Hunting the Common Pheasant

By: Christeena

pleasantThe common pheasant is a well-known gamebird and is one of the world’s most hunted birds.  It is native to Asia but was brought to other parts of the world as a game bird.  Ring-necked pheasant is a common name for the species in North America, as well as a number of subspecies and other groups that have white neck rings.  The male pheasant differentiates from the female in both coloring and size.  The male common pheasant (cock) tends to be more colorful with gold or copper-red and chestnut-brown body plumage mixed with an iridescent sheen of green and purple.  The head is green with a small crest, vibrant red wattle, and, depending on the subspecies, a white neck ring.  Their tale can get to 20 inches and is brown with black streaks.  The female (hen) is much less decorated and quite a bit smaller.  Hens have a dull golden-brown plumage over the entire body.  Common pheasants nest solely on the ground in simple nests.  Males are often accompanied by a harem of several females.

History of Game Bird Pheasant Hunting

In the 19th century, pheasants were often shot for sport in Britain rather than for food.  It was a popular royal pastime that has made its way to the US.  In the US, wild-born and pen-reared common pheasants are abundant, especially in Utah.  While pheasant hunting season is short and takes place in the fall, Rush Lake Game Birds supports year-round pheasant hunting with over 900 acres of prime landscape situated on a warm spring.

Common Pheasant Hunting Gear

Most pheasant hunters prefer a 12-gauge shotgun.  However, many also use a 16 or 20-gauge, whichever is more comfortable for you.  A classic pheasant hunting gun is a lightweight over-under, but a pump is also popular.  The over-under allows for two shots without cycling a shell, but a pump will give you an extra shell to fire.  A lightweight gun is best for a hunt with a lot of walking.  But some hunters will choose an autoloader, the best of both an over-under and a pump with three shells and no pumping required.  The autoloader weighs more and might tire you out when walking a field is part of the hunting plan.  An over-under is a better choice since by the time you’re able to get a third shot off, the bird will most likely be out of range.  A high brass shells with 4 or 5 lead shot is the most popular among pheasant hunters.  Pheasants are hearty birds, so make sure your loads will get the job done.

Although Utah doesn’t require hunter orange to be worn on hunts, Rush Lake Game Birds encourages it for your safety.  There are no bag limits on our ranch so grab your shotgun and your dog (not required) for a productive pheasant hunt.