Ring-Necked Pheasants

What do I do with my Ring-Necked Pheasant once I’ve shot it?

Ring-Necked Pheasants are a popular bird to hunt.  The species is not native to North American, but is now a common upland game bird that is widely hunted throughout the United States.  Pheasant are hunted for their meat and beautiful feathers.  The best thing to do with your pheasant after shooting it is to remove the breast, legs, and thighs.  The meat is a little tough on a pheasant, so most hunters prefer to smoke the legs and thighs then grill up the breasts which are more tender and delicious.  Feathers are either used for art projects, decoration, fly tying, or more commonly are donated to industries that utilize them.  Over 60% of pheasant feathers taken by hunting are wasted.

How to Clean Ring-Necked Pheasant

It is easy to Clean a Ring-Necked Pheasant.

Step one:  Make an incision straight up the breast.

To do this, get a good sharp knife, flip the blade up and with the pheasant on its back, poke through the layer of skin and feathers then slide the knife forward up the sternum thus exposing the birds breast meat.  You can pluck some of the feathers if it make the process easier for you.

Step two:  Remove the Breast meat.

Take the knife and slice down the sternum being careful not to cut into the breast meat. The sternum on a bird is a pointed ridge down the middle of its chest.   You cut down each side to remove the breast meat.  You will get better with practice!

Step Three:  Save the legs and thighs.

Chop off the legs and thighs for smoking or for pheasant stew.

Step Four:  Wash and store.

Rinse the breasts with water and toss them in the fridge in a zip-lock bag.

 What to do with Pheasant Feathers

Pheasant Feathers are a precious natural resource.  Unfortunately, considerable labor is required to collect and harvest feathers so there isn’t a thriving market for utilizing feathers in business related industry of Montana.  Fly tying outfits use and sell the pheasant tail feathers.  Hobby stores sell the feathers for crafts and decorations.  You can donate the Ring-necked pheasant body, wing, and tails feathers to cat toy makers in Montana.

Some businesses are focusing on green efforts to protect, utilize, and conserve our natural resources.  CatTamboo Manufacturing is a  Montana business that manufactures interactive cat toys.   They meet the requirements of the Eco Star Award in Montana every year for their green business practices that include manufacturing eco friendly pet toys.  Some categories considered by Montana for awarding the Eco-star include conserve a native, natural resource and conserving energy.  This pet toy manufacturer has found a way to do both by building a business around collecting wild bird feathers and by using an all natural wand to save energy expenses involved in making plastics.

Click here to learn more about how to easily donate your Ring-Necked Pheasant Body, Wing, and Tail Feathers.

There a multiple proper uses for Ring-necked Pheasant Feathers, but the easiest choice is to donate the feathers to an industry that uses them.  Pheasant feathers 24″ or longer are rare and should be kept.  When hunters shoot birds with 24″ long tails, they should consider having a taxidermist mount the pheasant.

Other uses for Ring-necked pheasant feathers include the following:

Fly fishing flies.  Wall art and decorations.  Add color to any vase or flower arrangement.  Make cool pens.  Create Indian head dresses.  Make lawn darts.  Make homemade cat toys.  Make Christmas ornaments.  Decorative hair clips and hair extensions.


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