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birddown pheasant hunting
Bird down pheasant hunting
South Dakota Guided Pheasant Hunting

Pheasant Identification

A hunter needs to know the difference between a hen and rooster pheasant before he or she pulls the trigger. Most of the time, the identity of the bird flushing at your feet is obvious. There are situations, though, where it is good to hesitate or hold back. Birds flushing into a rising or setting sun are often a tough call. It's not always possible to hunt pheasants with the sun at your back, but it's a good idea.

Pheasants are a long-tailed, seed-eating, chicken-like game bird.  Male pheasants, "roosters or cocks" are brilliantly colored with a combination of russet, copper, brown, gray and black on the body, iridescent dark green on the neck with a white ring, and bright red wattles on the head.  In contrast, females or "hens" are light brown with black flecking on each feather.

Newly hatched chicks are covered with soft buff-colored down with dark markings on the head and back and weigh about a half an ounce.  Juveniles of both sexes, up to 10 weeks of age, resemble females in color, and by 16 weeks of age, both sexes are almost indistinguishable from adults.


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