The Ultimate Upland Bird Hunting Quiz


By: John Miller

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

For many people all across the country, it's a tradition unlike any other. Upland bird hunting season makes hunters everywhere quiver with excitement, as they pursue pheasants, quail and the like. How much do you know about upland bird hunting?

Upland bird hunting is incredibly popular in the fall. What's an "upland" bird, anyway?

Upland birds are non-water fowl game birds, such as quail, grouse, pheasant, dove, turkey, pigeons and more. Hunters typically wield shotguns for upland bird hunting.


What's a common shotgun size for quail hunting?

Quail are smaller birds, meaning hunters need a bit less firepower to hunt them. Many hunters use smaller gauges like a 20 gauge, .410 gauge or the always popular 12 gauge.


What's the best place to hunt for pheasants?

Fencerows with grassy cover make prime pheasant habitat. If that fencerow happens to be near a cornfield and a source of water, you've hit the jackpot.


What sort of shotgun choke might you use for turkey hunting?

Turkeys are big birds, and you need a tight shotgun pattern to kill them. That's why many hunters default to full choke when going after big toms.


As the sun rises, pheasants begin stirring and moving about. Where are they going?

Pheasants bed down in cover (often thick grasses) and in the morning they head out to breakfast. In many cases, that means a cornfield.


What sort of call often works for turkeys?

Turkey calls work, of course. But many hunters use owl calls or crow calls to help them figure out where the turkeys are loitering.


Quail often flush in big bunches called coveys. How do you shoot the little birds as they rise in big clouds of feathers?

Quail frequently rise in large numbers, and it's tempting to simply start shooting as quickly as possible. But if you really want dinner, pick one, aim and repeat. Otherwise, you'll hit nothing but air.


How will you know if your dog detects a game bird's scent?

Many hunting dogs are bred to point -- that is, they raise a paw and stick their tails up in a rigid manner. Well-trained dogs hold their point until you command them to flush the bird. Poorly-trained dogs, on the other hand, flush birds while you're still three fields away.


You should always wear blaze orange safety clothing while hunting turkeys.

Turkeys can see color, and blaze orange definitely sticks out in the woods. Most hunters use intricately-patterned camouflaged clothing to hide from turkeys.


Wild turkeys are found in every U.S. state except Alaska.

Turkeys are now a common game bird throughout the Lower 48 states. Serious conservation efforts in recent decades brought the popular bird back from the brink of destruction.


What sort of eyesight do turkeys have?

Turkeys have great eyesight -- some experts say that they can see three times better than a human being. Add in the fact that they can rotate their heads in every direction, and they make for tough prey.


What should you do right after shooting a pheasant?

Pheasants often survive after being shot, and even if they can't fly, they'll take off running. If you knock one out of the sky, walk briskly (but safely) to the spot where it fell in the hopes of grabbing it before it starts sprinting for the hills.


In some Midwestern states, pheasant populations are dropping. Why?

Corn prices have risen steadily in recent years, meaning that farmers plow up more wildlife habitat for crops. As habitat dwindles, so too do game bird populations.


Where's the ideal place to hunt turkeys?

Turkeys like a mix of cover, from forests to open fields. You'll find your best hunting in areas with a diverse landscape.


Hunting dogs are entirely optional for pheasant hunts.

It's true, you don't need a dog for pheasant hunting. But well-trained dogs are incredible helpers. They'll not only point and then retrieve birds that you've shot, they'll indicate whether you're hunting a spot totally devoid of birds, too, which can save you wasted effort.


What should you do if you don't have a hunting dog?

After you've experienced the frustration of fruitlessly chasing pheasants for days on end, you'll realize the value of a good hunting dog. If you don't have a dog, find friends who do and go hunting with them.


How does hunting on public land differ from hunting on private land?

Public lands almost always have more hunting pressure (and fewer animals) than private land. If you have access to private land, it's often your best bet, no matter which species you're pursuing.


If it is really windy, how should you approach areas where you suspect you'll find pheasants?

You'll typically want to walk into the wind so that if pheasants flush, the wind will slow them down a little. If you walk with the wind, the birds will spring into the wind and fly away at great speed, laughing all the way.


You should hunt grouse against the wind, too.

As with pheasants, you should hunt grouse against the wind. It minimizes the chances that the birds will hear you coming and it gives your dog a better chance to smell the birds.


Every state in the Lower 48 has a turkey season -- when?

All Lower 48 states have a spring turkey hunting season, and this is one of the best times to pursue gobblers. Of course, you'll need to check local regulations because rules vary widely from state to state.


Just about any hunting dog will do for upland bird hunting.

Different hunting dogs have very different traits, some of which may match your hunting style, and some of which may not. English pointers, for instance, were originally bred to work with hunters on horses, meaning that they often outpace hunters on foot.


If you're hunting birds in heavy cover, you should walk as quickly as the terrain allows.

Stop and start. Zig zag. Birds will sit tight if they think you're going to stroll right by them. An unpredictable walking pattern is more likely to flush birds from heavy cover.


What type of bird would you be most likely to hunt in the low foothills of the West?

Quail and pheasant are more at home in the Midwest and South. Grouse, on the other hand, are more likely to be found in mountainous areas with a bit of forest.


Where do pheasants tend to go when the weather is very cold?

As cold weather descends, pheasants usually head for heavy cover to stay warm. And if the sun comes out, you may see them slipping out of the grass to bask in the warm sunshine.


What sort of shot is best for grouse?

The shot size indicates the size of the lead pellets in a shotgun shell. Grouse are smaller birds, so medium-size 7.5 shot is suitable for hunting these animals.


What sort of dog would be best for grouse hunting?

English setters are fantastic grouse hunting dogs. They are great at pointing and they make incredibly affectionate pets, too.


If you're pheasant hunting alone, you should target small pockets of cover.

It seems logical for solo hunters to focus on little bits of cover in hopes of flushing birds. But bigger areas with heavier cover are almost always a better bet.


If you flush a covey of quail and miss your shot, what should you do?

Watch to see where the covey of quail lands. Often, they'll simply hang out, meaning you can catch up to them and flush them again.


Where would you be most likely to hunt prairie chickens?

As their name implies, prairie chickens are creatures of the open plains, so you'd find them in places like Kansas. Like other upland species, their numbers are dropping due to habitat loss.


As pheasant season becomes colder, you should use shotgun shells with what sort of shot?

As pheasant season becomes colder, the birds develop thicker feathers that can dampen the blow from light lead shot. Switching to heavier shot can ensure a cleaner kill.


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