Most hunters who are just starting to hunt pheasant often ask, “What size shot for pheasant?”
It generally depends on various factors, such as the shotgun you’re using, the season, the environment you’re hunting in, and the hunter’s preference.
Today, we will dive into this topic to find the most accurate answer. So let’s get into the details.
What Size Shot for Pheasant?
The size shot you choose to hunt pheasant will depend on several factors, including the kind of terrain, range, and your preference.
One of the most important factors to consider when considering the size shot to hunt pheasant is the terrain type you are aiming for.
For example, if you plan to hunt in open fields, using a larger size shot is okay. Besides, if your hunting trip will be in dense woods, we recommend using a smaller size to avoid you hitting branches or any trees.
In addition, you also need to consider the average distance that you will shoot the pheasant.
If you prefer to shoot a bird close by, using a small size, such as #14 and #12, is okay. On the flip side, If you prefer shooting birds further away, it is wise to choose the larger size shot, such as #T or #BB.
Finally, your preferences also play an essential role in decision-making. It is always wise to consult with skilled hunters you know if you are a novice hunter.
Our favorites are #T size if we are aiming for a long-range shot in dense habitat or #BB to hunt pheasant in an open area.
Can You Use Lead Shot to Shoot Pheasants?
Yes, it is okay to use lead shots to shoot pheasants. But as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommended, you should prioritize utilizing non-toxic shots whenever possible.
Non-toxic shot comes in various types, allowing you to choose the right kind for any hunting situation easily.
Although some states still legalize lead shots, lead poisoning can be a severe problem for wildlife.
For example, when a bird consumes a lead shot, its digestive system can be severely damaged and may lead to internal bleeding. In this case, there is a high probability that the bird will die.
Do You Have to Utilize Steel Shot to Shoot Pheasants?
The answer is no. Although using steel shot to hunt pheasants is not necessary, it is an ideal choice that you should consider. While lead shots are still prevalent in some areas, steel shots are said to be more effective.
When you’re hunting pheasants, you should use one of the shotguns that are chambered for the appropriate gauge shell.
Ensure your barrel is free of obstructions and clean, allowing you to deliver the payload effectively.
If you go with steel shot, worrying about ricochets or over-penetration is unnecessary. Your pellets should form the mushroom when impacted, leading to severe tissue damage and killing your target quickly.
So you should bring a steel shot shells box every time you hunt pheasants.
Is It Good to Use 6 Shot Steel for Pheasant?
Many hunters believe that using a smaller size, such as #6 or #7, is excellent for hunting pheasants. The reason is that these birds are not as big as deers, and you need to ensure you own enough pellets on target for them to knock it down.
However, others think that using the larger shot size, such as #4 or #5, will give them a better chance of hitting their target.
Finally, you should decide what shot size you feel comfortable utilizing. Just ensure to pattern your weapon with the selected shot size before joining your exciting hunting journey.
Is It Illegal to Use Lead Shots to Hunt Pheasants?
In some areas in the US, using lead shots for hunting pheasants and quails is prohibited. They are toxic not only for birds but for other games.
Can I Use Smaller Shot Size to Hunt Pheasants in Longer Range?
The smaller shot size is ideal for hunting quails and pheasants, especially at shorter distances. But it will lack the power to break pheasants’ thick bones and less penetration at a more extended range.
Are Copper Plated Shots Toxic?
Federal law has required a non-toxic shot for waterfowl hunting since 1991. But unfortunately, it means that many areas have banned lead shots for hunting geese, ducks, and other migratory birds.
Although using non-toxic shots for hunting upland birds isn’t federally mandated, we recommend switching to copper-plated shots whenever possible.
You can expect copper-plated shots as effective as lead shots for hunting these birds. In addition, it is also safer for the environment as a bonus.
On the downside, copper-plated shots are more expensive than traditional lead shots. However, the additional cost is worth it to ensure conservation and safety.
So always prioritize using non-toxic copper plated shot for pheasant to protect the environment and ensure your hunt is a complete success.
What Choke Should I Utilize for Hunting Pheasant?
As a hunter, you must determine the proper choke tube for pheasant hunting. The constriction of the choke should decide how open or tight the shot pattern is when you fire from your shotgun.
For hunting pheasants, you should utilize an Improved or Modified Cylinder choke. Those chokes deliver good patterns with both #6 and #8 size shots.
If you are utilizing heavier #14 or #15 weight shots, you may want to use a Full choke to improve performance.
Wrapping It Up
We’ve given you the answer to “What size shot for pheasant?” In addition, we have also provided you with helpful information related to the topic.
If you found this article useful, please share it with other hunters who share the same passion as you.
Thank you for reading!
Last Updated on October 28, 2023 by Cecil B. DeMille
Shelly Jark Drakny is a retired SF weapons sergeant (E-5 or above) with a military occupational specialty (MOS) code 18B. He served 24 years in the military, including assignments in SF, Infantry, and Special Forces.