I love bird hunting. It’s not just being in the field, watching my dog on point, waiting for the flush, or connecting with a bird mid-flight. It is also the feeling of becoming a provider. I absolutely love the feeling of stacking fresh, organic meat in my freezer that is obtained by my own hands. But quick Pheasant care in the field can be tricky.
While all hunters have varying methods of tending their quarry once it is in the game bag, here is a quick and easy method to manage pheasants in the field.
I prefer this method as we can quickly work through a number of birds yet still get a large amount of meat and minimal waste.
- To quickly breast and gut a bird, try this quick step. Step on the wings as close to the bird’s body as possible. Grab the legs, watching to avoid the spurs. Give a firm and steady pull up.
- Often, it takes a bit of force, but if done right the bird will separate into 2 parts. The upper part has the head, skinned breast, and wings. The lower part will be the guts, legs, back, and tail. Often, hunters discard this back half. Stay tuned as to why you may want to hold on to this.
- The method is personal preference here. Many hunters like the breast on bone. If so, clip the wings and you are done. Some prefer to breast it out off the bone. To do this, simply cut along the midline, then fillet the breast laterally along the ribs.
- At this juncture, I clip off the wings and save them for training the dogs. Just keep them frozen until needed.
- I love the lower section of the bird. Quickly clean the guts out of the carcass. Then clip off the legs where the feathers begin. Skin out the back end of the bird. Once the legs are clipped the skin just peels off.
- For roosters, I will take the tail. Simply take clippers and cut the tail at the base of the rear in a V-shaped cut. Remove as much meat as possible from the tail. I save the tails and salt the pretty ones for decorations. The ragged ones get frozen for training the dogs.
- Pheasant legs and back have a lot of meat that is dark and tender. With the remaining lower portion of the bird, just clip the backbone above the pelvis. You should now have the 2 legs and connecting pelvis. I take this portion and pressure cook it, pick it and freeze it… it is ready to use shredded pheasant.
- This process only takes a few minutes per bird. The yield is great and the waste is low. You will walk away with the breast and legs/back for meat, wings for training and tail for décor or training. The only waste is the head/neck, guts, and feet.
- I do like to plug this part- I often keep the heads. I like to skin them, boil them, pick them and whiten them for crafts and décor. Pheasant skulls are very pretty, especially the roosters.
So there it is, the down and dirty of quick field care for pheasants. I love this method and take great pride in minimal waste from each bird. I suggest giving a whirl next time you hit the field!