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Upland bird

AccipiterAccipiter New MemberPosts: 886 Senior Member
I have this tiny itch starting in the back of my soul to do some upland bird hunting.  I have seen various episodes on hunting shows and such with guys doing it, and it looks like a blast.  More specifically grouse, quail, dove/pigeon and the like.  The problem is I know nothing.  I would also like to use it as an excuse for an over under.  Nothing at all fancy, just functional.  I am a mossberg guy when it comes to shotguns, so I have been eying there’s.  It is at a price point I can afford.  I was thinking 20 gauge.  Any reason why I would need a 12 for this?  What other needs would one have to get into it?  A game bag seems a must.  I am not really wanting to get a dog so that may limit some species I guess.  Just curious if anyone has any thoughts.
Apparently free thought is punished, and conformity is required, while peckerless cowards run the show.

ECHO...ECHO....echo...

Ah......One savors the hypocrisy!

Karma.........It’s a bitch.
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Replies

  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 17,086 Senior Member
    20 or 12...your pick...l prefer my 16 gauge for most of my bird hunting...though late season pheasants always cause me to drag my 12 out of the safe...

    CZ makes some really nice doubles...both O/U and SXS at a good price point

    https://cz-usa.com/product-category/shotguns/over-under/

    Also worth perusing the used gun racks...

    Brush pants/chaps are a good idea...

    To see if you like bird hunting, I suggest finding a shooting preserve near you....they usually have guides / dog handlers so you can get used to hunting over a dog without owning one.

    I will state, that bird hunting with a dog makes all the difference in the world...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • minnesotashooterminnesotashooter Senior Member Posts: 785 Senior Member
    With those the birds you are talking about, I see no reason to carry a 12 gauge. 20 gauge will suit you just fine. 
  • AccipiterAccipiter New Member Posts: 886 Senior Member
    Thanks Jayhawker, Minnesotashooter.
    Apparently free thought is punished, and conformity is required, while peckerless cowards run the show.

    ECHO...ECHO....echo...

    Ah......One savors the hypocrisy!

    Karma.........It’s a bitch.
  • CaliFFLCaliFFL Senior Member Posts: 5,486 Senior Member
    I have carried a 20 gauge SXS for upland birds for 20 years. Dove, quail, and grouse are no problem. Only having one follow up shot has made me a better shot as a benefit. 
    When our governing officials dismiss due process as mere semantics, when they exercise powers they don’t have and ignore duties they actually bear, and when we let them get away with it, we have ceased to be our own rulers.

    Adam J. McCleod


  • AccipiterAccipiter New Member Posts: 886 Senior Member
    Cool.  Sounds like a 20 is the ticked.  I would always have the pump 12 if need be.  I just wanted something more pleasant.
    Apparently free thought is punished, and conformity is required, while peckerless cowards run the show.

    ECHO...ECHO....echo...

    Ah......One savors the hypocrisy!

    Karma.........It’s a bitch.
  • jaywaptijaywapti Senior Member Posts: 4,977 Senior Member
    CaliFFL said:
    I have carried a 20 gauge SXS for upland birds for 20 years. Dove, quail, and grouse are no problem. Only having one follow up shot has made me a better shot as a benefit. 
    As CaliFFL said, except I used an O/U, Hunting pheasants,sharp tails, and partridge (huns) I usually carry a 12 O/U as in open fields and corn rows the shots are generally longer.

    JAY

     
    THE DEFINITION OF GUN CONTROL IS HITTING THE TARGET WITH YOUR FIRST SHOT
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,385 Senior Member
    I'd save the double for competition.  Pump gun gets it done, and a cheap pump gun gets it done while being drug through the weeds worry-free.  If you run the action in recoil, it really isn't that much slower.  I've actually ended up at a Mossberg 500 as my current hunting primary for the last two dove seasons, after having safed my 870 because I feel the Mossy is the superior shotgun, and having safed my Model 12 before that because my programming changed to use work guns with disconnectors, and continuing to run a gun capable of slam-firing no longer seemed wise.

    If you've just GOTTA have a double, it's less about what it costs, and less about who made it, than it is about how it fits YOU.  Figure out your absolute top end price and go shopping.  If the gun that fits you best is half that, call it a win.  If you have to blow the whole wad, call it an investment.

    A 20 gauge gun is going to be lighter, but if shooting anything besides a 12, lay your preferred ammo in well ahead of the actual need.  Your ammo choices in 12 gauge are VAST compared to anything else.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,798 Senior Member
    If you aren't sure whether you want to get into 'wing shooting' in a big way, dove hunting is the cheapest and easiest, and can be about as much fun as any other hunting, if you can find a good place to hunt. Actually hitting them is not easy, but getting into a position to try is not as tough.

    You don't need a dog, although a decent retriever is very helpful in finding downed or wounded birds. You don't need a high dollar gun, although a Benelli semi-auto is very sweet. All you really need is a place on the prairie that has water and some scrubby trees for them to roost on, nearby. Wear camo, sit on a 5 gallon bucket near the water, starting about an hour before sundown. A Mojo and five or six decoys are very helpful.

    You don't necessarily have to go out on the prairie, but it has a major advantage, because the water holes are few and far between, so that doves have to commit to one, right at sundown. Find a leaky windmill where the water pools up, and if there are weeds and a place to roost, they will usually come in, unless it rains and makes pools everywhere. I live in eastern Texas, where there are lots of lakes, creeks, and ponds, and there are huge numbers of doves, but they have so many choices that they just leave and go to another water source, after being shot at, one time. I used to drive 400 miles west, two or three times a year, to get to the big prairies where the dove hunting was much easier.
  • AccipiterAccipiter New Member Posts: 886 Senior Member
    Thanks for all the great advice.
    Apparently free thought is punished, and conformity is required, while peckerless cowards run the show.

    ECHO...ECHO....echo...

    Ah......One savors the hypocrisy!

    Karma.........It’s a bitch.
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 8,152 Senior Member
    edited June 2019 #11
    I have done a lot of upland hunting with both 12 and 20 GA guns.  While a 12 GA will do it all, it comes at a premium in weight and recoil when you start dealing with heavy field loads.  That said, heavy field loads are exactly what you want when late season birds get spooky and flush further out.

    I love my 20 GA over/under Browning because its light and shorter (26”) barrels make a dream to handle in thick cover.  The tradeoffs are that it’s a pretty significant drop in shot payload (less range and room for error), and the shorter barrels take more concentration to swing smoothly and follow through on a shot.

    As for hunting over a dog, I now own 2 upland specialized pointing  breeds (a German Shorthair and a Small Münsterländer) and hunted with others.  



    It makes an enormous difference.  Having an animal capable of sniffing out birds versus hoping to luck into them isn’t even a comparable experience.  While I have occasionally randomly flushed birds while walking behind dogs, I have also walked right past others that the dog has then found and pointed.  About 95% of the ones shot, especially early season, are sniffed out and pointed by the pooch.  There’s just no beating that experience, nor that nose.

    Here is some old footage and me and my daughter at a preserve in Ohio with our German Shorthaired Pointer:


    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,798 Senior Member
    Hunting bob-whites over a good dog is about as good as it gets, for an all-around hunting experience. I've been lucky enough to hook up a few times, hunting with several others over two good dogs, and it was very memorable - makes you shoot better, too, because you don't want to let the dog down, after all of his hard work. I have imagined, a couple of times, that the dogs were actually disgusted when their master would miss his shots.
  • AccipiterAccipiter New Member Posts: 886 Senior Member
    Sixgun,  that looks like a blast!  All I could think of when you dog took off after the rabbit was “squirrel”.  Too funny!

    I had not really been watching field hunting videos over dogs.  The vids I had seen envolved the hunter walking forest roads and shooting grouse.  They seemed to have a lot of success without the dogs.  They would drive down a road, hop out and walk a trail and shoot some grouse.  Made their bag limits pretty quick.  The fields look like a real pleasure as well, and I may need to give that real thought also. 
    Apparently free thought is punished, and conformity is required, while peckerless cowards run the show.

    ECHO...ECHO....echo...

    Ah......One savors the hypocrisy!

    Karma.........It’s a bitch.
  • CaliFFLCaliFFL Senior Member Posts: 5,486 Senior Member
    Accipiter said:

    I had not really been watching field hunting videos over dogs.  The vids I had seen envolved the hunter walking forest roads and shooting grouse.  They seemed to have a lot of success without the dogs.  They would drive down a road, hop out and walk a trail and shoot some grouse.  Made their bag limits pretty quick.  The fields look like a real pleasure as well, and I may need to give that real thought also. 
    This is exactly how I hunt grouse. Works best in the late afternoon/evening. 

    My lab will retrieve the birds but she's not a pointer. Not even close. 
    When our governing officials dismiss due process as mere semantics, when they exercise powers they don’t have and ignore duties they actually bear, and when we let them get away with it, we have ceased to be our own rulers.

    Adam J. McCleod


  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 17,086 Senior Member
    The first time I took a good friend of mine grouse/woodcock hunting we jumped off in a thick patch of doghair poplar  known locally as a " poplar hell"  "When are we going to get where we can hunt?" he asked..."We're there" I replied... 

    There are far more death marches involved than meandering through the woods...spend some time in 500 acres of CRP hunting quail and you'll see what I mean..

    When my dogs got older we used to hit those small bits of cover they could work in a few minutes rather than crippling themselves in an hour's long hike...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • CaliFFLCaliFFL Senior Member Posts: 5,486 Senior Member
    Jayhawker said:
    The first time I took a good friend of mine grouse/woodcock hunting we jumped off in a thick patch of doghair poplar  known locally as a " poplar hell"  "When are we going to get where we can hunt?" he asked..."We're there" I replied... 

    The first time I hunted in the UP with my FIL, my mortally wounded deer dropped about 50 yards inside a patch of doghair poplar. I had a helluva time dragging it out. 

    I recall him pronouncing it "popple". Is that a Yooper thing, or was it just him?
    When our governing officials dismiss due process as mere semantics, when they exercise powers they don’t have and ignore duties they actually bear, and when we let them get away with it, we have ceased to be our own rulers.

    Adam J. McCleod


  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 17,086 Senior Member
    CaliFFL said:
    Jayhawker said:
    The first time I took a good friend of mine grouse/woodcock hunting we jumped off in a thick patch of doghair poplar  known locally as a " poplar hell"  "When are we going to get where we can hunt?" he asked..."We're there" I replied... 

    The first time I hunted in the UP with my FIL, my mortally wounded deer dropped about 50 yards inside a patch of doghair poplar. I had a helluva time dragging it out. 

    I recall him pronouncing it "popple". Is that a Yooper thing, or was it just him?
    It's pretty much a Michigan thing...lots of folks call them "popple"
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,250 Senior Member
    I've never killed a quail, but not from lack of trying. I've never hunted them with dogs, just jump shooting, and I never hit one. That's kind of hard for me to figure, because I was an okay shot on jumped woodcock, which seems to me a much more difficult target.

    OTOH, we didn't have many quail in Louisiana due to the fire ant problem. Opportunities at quail were few and far between.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 8,152 Senior Member
    edited June 2019 #19
    Accipiter said:
    Sixgun,  that looks like a blast!  All I could think of when you dog took off after the rabbit was “squirrel”.  Too funny!

    I had not really been watching field hunting videos over dogs.  The vids I had seen envolved the hunter walking forest roads and shooting grouse.  They seemed to have a lot of success without the dogs.  They would drive down a road, hop out and walk a trail and shoot some grouse.  Made their bag limits pretty quick.  The fields look like a real pleasure as well, and I may need to give that real thought also. 
    Accipiter -

    It really is a ton of fun.  In fact, upland dog owners will tell you that half of the fun is watching the dog work. In heavy pheasant and quail grass, a good pointing dog is a massive force multiplier.

    As CaliFFL pointed out, grouse in timber, sage or cheatgrass is a different story and, depending on the area, you can have excellent luck just walking certain terrain features without a dog (though a dog is certainly welcome with grouse, too).  

    I hunt an area in Montana where you have a legit shot to limit out on sharp-tailed grouse by hitting the ground with just yourself and a gun.  I did exactly that a couple of years back.  Only took some boot-leather and lead to bag 4 in under a mile.




    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 12,927 Senior Member
    Grouse, and pheasant to a point, can be done without a dog, you are going to do better with a dog with either, but we do fine on grouse without a dog. I use 12 or 20 on either, I stick with my 12 because that is what I shoot all summer on the clays range, I like my semi-auto's, but I have shot just as many with singles, doubles, and pumps, pick one and practice
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,879 Senior Member
    A fast moving semi truck can flush a ringneck from the tall grass well the big side mounted rearview mirror knocks them out of the air.

    Don't ask me how I know.

    Not likely repeatable.
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 17,086 Senior Member
    Late season pheasants can be a trial...all the young dumb ones are either dead or educated...I have seen every bird in a CRP field flush because somebody slammed a truck door...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior Member Posts: 8,111 Senior Member

    Something I was reminded of this past season was to use a shotgun that had a conveniently located safety.  I don't do a lot of shotgun shooting, especially for upland birds. so I was using  a Remington Express (pump action) chambered in 12 gauge.  The gun is ok, I suppose, but the safety button is on the trigger guard BEHIND the trigger.  I found that taking the gun off safety and getting on target quickly to be problematic for me.  I like having the safety switch in front of the trigger (on the trigger guard) or on the top much better.

    I suppose if you know when a bird is about to flush, or practice enough, it's not a problem.

    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • Big Al1Big Al1 Senior Member Posts: 7,925 Senior Member
    Grouse hunting is a challenge!! The little buggers sit until you almost step on them, then blast out of the brush like a stick of dynamite!! After they scare the hell out of you, try and get off an aimed shot as the scoot through the thick brush!! 
    I carried a Browning BPS 20 ga upland special. 22' barrel with a straight grip. Very light weight and fast handling, perfect in heavy brush where you can snag a longer barrel!! The birds were pretty safe when I was in pursuit, and I rarely had time for a clear second shot. But they are some tasty little birds!!
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 7,452 Senior Member
    edited June 2019 #25
    One of the best things is you can get a dog. A 20 is nicer to hump through the brush. Prairie Storm seem to work


    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • AccipiterAccipiter New Member Posts: 886 Senior Member
    Great info all.  Thanks.  Started to fondle some shotguns the other day.  What is a good all around barrel length?  Bigal mentioned a 22 inch for the brush but that would seem short for fields.  Is there a good compromise, or is it just better to have dedicated shotguns for the task at hand?
    Apparently free thought is punished, and conformity is required, while peckerless cowards run the show.

    ECHO...ECHO....echo...

    Ah......One savors the hypocrisy!

    Karma.........It’s a bitch.
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,250 Senior Member
    edited June 2019 #27
    22" might be considered a little short for a dedicated waterfowl gun, but it's the perfect length for an upland gun.

    In fact, I've duck hunted with a 22" with no issues.

    Mike


    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • CaliFFLCaliFFL Senior Member Posts: 5,486 Senior Member
    I carry a 20" coach gun in the woods for grouse. Quick swing and lighter weight. I also shoot heavy loads to get better distance. It works. 



    When our governing officials dismiss due process as mere semantics, when they exercise powers they don’t have and ignore duties they actually bear, and when we let them get away with it, we have ceased to be our own rulers.

    Adam J. McCleod


  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,250 Senior Member
    That is one good looking gun.  :)

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • GilaGila Posts: 1,828 Senior Member
    I carry my pump 12 gauge with a 28" barrel when I go after quail, and I don't use a dog.  It works just fine on the sneaky bastards...
    No good deed goes unpunished...
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 17,086 Senior Member
    22" might be considered a little short for a dedicated waterfowl gun, but it's the perfect length for an upland gun.

    In fact, I've duck hunted with a 22" with no issues.

    Mike


    Nice thing about a double... you're getting a longer barrel in a shorter package...
    A double with a 28" barrel in noticeably shorter than a pump/ semi-auto with the same barrel length...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
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