Native to Asia, the pheasant came to the United States in the late 1700s. Over the years they have thrived on American farmland and prairies, becoming a major focus of wildlife management for many states. The color palette of this American staple is almost as iconic as the blaze orange the shooters wear. Male ring-necks feature a white ring around their neck with body plumage of gold, brown, green, purple, and white. Females are much less flashy with brown feathers.
While pheasants are able to fly fast for short distances, they prefer to run. If startled, however, they will burst into the sky. Their flight speed is 38 to 48 mph when cruising, but they can fly up to 60 mph when chased. Pheasants spend the majority of their life on the ground.
Great Britain began hunting pheasants during the 16th century, but the United States didn’t begin pheasant hunting until 1892. That year, the first pheasant-hunting season opened in Oregon, and hunters reportedly bagged 50,000 birds in 75 days. Today, successful pheasant hunting requires knowledge, experience and scouting. The pheasant is full of tricks such as holding tight, flushing out of gun range, running, doubling back and sometimes sneaking right past you.