Dispatching Fowl

Discussion in 'Cast & Blast' started by freestoneangler, Mar 26, 2013.

  1. freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Posts: 4,163
    Edgewood, WA
    Ratings: +798 / 1
    Having now just finished my second ever upland game bird hunt, I must say it is a good sport and one I will likely continue to partake in... though it pales in comparison to fishing for me. Anyway, I digress.

    Easily a 1/3 of the birds we shot were still alive had to be dispatched. I watched the first couple get a swinging by the neck and another press the bird against the ground using pressure applied to the birds back. What is the quickest, most humane way to dispatch pheasant, chuckar, etc.?

    Thanks
  2. Blake Harmon Active Member

    Posts: 1,044
    Spokane, Washington
    Ratings: +155 / 0
    Ring of death. Its instant, and they get death quiver so you know you got the job done. Its not the most comfortable thing to do the first few times. But it is the most humane/effective IMO.
  3. Trapper Badovinac Author, Writer, Photographer

    Posts: 473
    Helena, Montana
    Ratings: +618 / 0
    I guess I have spent so many years as a hunter I don't often think about "dispatching" birds. I do my best to act humanely when I'm in the process of catch and release trout/salmon/steelhead fishing. I am aware of the fragile nature of that animal with my fly in it's mouth.

    I'm equally aware of any animal I hunt. I do my best to shorten the length of time between injury and the death that ends any sort of discomfort. Hesitation causes delay. Delay causes unwarranted stress and pain.

    The decision to hunt or stick a sharp object into a fish's mouth in order to derive a personal benefit is something we should all consider. But, in my POV, that decision should be made before you set the hook or before you pull the trigger. Debating the issue in your head in the field ensures the animal pays for your dilemma.

    I hope this doesn't sound like a sermon or a lecture. I applaud you for seeing the importance of being an ethical hunter. It was simply some musings as a preface to my point:

    Use whatever method is fastest for you. Severing the spine is key to getting it done in the fastest and most humane way possible.

    Welcome to the ranks of ethical Fair Chase hunting.

    Trapper
    Blake Harmon likes this.
  4. Alex MacDonald Dr. of Doomology

    Posts: 3,336
    Haus Alpenrosa, Lederhosenland
    Ratings: +896 / 0
    I can tell ya how NOT to do it, which is; grab the bird's head (pheasant, in this case) and swing body forcefully around the head until it pops off and you launch the body of the bird back into the air, squirting blood all over you and the dog. This is living proof that the mean old bastard here was once young and dumb!
  5. Upton O Blind hog fisherman

    Posts: 2,171
    out of state now
    Ratings: +221 / 0
    Since I have a retriever and the guys I hunt with don't, I'm always the one that ends up with the birds that are shot. This means I am the one to dispatch the approximately 30% of the birds that are not dead when delivered to hand by the dog. Larger birds like ducks, geese, pheasants: I grab the head, whip the body in rapid circles which quickly detaches the vertebrae column and severs the spinal cord. Unconsciousness is immediate and death probably, too. The heart will continue to beat, as Alex notes, but the bird is out and the pain is over. On occasion, wringing the neck results in decapitation but the end result is the same: quick, painless death.

    Smaller birds like quail and doves: crush the skull with my fingers or quickly pull the heads off by gripping the head between my index and middle fingers of my right hand and the body of the bird in my left. A quick pull with the right hand and the bird is dead.

    I've seen guys use tools, sticks, rocks and whatever but that usually means delay in dispatching the bird and usually doesn't work that well. Killing wounded game is an unpleasant but normal part of hunting, glad you brought the discussion up. Hope this helps.
  6. Gary Thompson dirty dog

    Posts: 3,891
    East Wenatchee, WA
    Ratings: +131 / 0
    I like to give the neck a quick break.
    Using the my index fingers and thumbs find the neck bones, pinch and pull, careful not pull the head off and get blood all over.
    Hunting is a blood sport so you might enjoy a little blood on ya, just my .02
  7. freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Posts: 4,163
    Edgewood, WA
    Ratings: +798 / 1
    Alex, seriously, you launch a headless pheasant... you indeed are the meanest SOB in the valley. I'll mind not to get that over zealous. I did swing a couple myself, but after thinking they were done and stashing them in my vest, one started dancing minutes later...a little unnerving. Just figured I ask and see if there was a tried and proven way of taking care of this part of the sport.
    Thanks
    Alex MacDonald likes this.
  8. aaronk Member

    Posts: 47
    Bow, WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Upland birds I will ring the neck. Waterfowl depends on where I'm hunting, but sometimes I'll shoot a cripple again so they don't swim to deeper water.
    Blake Harmon likes this.
  9. Blake Harmon Active Member

    Posts: 1,044
    Spokane, Washington
    Ratings: +155 / 0
    ahh, I agree. I have had to do this with geese in the past
  10. Alex MacDonald Dr. of Doomology

    Posts: 3,336
    Haus Alpenrosa, Lederhosenland
    Ratings: +896 / 0
    shoot `em enough and they'll sink!:D
  11. Jim Ficklin Genuine Montana Fossil

    Posts: 2,438
    Columbia Basin
    Ratings: +704 / 0
    I rarely have that problem. Usually after I shoot at a bird, it keeps flying, making it exceedingly difficult to grasp the neck . . .
  12. Vladimir Steblina Retired Forester...now fishing instead of working

    Posts: 739
    Wenatchee, WA
    Ratings: +241 / 0
    I shot a duck once and grabbed its neck and started twirling it around. The head came off and I was holding it in my hand. The duck landed on the ground and started running off. Even the dog's expression was "what the.....", before she ran it down.
    Steve Call likes this.
  13. freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Posts: 4,163
    Edgewood, WA
    Ratings: +798 / 1
    Dang, if I come back as a game bird, I hope you and Alex are hunting in another state :D
  14. Top in my class Member

    Posts: 277
    washington, Spanaway
    Ratings: +23 / 0
    Yeah twist the neck not whip it around, you still want to be able to take a photo of your birds at the end of the day too!
    But honestly I have a Chessie and he gets mad whenever he retrieves a crippled bird he will bite down on it and its dead when he gets it to me. And I know your not suppose to have your dog bite down on the bird but I don't mind it, he doesn't destroy the bird.