Hungarian partridges are a species of non-native birds that were imported to the USA in the late 1800s from Hungary and Czechoslovakia.
Hunters usually catch birds while hunting for other types of game such as the sharptail grouse.
The partridge is a difficult bird to hunt and this has led to it remaining an under targeted species.
They are very good at avoiding dogs and are not an easy bird to located in the field. You may find a partridge in traditional bird cover as well as more unusual areas such as a mowed field.
But if you are into a challenging pursuit, the partridge offers a thrilling hunt.
The Hungarian partridge is known by a number of names including English partridge, Hun, and it’s scientific name, Perdix perdix.
What Does It Look Like?
The partridge has brown feathers that are streaked and barred with black and white on the top of the body. The breast is a lighter brown color.
It has white cheeks and a black bib that extends down to the chest. The wings have a heavy barring with white spots or lines. They are very similar to the American ruffed grouse.
Where Do They Live?
The partridge lives in areas with woody cover and open fields. They do well in the eastern and central portions of the United States. The partridge is an adaptable species and can live anywhere where red-tails, foxes, coyotes and bobcats are absent. They also need a large amount of dense cover.
They will inhabit waste areas around cities but rarely live in residential areas. Partridges are not very common in the northern regions of America because snow forces them to migrate south when it begins to fall.
What Is Their Diet?
Partridge primarily consume seeds, berries, nuts, grains and insects.
Partridge signs are best seen in winter months where their tracks can be seen in the snow along fields.
Where Can You Hunt Partridge?
Partridge can be hunted in over forty states but are classified as migratory birds by the Fish and Wildlife Service so there are some locations where hunting is restricted. They can also be hunted in parts of Canada.
Best Way To Hunt Them
Huns tend to live near farms, where the majority of land is devoted to growing grain.
The birds feed during the morning and again in the afternoon, and spend their day in loafing areas.
Huns are similar to pheasants in that they loaf, but their loafing areas are more unpredictable than pheasants’.
Rather than staying within dense marshes of cattails or lowlands near rivers, the birds feel safe in the relatively sparse cover offered by short, stubbly grass.
However, the birds could be virtually anywhere in the landscape, however, they seem to prefer habitat borders or rows, try not to worry so much about the center of a large crop field when you’re trying to find birds at their feeding times.
You’re more likely to discover a partridge if you follow the edges of a field.
You should still note any coveys of Huns that stand out to you. If the habitat doesn’t change, it’s quite common to find coveys of Huns in the same basic areas from one year to the next.
Dogs are a valuable asset in hunts if the animal is willing to stay close.
Huns are wary. So, an over-extended dog will startle more birds than he can catch. Best for your dog to stay within eighty yards of you.
Unlike pheasants, Huns will not hold long enough for you to cover a hundred yards of distance.
To kill any birds, you’ll need to keep with the covey of birds after the initial flush.
A group of 12 or more huns can scatter into several smaller groups when they’re startled.
Some small groups do not travel far, landing within a few hundred yards of where they were flushed.
Pay attention to the sort of ground cover when they land on.
Huns are likely to sprint away and not flush close when they land in sparse cover.
Focus instead on creatures that are confined in denser cover.
Birds in heavy shrubbery are less inclined to wander and more liable to stay put allowing you to reach them.
If you’re committed then you may have to flush each group of Huns a few times before they go away for good.
Following up elsewhere is often more effective than the initial flush so do not give up on them.
The Hun is an easy bird to shoot because it usually flies in large groups. There’s a temptation to quickly fire many rounds of ammunition at the flock when you spot them. As with any game bird, flock shooting isn’t effective and should be avoided.
Instead of going for a succession of shots, take the time to aim for a couple solid shots.
Partridge hunting is something that we all need to partake in at some point in our lifetime, and it’s one of the things that I live for. It’s a great challenge and quite rewarding too.