It can be done, but not nearly as sucessfully as with a dog or other hunters drive/block the field. What you shoot down may be difficult to find even if you mark your birds drop prefectly. Believe me these birds if wounded will escape into the ground vegitation and you'll be searching forever trying to retrieve them. To me it's very frustrating hunting pheasant just by yourself. All you end up doing is walking the field, the birds can sense your movement well ahead of you before you even know they are there. With nobody to drive them towards you, you'll be out of luck.
Hunt heavy cover and use #5 shot. They hold much better in heavy cover. And in that cover, hunt slow as they will often let you walk right on by. Get into lighter cover and you'll be up against the wall. They don't hold well there and will run out in a heart beat.
Use the #5 shot to kill them better. We tried #7 1/2 and #6 and while both would kill them, to many were crippled. When we went just for phesant's we would switch to #5's and clean kills went up dramatically.
Heavy cover is your only hope. Or road hunting (watch the ditches). If there is a decent population you'll see one sooner or later, drive 100 yards past and slowly make your way to him (on foot of course).
I hunted pheastant solo for a couple of years, very frustrating. Turned out to be a waste of gas money.
A couple of tricks that worked well for me last year before I had my pup.
Walk in circles! Small circles and big circles! If it is heavy, just like these gents stated they will hold tight and many times you will walk right by them! The second pass possibly on the other side of them just might kick that 747 in the air from right under your toes!
Definately enter fields in different directions than all those other hunters before you. The birds will adapt and learn where sounds are always coming from. i.e... if I am looking to hunt a pivot corner and I know that it has been hit regularly, I will actually cut across the circle and enter the corner near the middle and make big sweeping zig zags or circles towards one narrow end then the other. I have been amazed at how many birds I kick up on that second pass back around. Sometimes even after I might have taken a shot nearby!
I must admit that I have missed a big game animal with a rifle. And not only was it a bull elk, it was the largest bull that I have had in my sights with a tag in my hand. But, as with most "missed shot" stories, I have an excuse. Moisture doesn't really ever bode well for hunting equipment. When moisture (either rain or snow) gets into a firearms barrel, nothing good takes place. A couple rain drops down there can change the point of impact drastically and a barrel jammed with snow after a...