GoPro Settings for Pheasant & Quail Shooting

Simon Lusk’s Suggested GoPro Settings for Pheasants & Quail

  • Upload to Vimeo not Facebook or Youtube
  • Do not compress videos when editing
  • Set the camera to 1080-60-M
  • Use GoPro’s Head Strap
  • Angle the Camera down approximately 30 degrees.

Over the last four seasons I have experimented with using my Go Pro for pheasant and quail shooting. The results initially were a little disappointing, with the wide angle not really capturing the action as the bird flushes a good distance out from me.

I also found the settings on the GoPro 4 Black complex. Despite repeated attempts I struggled to find the right settings to take good videos. Searches online did not help much. This meant I was unwilling to buy a GoPro 5 because I had not really mastered the GoPro 4.

Disappointingly I have not been able to find any articles that say “These settings will work best for upland game hunting”. In fact I wasn’t able to find any articles saying the same thing for waterfowl hunting, so I resorted to trial and error.

One of my favourite videos. My old dog Mabo has arthritis and it is in his spine so he is not that mobile. He gets this bird to flush though it is a fair way out. GoPro 4 Black 1080-60-M

Experiment with Screen Size

Check different screen sizes for the quality of the video footage. The size that the above video plays in Vimeo works well, but expanding to full screen pixelates the image a fair bit.

Compression Kills Quality

I solved many of my problems in the 2017 season, and not by being any better with the GoPro. The big difference was not compressing the videos.


Vimeo allows a much bigger file to be uploaded for videos. This matters a lot for bird shooting videos as the birds are small and the images not brilliant to start with. Vimeo solves this by allowing uploading of uncompressed images.

Editing                Using GoPro’s App to Edit and Export

A video uploaded direct to Vimeo 

GoPro’s own app compresses videos when it exports and this meant I felt I had poor quality videos. This is not the case. It was Facebook and Youtube that were affecting the quality not the exporting from GoPros app.

You can see that there is very little difference for between a video I uploaded directly to Vimeo, and a video I exported using GoPro’s app and then uploaded to Vimeo.

The same video after being exported by GoPro’s App.

Youtube & Facebook

Both Youtube and Facebook compress videos, which reduces their quality. There is no solution to this other than not using them and using Vimeo.

Youtube Video of Bruce Flushing a Hen

After making the discovery that it was compression killing the quality of the video I became much more confident in using my GoPro. I was able to experiment with settings, taking videos of almost every flush, and ever scent chased. The result of this is that I have a setting that works well for Upland Game.

Vimeo – The same video of Bruce flushing a hen  

Or to make the comparison complete Bruce chasing the hare up the hill towards me.

Youtube version of the videos shown above.

Settings                       1080-60-M

The setting that gets the most consistent upland videos is 1080-60-M.

1080p                     This is the old GoPro 3 setting and worked pretty well for me when I was using a GoPro 3. If you increase pixels from 1080 there are trade offs. You lose the number of frames per second, and you lose the Field of View options.

1440, 2.7 & 4k settings all struggled to capture good videos of birds flushing.

M                    Medium field of view seems to take the best images of birds flushing and being shot. Wide is too distant. Narrow doesn’t capture the movement well enough. Linear just doesn’t seem to work as well as Medium.

60FPS         While it is possible to record at 90 or 120 FPS at 1080p, both of these settings result in a jerky image. So 60FPS works best.

Mount                          GoPro Head Strap

I had considered a gun mounted camera before I really thought hard about using a GoPro for upland game. Most of the time the gun points in the air rather than following the dog, so it would take videos of the sky.

What does work is a GoPro Head Strap. This is a good simple product that is very adjustable. The only issue I have had with the Head Strap is I sweat a lot, and my Head Strap can end up stinking. I now have two Head Straps and when one starts to smell it goes in a small bucket with some odour eating detergent and then washing it in a normal load of washing fixes this problem.

Camera Angle              Approx 30 degrees down

This is surprisingly important. If you have the camera up against your forehead you will not capture the action, as you will be looking over the dog. You may get the flushing bird, but you will miss the dog most of the time.

Spare Battery

I only ever hunt for two hours before swapping dogs as they are knacked with the amount of hunting I do. So a single spare battery means I have plenty of battery life for each hunt.

Rain Affects Image Quality

Using a GoPro for upland hunting in the rain does not really work. Water on the lens means the image is blurred which is no good for video quality.


Simon Lusk’s Suggested GoPro Settings for Pheasants & Quail

  • Upload to Vimeo not Facebook or Youtube
  • Do not compress videos when editing
  • Set the camera to 1080-60-M
  • Use GoPro’s Head Strap
  • Angle the Camera down approximately 30 degrees.