me.” When Walt moved to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in 1998, he began mentoring under an experienced trainer and was soon helping friends with their dogs before taking the step to operating his own dog training business.

The key to developing bird hunting skills in any breed of dog lays with the proper training, and that is what Walt offers. His approach is centered more on rewards than correction, with an understanding that really good training takes time and baby steps. He also strongly recommends one-on-one training with both the dog and the owner for the best results.

Guided Pheasant Hunting at The Wilderness Reserve

Pheasant Hunting | The Wilderness ReserveWalt explains that guided pheasant hunting at The Wilderness Reserve can suit hunters of all different levels, as well as their dogs. The reserve setting is a great way to try out a relatively inexperienced bird dog, and build their skills. Love pheasant hunting but don’t have your own gun dog? The Wilderness Reserve can happily accommodate you with a guide/dog pheasant hunting package.

This challenging sport is also ideal for groups, whether you are planning a corporate retreat or a weekend getaway with friends or family. In addition, The Wilderness has shooting courses that are both good practice and fun. Plan your next visit to The Wilderness Reserve for guided pheasant hunting this pheasant hunting season, September through December!

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Pheasant Hunting – Companionship in Nature

Pheasant hunting can be the experience of a lifetime, one filled with companionship, challenge and rewards. Spending hours with nothing but the sounds of nature and the crisp autumn air, one can feel the vast touch of the wild in your heart and soul. And then the excitement of a bird hooting and the sudden rustling as a pheasant leaps up through the brush to take flight!

The Challenge of Pheasant Hunting

Outdoorsman crave the challenge of the hunt, and every hunter has his/her favorite game to chase. None are quite as fulfilling as hunting the quick footed, clever pheasant. It takes perseverance and patience to capture this prize!

The first challenge lays in the physical demands of pheasant hunting. Unlike hunting whitetail deer, bird hunting requires the hunter to search for his prey, stalking as silently as possible. You can’t wait for the pheasants to come to you. You must seek them out through the fields and marshes, relying on the keen smelling of your hunting dog. This could mean a long day hiking through the woods, and it’s helpful to make sure you are in shape and up for the day before heading out.

Additionally, where you find the pheasants can vary based on the time of day or the season. The best times are either early in the day, or the late afternoon, when the pheasants are busy feeding. The late morning and early afternoon will see them hiding under denser cover, more difficult to spot. And when the time does come to take a shot, it can be hard to get an accurate shot, as the tail makes up half of the pheasant’s body length. Practicing with clay shooting can help prepare you for the accuracy necessary to score your birds.

Pheasants are described as one of the smartest game birds, capable of eluding their natural predators and hunters that aren’t quick enough with their shot. When sensing danger, the pheasant quickly darts out of his hiding spot, dashing across the forest floor or leaping into quick flight. No matter how prepared you might be, this can be a startling flush, and even experienced hunters can easily miss the shot in all the excitement. But the challenges of pheasant hunting make the rewards that much better!

The Companionship of Pheasant Hunting

Pheasant hunting is traditionally a team sport. Hunters usually see a better success rate when hitting the woods in groups of three or more. Hunting as a team will flush out more birds, and allow for cover on multiple sides of a likely brush patch for more chances at a good shop. Spending the day in the woods with your best hunting buddies gives a unique sense of companionship, working together for a common goal while appreciating the wilderness around you.

This is also a great game to introduce young hunters to the joys of the sport. Trying to get a youngster interested while sitting patiently all day in a deer blind can often have the opposite effect. But pheasant hunting is very hands-on, and the excitement level is sure to capture a new hunter’s attention and make them a life-long lover of pheasant hunting. And nothing creates a deeper bond between a parent, or grandparent, and a child than a day in the wilderness!

Last is the unique companionship enforced between man and animal when pheasant hunting with a good hunting dog. Your hunting dog is the biggest asset you have out in the forest. Hunting pheasants together deepens the connection between you and your dog. Hunting dogs in the Northwoods truly are your best friend!

Northwoods Pheasant Hunting at The Wilderness Reserve

Pheasant Hunting | The Wilderness ReserveThe Wilderness Reserve provides 5500 acres of prime pheasant hunting land. Plan a group hunt with your best hunting buddies or a corporate retreat hunt with your team. Feel free to bring along your favorite hunting dog, or take advantage of our dog/handler pheasant hunting packages. Enjoy the companionship and challenge of pheasant hunting while immersing yourself in nature with an exciting bird hunting experience at The Wilderness Reserve!

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Understanding Pheasants for a Successful Upland Bird Hunt

Pheasant hunting is one of the most challenging and rewarding hunting experiences there are. For a successful hunt, it is helpful to understand your prey to know where to hunt and how. By appreciating the game you hope to capture, the connection with nature that hunting inspires deepens and the hunt becomes a spiritual event that will stick with you for a life time.

The Habitat of Pheasants

Habitat of PheasantsRing-necked pheasants are not native to America, but imported here centuries ago from Asia. As a highly adaptive bird, they have made themselves at home here in the United States, and particularly in the Midwest region that offers the best habitats to suit their needs. Pheasants prefer grassy fields with ditches, marshes, and bushy groves and use the natural vegetation and contours of the environment to roost and hide.

In the spring and summer, pheasants are more likely to be found roosting in the trees and areas with thick shrubbery. As the leaves begin to turn and autumn approaches, these upland birds move to forested wetlands and weedy areas. The forested borders of a field are a favorite as well.

The Life of a Pheasant

Life of a PheasantThe female pheasants, or hens, begin building a nest for her eggs in early spring. The nesting cycle of her year lasts from April through June. Over a two week period, the hen will lay about a dozen eggs, only incubating after the last egg is laid. The pheasant eggs hatch after 23-24 days, with the new chicks able to run and move about almost immediately. By 2 weeks of age, the chicks are able to fly and by 6 weeks, their adult feathers come in.

Hens grow to be about 2 ½ pounds, with male pheasants (roosters or cocks) weighing in at about 4 pounds. Roosters are very noticeable in appearance, as they proudly boast bright copper and gold feathers, a distinctive red face, and a stark white collar around their necks. The females blend in well with their environment with brown feathers.

Roosters will form a harem of 3 – 7 hens, and is ready to defend his harem and territory against other pheasant. He will crow and call to scare away a competitor, and will toss torn up grass. If pushed, the male pheasants will fly up, breast to breast, and bite at each other. These displays rarely end in death, with the competitor typically running off.

Pheasants are omnivorous birds, and eat a variety of plants as well as insects. Berries, seeds, grains, corn and young shoots are all a part of a pheasant’s diet. After raising the chicks through the summer, the birds begin their foraging season in August. They are perfectly capable of surviving through the winter, although it depends on the severity of the season. To combat the cold, a pheasant can remain dormant for days at a time.

Fooling Predators for Survival

Pheasants Fooling PredatorsThe average life span of a pheasant is typically only a year. Pheasants face danger from before they are even born, with natural predators destroying and devouring nests a frequent occurrence. And with predators like the wily fox, dogs and wildcats, the birds are forced to develop strong defensive behavior to survive. This is one of the reasons that pheasant hunting presents such a great challenge to hunters.

These smart upland birds favor running away from danger than flying, and can be seen darting about on the ground. They can run 10 miles per hour, and fly up to 48 miles per hour. However, they typically only fly about 600 feet at a time, using the air time just to spring to a new hiding spot. These short-distance dashes, complete with a noisy take-off, are startling to both natural predators and hunters.

Experience the Thrill of Pheasant Hunting in the Wisconsin

The natural beauty of the pheasants, their cunning ability to evade capture and their reflex to startle under duress all work together to make pheasant hunting a highly rewarding sport. The Wilderness Reserve has 5,500 acres of supreme pheasant hunting territory, with a mixture of marshes, fields and forested land providing the ideal environment for a challenging hunt. Bring your hunting dog along for your trip, or take advantage of one of our guide/dog packages for your pheasant hunt. To learn more about guided pheasant hunting opportunities at The Wilderness Reserve, give us a call at 1-715-545-2700.

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