The ring-necked pheasant is native to Asia. Locally referred to as ringnecks or roosters, the bird was introduced in the United States, Europe and New Zealand many years ago. Populations in North America are now well established in areas containing farmlands and native grasslands. Huntable pheasant populations can be found in Oklahoma, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Texas, Montana, Kansas, California, Utah, Wyoming, and many other states. The ringneck thrives in weedy fence rows, ditch banks or brushy woods. It uses these locations for cover if the need to escape from a predator arises.

Male pheasant are highly colored, with a white neck ring and long tail. Female pheasant are brown and also have a long tail. Pheasants nest on the ground and will usually lay one light brown egg a day. Totals eggs laid will usually range from six to sixteen. Pheasant predators include; skunk, raccoons, hawks, owls, cats, dogs and others.

Pheasants have well developed legs and can run as fast as hunting dogs when they are being chased. Experienced pheasants love to run and will do so even in the slightest amount of cover. As many pheasant hunters will attest, these birds are very crafty and often outsmart even the most experienced hunters on a regular basis. The use of both pointing dogs and flushing dogs are widely used. If a pheasant is wounded, every effort should be made to get to a downed bird as soon as possible. In just a few seconds an injured bird can run long distances and nestle into cover not to be found.

Pheasant populations struggled in the United States during the 1960’s and 1970’s due to a lack of quality cover resulting from agricultural practices. Many fields that provided cover and served as home for the upland bird were cleared to make room for crops.

Fortunately, pheasant populations have benefited enormously from the Conservation Reserve Program in the U.S. CRP involves the planting of vast acres of native grasses by farmers in agricultural areas. CRP provides ideal cover for pheasant and other upland birds. Government agencies continue to struggle over the issue of the CRP program’s future here in the U.S. Efforts of hunter groups like Pheasants Forever have succeeded in ensuring the program’s success, at least in the short term.

2012 Texas Pheasant Hunting Season

 Panhandle (37 counties)   Dec. 6, 2014 - Jan. 4, 2015