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Manasquan WMA - pheasants?


Swedish Hunter
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Took my son to the youth day a few weeks ago and he enjoyed it a lot so I promised we would try again on our own. I understand things can get pretty crazy on the weekends so would like to avoid the worst crowds if possible. Wednesday he has a half day in school so I was looking to try the PM. If I read the schedule right they stock it on Monday evening, I imagine there will still be some birds around after a couple of days or no? Also, is it only worthwhile hunting the fields or the surrounding woods too? Any advice appreciated, total newbie at this and would like my kid to have a good time and at least a chance at a bird. thanks in advance.

 

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Manasquan WMA is just about my backyard.  I hunt that piece often.  I always buy the pheasant stamp because without fail, I will always kick up a few birds per season if hunting midweek.  Just like @archer36 said, get a bit off the beaten path where the fields meet the woodline and you might kick up a few.  Feel free to PM me, I can show you and your son some decent spots where I usually have luck.  There are a bunch of squirrel honey holes in that little piece of woods too. 

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It’s very good place after the crowd leaves.  Stocking days in the afternoons you will find birds with no dog. Just avoid shooting time in the morning.  I  Went a week ago Saturday and made it 50 feet in the field and people were shooting at each other and it was a total chaotic clusterfuck, needless to say I turned around a went home.   Game wardens need to put some work in over there and make it safer.  

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7 minutes ago, Winetree said:

It’s very good place after the crowd leaves.  Stocking days in the afternoons you will find birds with no dog. Just avoid shooting time in the morning.  I  Went a week ago Saturday and made it 50 feet in the field and people were shooting at each other and it was a total chaotic clusterfuck, needless to say I turned around a went home.   Game wardens need to put some work in over there and make it safer.  

Winetree , is the only place to hunt there  the field on top of the hill ? I stopped going there in the 1970's , to crazy , but live 10 minutes from it , getting tired of the ride to colliers mill , 26 miles each way

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You don’t need a dog. Does it help? Yes but not needed. We almost always get birds and very often get out limit without any dog. Take your time and keep your eyes open. Too many guys rush through just to beat everyone to the next feild and walk right past birds. Most of these dogs aren’t very good anyway. If they were, you wouldn’t see wave after wave of guys getting birds in the same field. Good luck and have fun. 

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First of all,  am happy to hear that your son has interest in hunting.  Good for both of you.  There are many good times ahead.

Yes a dog that hunts for you can dramatically increase your chances for birds.  They are the ones with the noses.   However, if you hunt, you will find pheasant.  

Pheasants, especially stocked birds,  would much rather sit still and hide, letting danger pass, than run or fly.   Even those gaudy cockbirds can settle in to cover and really blend in.  The hes can be darnnear invisible.  Often all you will see is an eye looking at you.  

A very effective way to hunt for stocked birds without a dog is to walk, fairly slowly, in a maandering, erratic path thorughcover of interest.  If you walk in straight lines, the pheasant can sit tight and let you pass, but if you go  through, stopping and looking then casting left , walkking a bit casting right and in general being unpredictable, a pheasant in the area will often get unnerved and flush wild  or try torun out, exposing itself.  Many times I have been walking through cover and stopped for a half minute or soand a bird erupts form nearby cover becasue it got too nervous. 

When you find a fencerow or defined edge,  each hunter takes a side and kinda walk down and through it , again in a deliberate and erratic pattern.  Keep your eyes peeled for movement ahead of you on the ground.  Obviously, keep even with each other.  If you cannot see your son through the cover, keep talking  so you can keep proper position. 

It won't happen overnight, but I hunted with my brother and Dad so often that we all three could wade into a piece of cover and hundreds of yards later emerge from that cover within a step or two of each other, even though we could not see each other.  

Don't forget to stop on the way back from the hunt for a big mug of hot chocolate or a coffee and donut.   Some of the best times in my memory are sitting up on the stool at the counter in the diner, next to my Dad, talking about the hunt.  Grown up stuff which... as a   twelve year old,  I thought was pretty cool.

Enjoy.

 

RayG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Never hunted pheasants but do occasionally hunt ducks in that WMA as it is close to home and have managed to by accident kick up a bird or two- not a great duck spot but get an occasional mallard- great your son is interested. took all 3 of mine duck hunting once they could handle walking into the blind or marsh and sit still for at least an hour- If after an hour they were cold or bored or just wanted to leave, I packed up everything and we left- always hit a wawa for a chocolate milkshake. Now they are grown men, bigger then me and we can hunt all day or as little as we want. Lots of pleasant memories. I still get a milkshake if the wawa has them. 

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