Pheasant hunting has always been one of my favorite ways to spend time outdoors. I originally grew obsessed with pheasant hunting over a decade ago because it was an excuse to hunt with dogs. It’s also a bonus that I love the way that pheasants taste. Pheasant meat is very similar to chicken but I’d argue it holds more flavor. Pheasants offer delicious free-range, organic meat to those who hunt them.

Pheasant hunting is one of the great American pursuits. Pheasants are tasty game birds that offer a challenge in the field.

I always wanted a pheasant dog of my own, and a couple of years back I picked up a chocolate lab puppy and named her Dixie. Dixie is now two-years-old, and she loves hunting pheasants with me and our clients. Dixie is a pointing lab, which means she will hold point on a pheasant rather than flush it (like most other labs). Dixie and I have harvested hundreds of birds together, and we are rewarded with a lot of tasty pheasant meat in our freezer.

In the Field

In Utah I run a hunting outfitter service called “Dixie Top Outfitters”, and I lease a large commercial hunting ranch. Because this ranch is an upland conservatory, we get to hunt raised and wild birds from September through the end of March. The ranch has an impressive amount of wild pheasants, chukar, and quail roaming around all year long.


pheasant hunting
Not only can pheasant hunting yield high-quality meat, it also offers a healthy way to spend time in the great outdoors.

Besides wild birds, I raise birds from the age of 12 hours old as well as buy them fully grown from local bird farms to support clients throughout the season. The ranch offers beautiful scenic views of red rock and river landscape as you’re hunting birds.

I guide the majority of the clients with my dog, but clients can also bring their own dog and hunt birds without a guide. Besides enjoying time outdoors with good friends and dogs, clients are always most excited to bring home some pheasant meat to cook up and enjoy. My favorite part about hunting any species is knowing where my meat came from, as well as knowing that I worked hard to provide that meat for myself.


pheasant hunting with dog
A trained hunting dog can help you increase your yield. They also make great companions when hunting solo.

If you are new to hunting but have always been curious about giving it a try, I think that pheasant hunting makes for the best first hunt! Big game hunts for deer or elk can be long, stressful, and intimidating for a first-time hunter. Hunting birds is a great way to get started, work on gun safety, and get some great meals in your freezer.

Pheasant hunting is fast-paced and never boring. You get to chat with your friends, not worry about your scent, and watch incredible bird dogs work in front of you. When the bird dog points or flushes the bird, you have a split second to aim and get the bird down. The dog then retrieves the bird, and then you get to do it all over again! It is exhilarating and fun every single time.

On the Menu

I’ve tested out a bunch of different pheasant recipes over the years, but the one I mention in this piece is by far my favorite. After a successful pheasant hunt, it is important to take care of your meat quickly to ensure a good meal.


pheasant recipe
Like any other game, there are many different ways to cook pheasant. This is the author’s favorite pheasant recipe.

Use a knife to cut down the center of the pheasant and remove both the breasts. Place the pheasant meat in a ziplock bag or vacuum seal it. If you’re not planning on cooking your pheasant right away, put it in the freezer with the harvest date on it so you can enjoy it at a later time. Depending on side dishes and size of the bird, one pheasant harvest could provide a dinner for two people.

Pheasant Recipe

The following recipe is great to feed two to four people depending on how many pheasant breasts you use. I typically cook this dish alongside a side of carrots or broccoli.


pheasant recipe ingredients
The author’s pheasant recipe uses relatively easy to obtain ingredients that should be available at most supermarkets.

Ingredients

  • 4-6 pheasant breasts
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • butter
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • wild rice
  • salt and pepper
  • Italian seasoning
  • garlic
  • optional: mushrooms
  • best served with vegetables of your choice

Instructions

Add olive oil and butter to a cast iron pan. Lightly coat the pheasant breasts in flour and season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.

Cook the pheasant on medium heat in the cast iron pan until the pheasant reaches an internal temperature of 155 degrees.


pheasant recipe sauce
Part of the pheasant recipe includes a white wine sauce that combines heavy cream and mushroom soup with the white wine of your choice. Season to taste.

Start cooking your wild rice in a small pot. Wild rice can take a long time to cook, so it’s important that you start this step early!

For the white wine sauce: In a saucepan add wine, heavy cream and cream of mushroom soup. Bring the sauce to a boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes. I like to add a touch of butter, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper to the mix.

If you like a lighter sauce, skip adding flour. Personally, I like to thicken the sauce at the end with about 1/3 cup of flour. Mix that in the sauce and then pour over the pheasant in the cast iron pan. Optional: If you like mushrooms, this is a great time to add them to the pan for extra flavor and texture!


pheasant recipe finished plate food eating
Served up with wild rice and the white wine sauce, field harvested pheasant makes for a hearty meal that is exceptionally healthy.

I like to cook the pheasant in the white wine sauce on medium heat until the pheasant reaches an internal temperature of 165-170 degrees. Serve the pheasant over rice, add some extra sauce to your plate and some vegetables, and enjoy!

Conclusion

If you try this recipe, I hope that you love it las much as my hunting clients and I do! Remember: pheasant is very similar to chicken, and you can always use it as a substitute for your favorite chicken recipe. Besides this recipe, I often make pheasant fajitas and pheasant tacos for a quick delicious meal after a great hunt. Bon Appétit!

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