Pen Raised vs Wild



The rooster pheasant pictured above has a blinder on. These blinders are placed on the pheasants when raised in pens so they won't peck each other to death. The blinders are attached thru the pheasants nostrils. The blinders are then removed just prior to release.

Pen raised pheasants have large open nostrils. Wild pheasants nostrils are not open at all.

This is the easiest way to tell if you have shot a pen raised bird or a wild one.

I have heard stories of guys being told that they are hunting wild birds, and then find out later they were pen raised.

Now you will be able to tell easily yourself.:D
 

haymaker

Active member
The only time that I have hunted pen raised birds was when I sent my dog to college. For his graduation we went to a preserve, it wasn't too hard to tell which one were pen raised even before the shot.
 

UGUIDE

New member
Here's another way to tell its a wild bird. When it gets up at 300 yards and flys away like a rocket when you slam your car door. "Wild" is a diluted term in South Dakota. I'm all for a new term called "non-released" pheasants to help insure the integrity of the fair chase pheasant hunter traveling from all corners of the nation coming to think they are hunting the real deal.

:cheers:

PS. I was also told they clip a toe nail??? Any truth to that?
 
Haymaker/UGUIDE, I agree 100%, but I think a lot of hunters that come to SD from the east and west have never seen a wild pheasant.

I hunted at a top end lodge in SD last year, as a guest of an oil company. I admit I had a great time, but shooting pen raised birds is a joke. The worst part was this top end lodge made it sound like the hunts were "authentic" SD pheasant hunts. It was the 1st time I have ever hunted pen raised birds. I would do it again, but I would never pay to do it with my own money.

I think with the lower bird numbers in SD this year, hunting places may try to pass off wild bird hunting when it really is not, and I wanted to let the average joe know an easy way to tell if he is getting duped.
 

carptom1

New member
There are many of those places up there. Many don't know the difference, many don't care. For most of us on here it is the love of watching a dog work or watching your son/daughter be successful at something you have such great memories of. For many it is a chance to get away from their life, wife, job, kids and act a fool. Heavy drinking and strip clubs. There is a place like that up by Sand Lake Refuge. It borders the refuge so there has been a time or two we have harvested a released rooster or two that has ended up on the wrong side of the fence. We have also watched them while they " hunted" the place. A couple of years ago we watched a hunt as it progressed. They were obviously guy's that didn't grow up hunting. I looked the place up on the WWW. Nice place. Not in my budget. It was somewhere around 3k for 4 nights and 3 days:eek:. The birds look like large steroid ridden, slow flying, huge breasted mutants. I have shot preserve birds here to work the dog ( he doesn't seem to care) but I sure wouldn't travel 9 hrs to do it.

Ps. What do you guy's think of spring breeding hens. I do here of guy's doing that up there. Seems to me that would dilute the stock some.
 

FCSpringer

Super Moderator
Here's another way to tell its a wild bird. When it gets up at 300 yards and flys away like a rocket when you slam your car door. "Wild" is a diluted term in South Dakota. I'm all for a new term called "non-released" pheasants to help insure the integrity of the fair chase pheasant hunter traveling from all corners of the nation coming to think they are hunting the real deal.

:cheers:

PS. I was also told they clip a toe nail??? Any truth to that?

LOL as they say, "horse pucky"... No this is not true. And neither is the blinder nostril thing.

And for the OP.
If you would like pictures showing you that every pheasant has nostril openings I can. This is something I have a whole bunch of experience at. Been doing it for about 15 years. This year I did not blinder any birds, there is no dif in the nostril LMAO. The pecking thing is spot on. I don't have a rooster with a tail in the bunch. But I don't give a hoot either. I am going to shoot most training dogs to hunt. I will 100% guarantee you that released birds are how it started. And in areas of cover, food, and other birds they will do well and become "wild" in a hurry. How do I know? well hundreds get away, and yes we find them later doing very well and flying like "rockets". Day by day, weather, rain wind and many other things determine how powerful of a flush a bird decides to take that given day. Some days they just don't wish to fly. Some days you just know they will get away because they take the roof off the pen catching them. Sure enough bang bang, miss on a rocket. Now I don't go to game farms and hunt, never have. And I do hunt all wild birds. But I have shot plenty of birds that have gotten away in the spring, in the fall and you would have no clue. They did just what ney sayers say they cant, got wild, and survived.;) PS when I put blinders on, they go right in that there nostril LOL, it is the same size.;) Just my 2 cents

And If you pay to play it is the risk you take. I also know a guy in SD that lets go close to 4,000 birds a year. I know a grower that had to deliver birds to SD in the dark because another did not want any one to know. You simply cant sustain killing those kinds of numbers on a piece of ground and be expecting it to be all birds hatched in the road ditch. If you want wild go knock on doors or hunt public ground. Or go to a uguide type operation. Lots of farmers out there that will let you hunt for a 20-50 buck fee too.
:cheers: I had a rooster cackling behind the garage yesterday, I snuck out to the field edge to get a looksee, he ducked and bolted, and took off fast and low. No way in Gods green earth would you say that was not a wild bird. Could have been, but it had a tail now. Huh, he made it from spring when we used roosters? Flew like a rocket that day he got away, and flew like a rocket now. Sure if you take them straight from the crate after a truck ride, and a couple days crated up, your going to see a dif. Let some go and give them some time. And add getting shot at, good luck telling them apart. Just don't go and pay to play and complain you got a hunt in a can.
 
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jonnyB

Active member
FC Springer has some interesting obversations...


I shoot at a preserve west of Minneapolis, mainly for dog training and use chuckers - less expensive. However, some of the scratch birds (pheasants) give us fits: run a dog around and fly out of range - very challenging. I find these birds fly the same as wild and are just as easy to miss!

Early in the season, the young, inexperienced roosters behave just like pen-raised birds; most of them hold very tight.

I don't hear the opening day hunters complain about how easy it is to shoot a limit of "early roosters." Isn't it about the same as shooting preserve birds??
 
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carptom1

New member
I will agree that after some time in the wild they get pretty hard to tell apart, especially after they get bunched up. I used to hunt with an old siding salesman who had a contact in Salina who hooked us up with a guy that did hunts on a rather large farm. He did high dollar hunts for corporate big wigs that wanted to experience a " kansas pheasant hunt". He got big money for it. Had some really nice lodging with satelite tv, chef, bird cleaners and photographer. Somehow my buddy worked this guy to where once a year late in the year we could go out for a few days and do a " clean up" on the birds. By then they had bunched up and were pretty damn challenging to hunt. It was a blast. Pretty wild by that time. Unfortunately the guy decided he was not going to let us do it anymore a dozen years or so ago:mad:

Big thing I have noticed about pen raised birds is that they have trouble figuring out the wind the first time they flush
 

FCSpringer

Super Moderator
I will agree that after some time in the wild they get pretty hard to tell apart, especially after they get bunched up. I used to hunt with an old siding salesman who had a contact in Salina who hooked us up with a guy that did hunts on a rather large farm. He did high dollar hunts for corporate big wigs that wanted to experience a " kansas pheasant hunt". He got big money for it. Had some really nice lodging with satelite tv, chef, bird cleaners and photographer. Somehow my buddy worked this guy to where once a year late in the year we could go out for a few days and do a " clean up" on the birds. By then they had bunched up and were pretty damn challenging to hunt. It was a blast. Pretty wild by that time. Unfortunately the guy decided he was not going to let us do it anymore a dozen years or so ago:mad:

Big thing I have noticed about pen raised birds is that they have trouble figuring out the wind the first time they flush
LOL, you miss the TV and cold ones.:cheers: Yes as said above there are some very stupid wild birds I run in to all the time. Many of them just stand there and let the road poppers blast them out the window too. But if the road popper misses? I bet that bird done just got an education. I have some places I hunt that they don't get any pressure, so late season they act just like early dumb close flushing birds, and this is true wild birds. But after a couple times, they are tougher. Must be why I adopted hunting many places once a year long ago:D As a whole for the most part the pheasant is one of the dumbest critters on earth. Very good at suicide.
 

quail hound

Moderator
I used to raise all my birds without blinders and they all had great tail feathers. The only way you could tell mine from wild (besides the fact there are no wild birds within 40mi) was their ring. The ones I raised had a full ring and our wild birds have a good 1" gap in their rings in the throat area. Doubt many people pay close enough attention to ever figure it out.
 

BrownDogsCan2

Active member
I know the pictures terrible. I took it because I thought he might be a stalker.
I couldnt tell any difference at the flush. But noticed it when I went to clean him. What do you think? The other thing I noticed was he had a lot more gold in him.

Was also next door to a managed game area.:D

 

FCSpringer

Super Moderator
Pen or in the wild the color will vary greatly. Seen them with all sorts of patterns. Some blonde, some blueish, some blackish, some with more stripes on the tail and so on. I have too many in my pen that's why the tails are not there. They will grow when I shoot some more LOL. Been using all roosters for awhile now. Blinders are coming with a friend next weekend, that will help too. Going through about 40 a week right now. I have shot wild birds that have no ring, some that look like both of your birds here too. If a release bird lives to be wild and challenge my dog and tastes good, I'll shoot em and eat em. But rarely would I know unless I get one with our leg ribbon on. That biodegrades so later I don't know. I used to band some and shot them a few years later. But got tired of that work.
:cheers:
 

1pheas4

Super Moderator
As a whole for the most part the pheasant is one of the dumbest critters on earth. Very good at suicide.
Oh, come on now. I was just shooting at doves. Knock one down, then the dove's mate came back around into the line of fire:confused: Seen geese get shot, then the rest of the flock came back in for some more salt and pepper:confused:. Taken a mature drake wood duck, next thing I know his hen comes right back to the pond. Left her alone and she was still out there looking for the drake a week later:confused:. Ever seen a wild pheasant express such behavior?

If he was one of the "dumbest critters on earth" he would have tasted the same fate of the Dodo bird and the passenger pigeon.

Keep in mind, those "shotgun" inexperienced wild pheasants you speak of already out-smarted the fox, coyote, mink, weasel, coon, skunk, possum, feral cat, hawk, owl, floods, drought, hot, cold, and still managed to put on weight AND keep his feathers in-line, clean, and in-tacked:confused:. All this before you had the pleasure of flushing him;).

As you mentioned, it only takes one time for a wild bird to learn his lesson about us two legged creatures attempting to take him out with an instrument he's never experienced before. Gun power and bird shot. Whether it's he that's shot at, or another bird within a group, from there on out, he's off to out smart our "smart" dogs and us. Sounds like a quick learner to me:cheers:
 

FCSpringer

Super Moderator
Oh, come on now. I was just shooting at doves. Knock one down, then the dove's mate came back around into the line of fire:confused: Seen geese get shot, then the rest of the flock came back in for some more salt and pepper. Taken a mature drake wood duck, next thing I know his hen comes right back to the pond. Left her alone and she was still out there looking for the drake a week later. Ever seen a wild pheasant express such behavior?

If he was one of the "dumbest critters on earth" he would have tasted the same fate of the Dodo bird and the passenger pigeon.

Keep in mind, those "shotgun" inexperienced wild pheasants you speak of already out-smarted the fox, coyote, mink, weasel, coon, skunk, possum, feral cat, hawk, owl, floods, drought, hot, cold, and still managed to put on weight AND keep his feathers in-line, clean, and in-tacked. All this before you had the pleasure of flushing him.



As you mentioned, it only takes one time for a wild bird to learn his lesson about us two legged creatures attempting to take him out with an instrument he's never experienced before. Gun power and bird shot. Whether it's he that's shot at, or another bird within a group, from there on out, he's off to out smart our "smart" dogs and us. Sounds like a quick learner to me:cheers:
They are cannibals that will eat each other, grown birds will eat and kill chicks( everyone thinks its just predators,LOL). They will stand out in freezing rain till the beak freezes and suffocate. They will lay in cattails during a blizzard getting buried alive, instead of going to the woods yards away. They will fall asleep in the water and drown themselves. They have plenty of ways they are stupid trust me LOL Raising them is not easy because they will find so many ways to kill themselves.

I have seen all the above things you say occur to a t as well LOL. Thought I was the only one.:D

PS seen plenty of them where you shoot one, then the next ones wait to take flight and get killed when they could just sit in cover or run while your retrieving the first. Like "here I am, kill me too" :)
 
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1pheas4

Super Moderator
They are cannibals that will eat each other, grown birds will eat and kill chicks( everyone thinks its just predators,LOL). They will stand out in freezing rain till the beak freezes and suffocate. They will lay in cattails during a blizzard getting buried alive, instead of going to the woods yards away. They will fall asleep in the water and drown themselves. They have plenty of ways they are stupid trust me LOL Raising them is not easy because they will find so many ways to kill themselves.

I have seen all the above things you say occur to a t as well LOL. Thought I was the only one.

PS seen plenty of them where you shoot one, then the next ones wait to take flight and get killed when they could just sit in cover or run while your retrieving the first. Like "here I am, kill me too"
Pen birds doing dumb things, sure. But wild pheasants sleeping through rising waters, then, drowning in those waters or sitting out in the open during a freezing rain storm.:rolleyes: Even seen wild pheasants surrounded by ice covered fields, trees, and fence lines--despite that, they themselves don't have a drop of ice on a single feather? How do they do that?

The woods being a better choice (for wild pheasants) for waiting out a winter storm---even over cattail sloughs?:rolleyes: There are VERY good reasons why pheasants made the smart choice NOT to inhabit the woods and forests of N. America. An inability to roost safely (from predators) in trees, a lack of ground cover, and very high numbers of predators. They made the smart choice a long time ago and grasslands were the way to go;)

As for those "snow buried" pheasants; In these cases, the pheasants are found dead on their roosting place. Not because they're "dumb", but because of something they have no control over. That is; Red Ice forming in their nostrils and/or beaks. A lack of habitat can have the same effect due to wind driven snow.

Here's the thread from some time ago with some photos of this if anyone is interested. Sorry but I've temporally deleted the video. http://www.ultimatepheasanthunting.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6594&highlight=forms+nostrils
 
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carptom1

New member
Pen birds doing dumb things, sure. But wild pheasants sleeping through rising waters, then, drowning in those waters or sitting out in the open during a freezing rain storm.:rolleyes: Even seen wild pheasants surrounded by ice covered fields, trees, and fence lines--despite that, they themselves don't have a drop of ice on a single feather? How do they do that?

The woods being a better choice (for wild pheasants) for waiting out a winter storm---even over cattail sloughs?:rolleyes: There are VERY good reasons why pheasants made the smart choice NOT to inhabit the woods and forests of N. America. An inability to roost safely (from predators) in trees, a lack of ground cover, and very high numbers of predators. They made the smart choice a long time ago and grasslands were the way to go;)

As for those "snow buried" pheasants; In these cases, the pheasants are found dead on their roosting place. Not because they're "dumb", but because of something they have no control over. That is; Red Ice forming in their nostrils and/or beaks. A lack of habitat can have the same effect due to wind driven snow.

Here's the thread from some time ago with some photos of this if anyone is interested. Sorry but I've temporally deleted the video. http://www.ultimatepheasanthunting.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6594&highlight=forms+nostrils

Pheasants are probably like people. Some are smarter than others. If pheasants are all dumb, I am starting to re think my own intelligence. ( that may not be a suprise to many) I have been made to look pretty stupid by a bird with a brain the size of a dried pea:)
 

FCSpringer

Super Moderator
Pen birds doing dumb things, sure. But wild pheasants sleeping through rising waters, then, drowning in those waters or sitting out in the open during a freezing rain storm. Even seen wild pheasants surrounded by ice covered fields, trees, and fence lines--despite that, they themselves don't have a drop of ice on a single feather? How do they do that?

The woods being a better choice (for wild pheasants) for waiting out a winter storm---even over cattail sloughs? There are VERY good reasons why pheasants made the smart choice NOT to inhabit the woods and forests of N. America. An inability to roost safely (from predators) in trees, a lack of ground cover, and very high numbers of predators. They made the smart choice a long time ago and grasslands were the way to go

As for those "snow buried" pheasants; In these cases, the pheasants are found dead on their roosting place. Not because they're "dumb", but because of something they have no control over. That is; Red Ice forming in their nostrils and/or beaks. A lack of habitat can have the same effect due to wind driven snow.

Here's the thread from some time ago with some photos of this if anyone is interested. Sorry but I've temporally deleted the video. http://www.ultimatepheasanthunting.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6594&highlight=forms+nostrils
Not to argue with you but I have seen everything I described several times and I was talking about wild birds. Except the water. The rest I have seen in the wild. and yes cattail sloughs here on a bad storm have gotten covered over night hard packed. They can not get out, they die. And yes the ones in the groves and woods survive. ;);) :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

PS MN winter, not IL
 

mnmthunting

Banned
Not to argue with you but I have seen everything I described several times and I was talking about wild birds. Except the water. The rest I have seen in the wild. and yes cattail sloughs here on a bad storm have gotten covered over night hard packed. They can not get out, they die. And yes the ones in the groves and woods survive. ;);) :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

PS MN winter, not IL
YES! We need undisturbed Grasslands for nesting and brood rearing.
Grasslands become worthless during normal snow accumulations during normal Winters by Jan. Cattails are important Winter Cover, small patches however get drifted over during high winds and heavy snow.

No Question, with out the Woody Cover through out the Northern Pheasant belt there would be NO wild pheasants.
 

FCSpringer

Super Moderator
YES! We need undisturbed Grasslands for nesting and brood rearing.
Grasslands become worthless during normal snow accumulations during normal Winters by Jan. Cattails are important Winter Cover, small patches however get drifted over during high winds and heavy snow.

No Question, with out the Woody Cover through out the Northern Pheasant belt there would be NO wild pheasants.

Ding, ding, ding. I knew someone got it LOL. Thank god for deep thick willow thickets and hard wood. The year was around 2000 or there abouts that we got about 120". One such storm was 30" in a day, with 50 plus winds all night. There was not a brown fuzzy top of a cattail showing any where for hundreds of miles. The landscape looked like white 3' waves in the ocean. it was so hard packed you could walk any where on top of it, including the cattails. Killed most of our birds. How do I know this? Because I saw it and did it. Normal times you would not venture in a cattail patch with a snowmobile. You could drive right over them, stop, take a leak, and move on. I worked as a groomer operator for the 500 mile long snow mobile trail system in Douglas co. All our trails were mostly rural right through the heart of the wilderness. Trust me, bad winters, cattails are "not" where you want your wildlife. The "smart" ones that did survive and replenish our birds today are the ones in the willows and woods. Normal snow fall amounts a little at a time are fine for cattails. But every year, we get some of those nasty bugger storms somewhere. And those are the areas that the birds get buried alive.

Luckily we hae huge sloughs in the woods as well. And those have areas that don't get the wind driven snow. There they can survive. But the open areas in most fields. Dead.
 
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