1,2,3+ year old pheasants

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1pheas4

Super Moderator
Yeah. Those are some big boys. Very nice. Those are the birds you get mounted;) Older, mature birds make good mounters.

I have some photos from my shop with birds that are 1,2,3 season birds. There's a big difference between the three. Particularly with the neck, head, and obviously the spurs.

I can't seem to load photos onto Photobucket without it taking an hours to do so. Anyway, once I get them loaded I'll post them here:cheers:
 

Schlag

New member
I have raised pheasants for years. I had one big rooster that I kept for 5 years. I finally let him go one day. He was in a HUGE pen so he basically was wild. He was the only rooster in the pen so there was no confusion with any other pheasants. His spurs were nothing spectacular (but still nice) and NEVER changed after year one, and he was not even a huge pheasant. He was nice, but he did not get bigger with age either. Same for many others I kept longer. Some got nice ones but they never changed after year one. What they had at 18 months was what they had the rest of their lives. Same for tail feathers. Older birds MIGHT grow a tad longer tail the 2nd and following year Still today...the longest tail feather on a bird we EVER shot out of maybe 1500 in the last 25 years was a from a young bird in southern Iowa. They are all individuals and based on their genetic back ground and probably a good deal on their first month or two of life growing up is what dictates what they will be like when they are full grown. Another example. I used to raise waterfowl years ago. I had a nice 5 year old or so Redhead Drake. I raised a young one that kept back for breeding that was normal in every way. It was 30% bigger than its father and if you would have help them up side by side, you would have swore it was a 10 year old veteran.
 

1pheas4

Super Moderator
I'm not sure I understand your post. Are you saying there's no difference between 1,2,,3+ year old birds as far a I.D.?

As to your tail point; All but one of the 3+ birds I've shot had tails that were around 19-21 inches--though a number of them that come through my shop had tails that are indeed longer.

I've shot a number of 1,2 year birds with longer tails than the older birds. So yes, I agree, tail size doesn't necessarily mean "old" nor "young" bird. Though some would say counting the bars on the middle tail feather(s) can I.d. age. Also, holding the bird by it's lower beak. If the beak bends, it's that year's bird. If it does not bend (by the birds body weight), it's 2 or older.

There is a noticeable difference in the physical appearance of older birds vs. younger birds. Can there be a younger bird with a larger body and longer tail than an older bird? Absolutely. But there's still differences between the two that can be noticed. A mature looking bird vs. a younger looking bird.
 

Schlag

New member
I am saying that once they are in their second fall....They are at their mature size and any they don't change after that. Spurs don't get longer after 18 months of age. Tail feathers don't get longer after 18 months and physical size does not change after they are 18 months old. You can not pick up an old bird and have any idea if it is a 2,3,4 or 5 year or older based any measure you do. The only measure you can do is if it a young of the year or a Mature bird with about a 95% chance a mature bird is just a 2nd year bird based on life expectancies. This is just my observation with known older birds. I highly doubt wild birds don't follow this. You will not find even ONE scientific paper or article stating anything on aging game birds past their 2nd year of life. The only way they know for sure is if they were banded. About the only kind of exception to this rule is they DO know that the center of the LEK for Sharptail Grouse, Prairie Chickens and Sage Grouse are the oldest birds in the flock, but they still can not hold the MATURE bird in hand (unless banded or marked) and say accurately how old it is.
 

1pheas4

Super Moderator
I !00% disagree. 2nd season birds that come through here or that I've shot or that someone else has shot do not have have all of the following characteristics; hooked or elongated spurs, thick, girthy necks, larger head, wider, longer primary feathers, wider breasts, or when alive--heavy beat to their wings, heavy run, heavy waddle. Younger birds can have some of these characteristics but not all like a 3+ bird.

Take a look at a 2nd season turkey running next to a 3+ turkey. Regardless of their beards, an experienced turkey hunter can tell the difference between the two birds.

Anyway, I think this thread is going in circles at this point. I'll post my photos once I get them uploaded. Side by side 1,2,3+ birds.;)
 
I agree with afters say 3 years you can not age a bird past that unless banded spur tips break etc. I've raised em in pens all my life a pen raised pheasant never gets huge long spurs like in these pics mine stay about like a 2 ur old no long sharp pointed spur kinda Hershey kiss shape ... There tails never get huge I assumed due to genetic or in pen...

But I don't agree about the feathers growing I've shot lots of young birds there tail feather quills ate soft not formed older 2 + birds have hard quills & if damaged or ripped out they do grow back in pens I e seen roosters tail re grow 2 tail was longer???

In the wild I think its genetics & habitat terrain they live in that dictate the spur & length... Maybe tail? Too say a young 1st year bird & a say 3+ year old bird look the same is not 100% fact. There's guys shooting 25-26 inch tail feathers with sharp spurs I can't say there young birds & had that equipment since mature ... I've shot lots of old sharp spurred roosters with half tails & missing feathers would of loved to see there tails re grow b4 I shot em...
 
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1pheas4

Super Moderator
I agree with afters say 3 years you can not age a bird past that unless banded spur tips break etc
Correct. Hence "3+". The point is there's a noticeable difference between 1,2, and 3+ wild birds. Same goes for wood ducks and other species that come through here. I always tell my clients, "the older the bird or mammal, the better the mount"--giving that it's not all shot up.;)
 

jackrabbit

New member
I've raised em in pens all my life a pen raised pheasant never gets huge long spurs like in these pics mine stay about like a 2 ur old no long sharp pointed spur kinda Hershey kiss shape ... There tails never get huge I assumed due to genetic or in pen...
I gotta ask, what does Mr. Anti-Private-Land-Pay-To-Play-Guy-Pro-Public-Land-Hunter do with pen raised birds? I don't mean that as a dig at all, just through all the posts on this forum, you've come across to me as the last guy to ever raise some birds in a pen.
 
I gotta ask, what does Mr. Anti-Private-Land-Pay-To-Play-Guy-Pro-Public-Land-Hunter do with pen raised birds? I don't mean that as a dig at all, just through all the posts on this forum, you've come across to me as the last guy to ever raise some birds in a pen.
1 how the heck you came to that conclusion is beyond me that I would not be type to raise birds? Please explain why u would think I would be anti raising birds as a hobby...


2 raising birds to admire & or train hunting dogs with is nothing alike or has to do with paying to play hunt wise or stocking private property With dummy birds to go hunt & brag up later lol

OK why I have pheasants in pen is like I say I love to hear them in spring & just look at them... Plus I use them for a few freashin up dog training days... I'm to cheap to pay someone to train my dog...

I've raised ring necks silver Amherst golden pheasants & peacock also guinne hens pigeons bantum chickens Bob white quail & duck's & a few turkeys... Just always lived on same 5 acre farm always loved raising birds...

Kinda like why guys join PF & also go shoot pheasants I like to hunt them & raise em...

Thanks for asking
 
Correct. Hence "3+". The point is there's a noticeable difference between 1,2, and 3+ wild birds. Same goes for wood ducks and other species that come through here. I always tell my clients, "the older the bird or mammal, the better the mount"--giving that it's not all shot up.;)

Certain birds like Woody's get full plumage when older... The 2 vs 3 year old turkey thing is B/S. I hunt loads of turkey have for years 9-10 states killed n
Birds in 3 sub species I've seen 26.8 pound 2 year olds & 17 Pound 1.3/8 inch spurred old timers genetic not age there... Not trying g to argue or go in circles but we gotta compare Apple's to Apple's

I was told by most biologist & taxidermist bring me s bird in late season that best time to mount em plumage wise closest to spring breeding plumage u can get...
 

Goosemaster

New member
Given that you've killed 1,000 wild pheasants, I'd have to say you've had a few in the mix that were older than 2.;)

I've taken two such birds in SD (one on public land), three here in McHenry County IL.

If I get some time next week I'd like to lay a 1,2,3+ aged birds side by side so you can see the difference between them.

Memories:); You've watched those late season roosters flush at the opposite end of the field before you step foot in it. Maybe one or two of them with tails wagging back and forth as they flush. Nice full, heavy looking bodies. They don't look like the other birds around them. They stand out from the others. Those are old birds.:thumbsup: If hunting pressure gets to be too much they'll stay away until things calm down. They know where to go, when to go, where to find suitable habitat within an area for every condition. Spring time rolls around, they're the dominate roosters. They'll stake out the best habitat, collect the strongest, healthiest hens to mate with. Come fall, the results are always a good time.:cheers:
One time while floating the Missouri, in the breaks, I came upon a rooster that was so old, it was almost blue. It gave Duke and I the slip.Oldest bird I've ever seen. Probably 10 years old.
 

1pheas4

Super Moderator
I was told by most biologist & taxidermist bring me s bird in late season that best time to mount em plumage wise closest to spring breeding plumage u can get...
I don't know. Maybe your bio and taxi were talking about pin-feathers:confused: In early fall they can (at times) be a issue with game birds. Particularly younger birds.

As far as birds having better plumage in the spring--plumage can often show signs of separated feather fibers on their tails (tip and sides) and broken wing tips which I would say is due to strutting in the spring.

Plus, winter can be hard on birds feathers too. I'd have to say a fall plumage is best.;)

Birds in 3 sub species I've seen 26.8 pound 2 year olds & 17 Pound 1.3/8 inch spurred old timers genetic not age there..
Yes. I made that point in another post. You are right. We are going in circles.
 
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jackrabbit

New member
1 how the heck you came to that conclusion is beyond me that I would not be type to raise birds? Please explain why u would think I would be anti raising birds as a hobby...


2 raising birds to admire & or train hunting dogs with is nothing alike or has to do with paying to play hunt wise or stocking private property With dummy birds to go hunt & brag up later lol

OK why I have pheasants in pen is like I say I love to hear them in spring & just look at them... Plus I use them for a few freashin up dog training days... I'm to cheap to pay someone to train my dog...

I've raised ring necks silver Amherst golden pheasants & peacock also guinne hens pigeons bantum chickens Bob white quail & duck's & a few turkeys... Just always lived on same 5 acre farm always loved raising birds...

Kinda like why guys join PF & also go shoot pheasants I like to hunt them & raise em...

Thanks for asking
Didn't mean it as a negative thing, which I could see how my comment came off that way. It was a bad attempt at a light hearted joke.

I was just assuming that most pen raised pheasants then get released on some private land somewhere to be hunted. Just from reading your posts over the years, you are very big into public land hand hunting and against private land, so you weren't somebody I would associate raising/releasing birds with. For whatever reason, I never thought about raising them as a hobby, but I think it's awesome that you do and have knowledge about so many different species.
 
I don't know. Maybe your bio and taxi were talking about pin-feathers:confused: In early fall they can (at times) be a issue with game birds. Particularly younger birds.

As far as birds having better plumage in the spring--plumage can often show signs of separated feather fibers on their tails (tip and sides) and broken wing tips which I would say is due to strutting in the spring.

Plus, winter can be hard on birds feathers too. I'd have to say a fall plumage is best.;)



Yes. I made that point in another post. You are right. We are going in circles.
I have to say you may be going in circles??? Or just covering all bases to be correct??? I was just answering your any experienced turkey hunter can tell a 2yr old bird from 3 year old bird standing side by side comment... Now you say you maid that point in another post??? Witch is it man??? A experienced hunter can or can't tell the difference??? I'm not arguing with you but save the going In circles thing & just don't respond to us chaseing our tails ???

Bird usually look best dressed In spring after fights freeze rains & predators the feathers can take a beating but I've been told it to many times by taxidermist from KS NE to MN to argue... My bro was just repeating what a taxidermist was telling him...

Sorry if I reapeted my self...
 
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Didn't mean it as a negative thing, which I could see how my comment came off that way. It was a bad attempt at a light hearted joke.

I was just assuming that most pen raised pheasants then get released on some private land somewhere to be hunted. Just from reading your posts over the years, you are very big into public land hand hunting and against private land, so you weren't somebody I would associate raising/releasing birds with. For whatever reason, I never thought about raising them as a hobby, but I think it's awesome that you do and have knowledge about so many different species.
Most guys on here live in a city with no place for birds some don't even have Room for a dog??? So I understand how u mite think not many raise pheasants I've known lots my self but not normal...

As for the broad statement thing again u do it well if u mean it or not lol like saying Im against private land if you have read my posts over the years you would know I've never been anti private land I'm anti PAY TO HUNT private land... & states enrolling S*** crp lands giving private land owners $$$ for non producing land in some cases... For WIHA WIA BML PLOTS etc some states may not have as much WIHA WIA BML PLOTS etc as other but its quality if its enrolled

I like state owned lands yes I'm a die hard public land hunter I'll never go pay to go hunt private lands then jump on line or call buddy's ;)& brag it up Like lots... I'll brag up my dog up but I can't get excited over paying to play on private lands..

Yeah yeah we all pay to play gas & license $$$ fees don't count guys lol that was not for u jackrabbit it was for the same 2 guys who always say that B/S
 
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Goosemaster

New member
I also hunt a lot of public land, and I won't pay to hunt on private land.Paying to hunt on private land, is what causes these big ranches to be locked up by the dreaded outfitters.Then they build lodges, and try to buy the adjoining ranches. It's a racket, and it's going to do in free bird hunting. Just watch.
 
I also hunt a lot of public land, and I won't pay to hunt on private land.Paying to hunt on private land, is what causes these big ranches to be locked up by the dreaded outfitters.Then they build lodges, and try to buy the adjoining ranches. It's a racket, and it's going to do in free bird hunting. Just watch.
I feel your pain I do but MT still has it pretty good compared to SD & Western ND sure some private land is locked up but if your a public land Hunter who care??? Go beat the bush there lots of BLM not BML lands if willing to work u can bag a few birds on in SE MT I'm sure I knew a guy on here who went from MN to MT yearly always had birds of 2-3 species in the bag worked his A** off & camped in a camper 10 &14 days at a time lol 100% public never herd em B**** ...

Now go ask any Joe blow in SD can I hunt your land& u run a chance of a hand out & asking for $$$ Just cuz they know they guy down the road charge 50$-200$ per gun per day not the same...

We gotta Join PF b4 we B**** B****B**** I'm sure ur a DU member from the sound of ur name & hardcore goose hunting post etc... If I deer hunted as hard as I pheasant & turkey hunt I'd have booners & pope & young bucks on the wall we all get out what we put in work & scouting wise.

I'm not worried about free public land hunting maybe private lands will get plowed or cost $$$ to walk but again we are public land guys correct???
 
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Goosemaster

New member
Yeah- I agree, you can get birds on public land. If I go by myself, I get on some good private places, but even in Montana, it's getting sort of hard to get on private ranches.Most public places get hammered.Out of state hunters, in October.These guys who pay hunt, have an advantage over the guys that don't, but I really earn everything I get.I don't have some paid honcho putting me right onto the birds. I have to work really hard to get birds, and so does my dog. I can see a time ahead, where free hunting, will not exist, except on public land.Sad.
 
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