Ever since their first introduction in Europe in the 10th century, pheasants have become a popular game bird attracting hunters to engage in hunting them for centuries. Although many have changed through the ages, the way we live, the way wee see life, and so on, our delight of pheasant hunting has stayed untouched. We could say that it is a timeless practice for the modern hunter and it would seem fair to suppose it will continue to be for many years to come.
Pheasants are native to the Asian continent but have been widely introduced elsewhere, where they are bred to be hunted and are shot in huge numbers. The bird was brought to Britain around the 10th century but became extinct in the early 17th century; it was reintroduced in the 1830s and is now widely spread. Chronic reintroduction has made the pheasant an exceptionally variable species in regard to size and plumage. Pheasants were introduced in North America in 1913, and they’ve become more popular for hunting, rather than for food, although many hunting based restaurants serve pheasant meat.
Because pheasant hunting has proved to be an increasingly popular practice in the last decades, pheasants are now raised intensively in farms all over the United States and the United Kingdom, mostly. Pheasant farms meet about 10 million birds in the U.S. and 35 million in the U.K., which is very impressing bearing in mind that the number increases with each passing year. Birds are supplied both to hunting preserves/estates and restaurants, with smaller numbers being available for individual cooks. But eating pheasant meat can be unpleasant for some, as it is tough and dry; modern cookery generally uses moist roasting or farm-raised female birds.
Pheasant hunting is one of those sports in which the aid of a hound is invaluable, and without which it would be almost impossible to make a hunt. A well trained upland dog can be an important tool for the pheasant enthusiast, but it requires just the right training to be done. Unlike waterfowl hunters, a pheasant hunter doesn’t have to start an intensive training program but rather to focus on the crucial aspects such as obedience, testing his natural instincts towards bird hunting or building up a proper physical shape. Managing to stay away from useless, ineffective methods and centering your attention only on these facets of training will prove very important down the road.
Pheasant hunting is also a sport that sometimes makes better sense if done alongside friends or simply other hunters like you. Pheasants are well known for their ability to run swiftly and one generally good strategy is to use “blockers”, hunters stationed at the end of the field who shoot as birds break from cover. Besides this, when hunting besides fellow hunters, it is imperative that you wear an orange hunting vest because it may become dangerous and safety should always be put first.
To cut a long story short, pheasant hunting may have its roots back in medieval times but it’s now more popular than ever before. Although similar to other game bird hunts, it has features that differentiate it from the others in the group, and that is why it appeals to so many people worldwide.