If lead hunting ammunition is banned how big of an issue will it be in the hunting world? Are there viable non-toxic ammo options available? How can you keep hunting turkeys, pheasants, doves, deer, and everything else without lead ammo? What do you need to do in order to weather the storm? On this episode I talk about what is likely to happen if the ban occurs and what you can do to prepare so you are able to keep hunting without disruption. 

Will lead ammo be banned? I think so, at some point. I do not know if that is a month away, a year, or 10 years off, but I think at some point it will happen. The subject of whether or not lead ammo should be banned and all the politics and environmental concerns behind it is not something I am addressing in this podcast episode. I am focused on the simple practical things hunters need to know and do to transition from lead to non-toxic shot options to keep hunting.  

The solutions are different for every game species. For waterfowl hunting, we have been lead free for over 30 years, and finally the market has innovated some good alternatives. All other game ammo will benefit from this innovation, and waterfowl ammo can easily be adapted to hunt all game birds. The obstacle here is cost, since nontoxic loads are more expensive than lead hunting ammo. But I think eventually we’ll get used to the additional cost. 

The biggest issue with a lead ban will be the transition period. Reasonable and even good options exist with steel shot, bismuth shot, tungsten super shot, and copper bullets, among others. But if every hunter in America, or even just a handful of states has to drop their lead and pick up non toxic ammo, it is going to be very difficult and expensive to find legal ammo, probably for a few years as supply, demand, and manufacturing capabilities struggle to keep up and adjust. If you want to avoid this difficult eventuality, you need to make preparations in advance. 

Performance decrease for alternative ammo is a lesser concern, and in time I think it will not be a concern at all. For shotguns, TSS ammo is superior to lead already, for just about everything, it just costs a lot more. Bismuth ammo is very similar to lead’s performance capabilities and costs more, but not as dramatically more as tungsten.

When it comes to rifles, the copper bullets of today offer comparable performance to lead at regular hunting ranges for a little more cost. Where they lack performance is at extended range but this will not impact most hunters at all. And chances are, before long, new long range non-toxic bullets will be developed that have no performance deficit. 

I do not think it is a matter of if lead ammo is going to be banned, it is just a matter of when, and how suddenly it will occur. Ideally there will be a large period of time, maybe a five-year window given to transition over to alternative materials. This will give manufactures and hunters time to get geared up. But more than likely it will be more abrupt and there will be great supply chain issues as everyone tries to make the shift all at once. 

This is why all hunters should secure some non-toxic ammo now. Not cases and cases of it, but enough to last a couple of hunting seasons so you can weather any storm or shortage and be able to hunt without hindrance no matter what occurs in the hunting ammunition marketplace.

Listen to the whole podcast episode to hear all of the details.

Do you want to take more game home? On this episode I am going to cover the single most important thing you can do to improve your hunting success rate. In short, I am talking about practice, specifically sporting clays practice, thought trap shooting and skeet can be helpful as well. This is mainly for shotgun hunters but there is also some application for rifle hunters as well. No gear you can buy will help you more than realistic practice. Skills will always trump equipment. 

In my experience, the average wing shooter takes home about 30% of the birds they shoot at. Some are better, some are worse. A better shotgun will not do much to improve this. Better ammo will only do so much. Better base layers, camouflage, gloves, calls, etc, will do almost nothing to help this average. The single biggest thing that will help is practice. And that just so happens to be the single most overlooked thing that hunters do and spend money on…

If you want to take more game, you need to practice more. That involves trap shooting, skeet shooting, and most importantly sporting clays shooting. All center around shooting at a clay disc out of the air, often referred to as a clay pigeon. These clay targets can be easily purchased at many big box stores for somewhere around $10 per 100. 

  • Trap Shooting involves clay targets that are launched away from the shooter at various angles to simulate a bird flushing and flying away. It gets its name from historical practice that was once done when the shooter would call “pull” and someone would pull the pin holding the trap door shut on a cage and thus allowing real birds to flush away from the cage as target practice.
  • Skeet Shooting essentially involves firing at clay targets passing or crossing in front of the shooter, similar to real birds passing by or being flushed by a dog or another party. The name “skeet” is believed to come from the Norwegian word “skyte” which means “shoot.”
  • Sporting Clays has some similarities to golf as it is a multi-position or hole course. No two courses are identical and often contain 20 positions with a total of 100 clay targets on a full course. Each position features multiple clays launched from various angles, and directions, all unique, simulating a wide range of real-world hunting situations from ducks to pheasants, grouse, doves, and many more.

Each sport is great fun and has great value. But I do believe that sporting clays provides the best hunting practice out there. And the variety of courses adds great realism and infinite shooting possibilities to simulate real hunting conditions.

Typically sporting clays courses cost between $40-$75 for a full 20 position course with 100 clay targets, plus the cost of ammunition. So realistically, you are looking at around $100 per outing. This is not cheap, but neither are the many highly marketed products that hunters pour money into every year for minimal benefit. 

I would recommend you toss $10 a paycheck into your sporting clays jar and go practice 2-3 times a year to start. The skills you gain will be valuable for a lifetime, and even if they dull some over time, picking it back up is a lot like riding a bicycle. This will do more to improve your percentage of shots fired to birds taken home than anything else you can spend money on. 

Get out there and get some practice. Listen to the full podcast episode for more!

No matter where you live, there are likely at least some species of upland birds available for you to hunt. Few areas have all of them in abundance but if you spend a little time to find them, you can locate some good game birds habitat near you! On this episode I talk about how to hunt pheasant, grouse, doves, and more. 

So how do you get started into bird hunting? First thing is you need to find some birds. You have to figure out what game birds live in your area that you can reasonably hunt. Then you need to find some hunting locations. Sometimes birds are stocked, in which case you should be able to find maps of where you can hunt them and even when they are stocked and how many birds are released.

You need to determine what kinds of tactics are ideal for hunting those birds. There are three main strategies for hunting pheasants, grouse, and other land birds. You can hunt with a dog, you can beat brush, or you can stalk the birds.

Hunting with a dog is the most common but it is also the hardest thing for a new hunter to do because you don’t likely have a trained bird dog. So beating brush the second options. This works best in groups but essentially you storm through an area trying to spook and flush the birds into the air. This does work, but it takes a lot of energy and time and you do not have the benefit of a dog’s expert nose to find the birds.

Hunting pheasants and other game birds by stalking is a less utilized approach but if you learn the trails, open areas, and corridors and perhaps learn a few calls, you can often find success sneaking up on birds. This takes less work than beating brush, but it requires more skill. And this rarely works in a heavily hunted area because if the birds are spooked, they will hunker down in heavy brush and you will not be able to see them to sneak up on them.

Doves require different strategies all together as they are a migratory game bird, but they can be the easiest of all of them to hunt if you live in the right area and can find an ideal location. This is all about finding an area where the doves want to land to eat or rest and setting up where you can locate good shooting lanes.

In terms of clothing, the two big things are orange and tough pants. You need to be safe, not all hunters are going to be as concientious as you, so wear lots of orange whether its required or not. If you are going to be breaking brush, you need pants that won’t break down and more importantly will keep you from getting beaten up. This is an area where having quality brush pants is worth the investment. That protection on your legs is key and so is the fact that these pants are engineered to not pick up burs and seeds. And DO NOT forget about hearing protection. I recommend the Tetra Alpha Shields.

Then lastly you need to determine the right guns and ammo to hunt with. A shotgun is primarily used. I cover gun and ammo options in depth in this podcast episode so go ahead and listen to the episode to hear more.



So you want to hunt pheasants but don’t have a dog. No problem! Not only can you hunt pheasants without a dog you can be very successful at it. On this episode I share 3 strategies for hunting these birds without canine assistance.

Take Aways

  • Pheasants are ground birds, they live, sleep, and eat on the ground. The main reason they fly is to escape from danger.
  • These birds need heavy cover that holds up year-round and does not lay down on the ground with snow and ice.
  • Pheasants are not native to North America, and often thrive in transitional habitat here which means they come and go based on the state of vegetation as fields grow up into forests.
  • Pheasants flush to escape from impending danger, sometimes when a threat is several yards away but sometimes not until you are close enough to touch them.
  • Hunting pheasants on foot requires either sweeping large portions of thick field to get them to flush or becoming well versed in how these birds live and interact in order to locate them while they are calm.
  • Listen to the episode to hear the three strategies for how to hunt pheasants without a dog.

Show Notes:

Up until recently every hunter using a firearm had to make a decision with every hunt. Do they protect their future or relish the present? Tetra Hearing has changed the game for all hunters when it comes to saving their hearing and enjoying every precious sound of every hunt and game species. Whether you are hunting ducks, geese, turkeys, deer, pheasants, grouse, crows, doves, elk, or anything else the Tetra AlphaShield & Multi-Pursuit hearing devices can not only save your hearing but help you hear better and hunt better.  I make no commissions on this product and there are no affiliate links. These are my own opinions and this my very own detailed and passionate review.  This may be the most important podcast episode I have ever done. Please listen to this episode.


  • Allows you to hear everything around you with crisp clarity.
  • Audio quality is exceptional, no static, hum, ambient sounds, distractions, etc.
  • Can be custom tuned to your actual personal hearing levels for each ear.
  • Instantly blocks out the sound of gun fire and loud calling to protect your hearing.
    • These are designed to both stop the incremental hearing loss that comes from infrequent shooting with the average deer and turkey seasons as well as stop the accelerated hearing loss caused by high volume shooting seen in hunting waterfowl, pheasants, doves, crows, etc. 
  • Utilizes advanced audio processing technology to filter out various sounds you do not want to hear but more clearly capture subtle sounds you do want to hear.
  • Filters out the majority of wind noise.
  • Amplifies the unique sounds of the game animals you are hunting like turkey gobbles and yelps, duck quacks and wing beats, deer grunts and footfalls, pheasants flushing, and much more. 
  • Far better than anything I’ve seen on the market. In my mind they have no competitors, no one else offering similar products is even in their league. 
  • Fits snugly in your ear and will not fall out.
  • Works great while wearing a hat, beanie, whole head facemask, camo head shroud, etc.
  • Can be put on in seconds.
  • Reduces flinching causes by loud muzzle blast and may help some hunters shoot more accurately.
  • Uses long lasting disposable hearing aid batteries you can easily and inexpensively get in bulk.
  • Super simple to use, there is almost no way to do it wrong. Before long you can easily put them on in the dark without effort or thought.
  • Is sensitive enough to pick up the faintest whisper and the wing beats of ducks but instantly blocks out the roar of magnum shotgun shells.
  • Can be programmed for the game animals that you personally hunt.
  • Improves your hearing so well that even archery hunters may want to use them to hear game more clearly from further away.
  • Designed by ear doctors and hunters, does its job with outstanding excellence. 
    • It is as if they thought of every intricate detail but put it in a package with unexplainable simplicity. 
  • Utilizes high grade hearing aid technology meant to be used constantly, reliably, and without down time. 
  • Comes with 6 different size tips to accommodate different ear sizes.
  • Tetra has confirmed that people with Health Saving Accounts (HSA) can use those funds towards purchasing their products.


  • They fit too tightly for my small ears at first. They felt acceptably snug after a few outings. But after a few half day hunts they fit comfortably enough that I would forget I was wearing them. I’d rather them fit perfectly from day one, but this is still preferred over being too loose.
    • Some people with small ears may not wear them enough to find out that their ears will adapt to them and they become comfortable over time.
  • Sounds weird indoors and around town. But they are meant to be used in the field and they do thrive in their intended environment.
  • The battery door feels a little delicate when open. Should be fine, but be careful to take it is easy when changing batteries. 
  • Price. No two ways about it, they are expensive. Costing as much as a firearm makes them a significant purchase. A very well worth it purchase, but not something most people can casually buy without saving up. 
    • They do go on sale occasionally. And Tetra has said they are working on sourcing more cost effective components to lower the prices.

Final Analysis: Every hunter using a firearm should get these, especially those hunting game requiring regular and frequent shooting like waterfowl, pheasants, doves, etc. If you are a new hunter it would be better to hunt another season or two with a less than thrilling firearm and buy these before upgrading your gun. Everyone should put these on their vision list and prioritize them as they are financially able. 

Learn more at www.TetraHearing.com

As a note, Tetra sent me these devices to review, thanks to them for their support. I have since bought by own Tetras.

Show Notes:

Pheasant hunting takes much less specialized gear than many other types of hunting. On this episode I talk about the basic guns and gear you need to get started hunting pheasants.

Take Aways:

  • The most important thing to keep in mind is staying light on your feet. You will be covering a lot of ground and the more you carry and wear the harder it will be.
  • When it comes to shotguns, the best gun to start with is usually the one you already own.
  • Before you start shelling out cash for guns and gear, get into the woods and get some experience to find out what features you value.
  • Its easy to wrap up deer season and want to overdress for late season pheasant, but because you are moving so much it is very easy to stay warm. Take extra layers you can add if you get cold.
  • Wear orange even if you don’t have to, people are crazy, staying safe is paramount.

Show Notes:

Pheasant hunting is a great active style of hunting, it is unique, fast paced, and high energy. On this episode I talk about three strategies to get you started hunting pheasants.

Take Aways:

  • Hunting with Dogs. This is the easiest and most common way to hunt pheasants. A good bird dog can make all the difference in the world.
  • Hunting as a Team Without Dogs. No dog? No problem. A small group of hunters can do a great job flushing birds.
  • Solo Hunting. Most new hunters are likely to be on their own and this is the more difficult way to hunt, but it can be done and it can be fun. I spend some extra time going into solo hunting techniques on this episode.