The right cartridge and choke combination could transform your pheasant shooting, says Edward Watson
New techniques in powder and wads have improved all the shotgun cartridges on the market these days – they’re faster AND maintain a good pattern.
Cartridge tips for this pheasant season
- Find a shotgun cartridge brand you like and stick with it.
- Side-by-sides and over-unders are both catered for by top brands .
- Start your pheasant season on No.6s.
- Move to No.5s and even No.4s as the season continues and the pheasants get older and tougher.
- Many people say their gun can’t take bigger shot size but it is the weight of the shot and the length of the cartridge, not the actual shot size, that will affect your gun.
- Clean out last season’s mishmash of cartridges from your bag and stick to what works for you. This will give you consistent shooting and confidence.
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The best choke combination for pheasant shooting
- Half choke is good for all-round shooting.
- If you have a multi-choke gun and want to shoot high pheasants later in the season, put in the full choke to keep your shot pattern at these extreme ranges.
- If you have a fixed choke gun and you are lucky to shoot a full range of pheasants this season then get your gun multi-choked.
- Teague Chokes are my preferred brand and they can be fitted into all types of shotgun.
- Confidence is one of the major factors in making you a great shot.
- So take time to find the best shotgun/cartridge/choke combination for this season’s pheasants and stick with it.
Some thoughts on pheasant shooting
- Pheasants form the bulk of gameshooting in the UK, accounting for 80 per cent of all gamebirds shot.
- Equally cherished by roughshooters and driven shooters alike, there is nothing quite like the first cackling and crowing cock bird of the season breaking cover and hurtling into the sky.
- In some conservation circles, pheasants are much maligned as being non-natives, but they have actually been around for a long time, probably at least since the Normans and maybe even since Roman times.
- They are very much part of the landscape of our rural heritage.