Released Pheasant Hunts
only 25 minutes from Calgary.
(50 km north on Hwy2)
Year round – with no limits!
Wessex Game Birds has been offering released pheasant hunts for Alberta sportsmen since 1985. With nearly 320 acres of excellent cover and habitat - bird dogs and hunters alike can enjoy quality pheasant hunting only 25 minutes from Calgary, year round – and with no limits!
You can bring your own dogs or use ours with experienced guides and dog handlers. With the distance required from Calgary to reach quality pheasant habitat for wild birds, the money you save in fuel costs alone can set up an incredible hunt! So grab your buddies, load up your dogs, and bring lots of shells!
The rush of a pheasant flushing beneath your feet is something that no hunter will ever forget. When a long tailed rooster rips out of the grass and cackles as he makes his escape, it’s the type of experience that burns deep into your memory. Wessex Game Birds offers the opportunity to have multiple roosters tear into the sky on any day of the week, and during any month of the year.
While traditional pheasant hunts occur in late October or November, Wessex operates as a licensed game bird shooting ground, so you can choose to work your dog and shoot pheasants prior to the “real season” opening up, or any time after. Many hunters choose to shoot pheasants here in December through until the spring – taking care of cabin fever and bridging the gap between hunting seasons and fishing season.
Our pheasants will be fast flying and perfect to hunt until around the middle of May. Once late May arrives the birds begin to molt and change feathers, which can dramatically affect their flight speeds. These birds are still useful for dog training, but less sporting to shoot on the wing.
Wessex has nearly 320 acres of prime pheasant cover including corn patches, carragana rows, sunflowers, canola, soy beans, wheat, barley and more. The diverse mix of cover gives your dog an opportunity to hunt in various conditions, and learn a few things about chasing down a rooster. The terrain is very forgiving as well (on the majority of the property) so it makes an excellent location for teaching new hunters and children. Learning to hunt pheasants under more controlled conditions (including without competing hunters in your field) can really enhance the experience, and focus around safe hunting practices. For example, having a group of hunters working along a carragana row, and having a rooster explode from the cover and carry over to the other side can offer a great learning experience on passing up questionable shots and focusing on safety first.
For our hunters interested in testing their legs and endurance out further, we have some excellent creek bottom habitat that will often hold roosters who have escaped previous hunters. Many times when a rooster escapes from dogs and a barrage of shots, they will glide over the ridge and down into the bottom of the valley. This cover is very dense, and tricky to navigate, but there always seems to be a few extra birds hanging out in the thick stuff. After you've worked the easier habitat and still have some energy left it can often be very productive to explore these areas.
WHAT IF I DON'T HAVE A DOG
Wessex realizes that everyone doesn’t have a bird dog, but they would still love to go pheasant hunting if they have the chance. While it is possible to hunt pheasants without the help of a good bird dog, it is definitely a challenging event. Pheasants are known to run until they run out of options, but with the excellent cover offered at Wessex – and without the help of a dog – it takes “needle in a haystack” to another level. Pheasants are challenging to hunt, and while pen raised pheasants have been debated to be “easy to hunt”, this is anything but a guaranteed event! With the number of hunters and dogs that we have seen hunt on our property, it’s incredible to hear how many times hunters say “I just don’t know where that bird went! We saw him, and then he disappeared and we never found him again!” Even experienced pheasant hunters with excellent dogs will be left scratching their heads sometimes as wiley roosters escape the pursuit.
Adding to the difficulty of hunting pheasants without a dog, you also significantly increase the chance of losing wounded birds. For this reason as well, Wessex does not allow hunting without a dog.
So if you are interested in pheasant hunting at Wessex but don’t have your own dog, we can provide experienced dogs with handlers (guides) to take you out on your hunt. While there is a small fee for this service, it is tiny in comparison to the typical costs involved in hunting wild birds. With two or three hunters teaming up for a hunt, the costs for dog handlers is hardly even noticeable. Please see our Prices Page for detailed information.
PHEASANT HUNT DETAILS
Our hunters have several options for their days at Wessex, but some overall principles stay the same. We always offer the option of hunters releasing their own birds or having us do it for them (for a small fee). There are certainly advantages to both, depending on your goals for the day.
Dog trainers and hunters focused primarily on teaching proper techniques are often interested in releasing their own birds so they can work their dogs appropriately for training purposes. This may include teaching the dogs to work into the wind, or specifically working on trailing a bird that was recently in the vicinity. In this case it makes sense to release the birds directly so you know where to start with the dogs. Releasing your own birds can also spread out the releases over a longer period of time, giving the birds less time to change areas and adjust your training plans.
For hunters specifically interested in shooting birds however, it may be more appealing to have Wessex release the birds prior to your arrival, so the “thrill of the chase” is at the maximum level possible. If Wessex releases 20 pheasants for your group over 320 acres, your friends and your dogs have some work to do! These birds are very evasive and fun to hunt, so this is the preferred choice by a lot of groups. But you always have the option.
Many of our hunters also like the fact that at Wessex you are allowed to shoot hen pheasants. When hunting wild birds, you may hunt for hours in thick, thorny cover to finally get a dog on point. When the bird flushes you legally must determine the sex of the bird before even firing a shot. This certainly causes missed opportunities during regular hunting seasons, but isn’t a concern at Wessex. Operating as a licensed shooting ground, our hunters can shoot roosters or hens at all times of the year. So once a pheasant flushes, your only focus is on making the shot!
Please Contact Us Today for more information or to book your hunt. Call us at (403) 337-2969.