View Full Version : noob pheasant hunting/cooking questions

January 29, 2012, 08:11 PM
Hi all. I am going on my first pheasant and chukar hunt next week. It's my intent to cook 'em all, but the only game meat i have ever cooked is venison. The place I am going is a hunting preserve, and they use an exchange system, so however many birds you kill, they give you an equal number out of the freezer that have already been cleaned. I haven't picked up my ammo yet, so my first question is recommendation for ammo. Second is that I am hoping my kids will eat what I kill, but I am concerned about them biting down on a pellet, and I'm also concerned if someone used lead shot on the bird I happened to get from the freezer and having one of the kids consume some lead. So my second question is is there a good method for getting the pellets out? And is lead shot toxic for kids to be accidentally eating?

Thanks, and sorry for the dumb questions. I'm new to this and you guys were very helpful in helping me purchase my shotgun (12 ga Baretta AL391)

January 29, 2012, 08:54 PM
Cook your pheasant like you do chicken. It is very similar in texture and color but it tastes much better. I will sometimes rub it with garlic salt, lemon pepper and olive oil, then grill. It is very tasty stuff. You can also smoke it.

Red Eye
January 29, 2012, 09:52 PM
OK, let me see if I can help some.........

I use high brass #5 or 6 shells for pheasant and chukar but check with the preserve before you go, some of them have their own rules on the shells that they permit.

Its not good for anyone to ingest lead shot, kids or adults. A couple of pellets won't do anything in the long run, but I'd avoid it. Before you swallow any, you'll must likely bite down on one and they can break a tooth. Some people chew game meat shot with a shotgun slowly so they can feel the shot pellets and pick them out of their mouths OR....do what I do.......I sqeeze all the meat with my fingers before cooking; you'll be able to feel any pellets and push them out of the meat so you won't have to worry about it.

The game preserves I have hunted usually give you the meat breasted out and the legs, NOT the whole bird ( its just not worth it). The legs ( IMO) aren't worth alot, they have tough tendens in them but the breast meat is excellent. As stated above, cook like chicken but not as long; its leaner than chicken and can dry out quickly. I'll cover breast meat with some bacon strips to help keep it moist, depending on the recipe.

Try this recipe with the breast................pheasant and rice cassorole
after you've sqeezed the meat for pellets; place breasts in cassorole dish, sprinkle lightly with McCormick lemon/pepper seasoning.
In another bowl, mix together......
1 cup of uncooked white rice
2 cups of water
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 envelope of dry onion soup mix
a couple of "dashes of worchestershire sauce
blend together and pour mixture of meat
cover with aluminium foil and bake in 350 degree oven for 1 hr. 10 min.
GOOD STUFF !!!!!!!

good luck and NEVER take any low shots, let the birds get up at least head high for everyones safety and the dogs.

January 29, 2012, 11:26 PM
I have also cooked pheasant similarly to the above and it is very good. Its not that hard to find the majority of the pellets. A good examination of the meet should yield the majority. #6 or #5 shot is usually pretty easy to see.

Make sure of your target, as a dog handler it would be very horrible to have a good dog shot while afield so as stated above keep your shots higher. And you don't want to be known as a Dick Cheney for the rest of your life either.

January 30, 2012, 01:45 AM
Lots of ways to cook pheasant. But be careful not to over cook it. Pheasant drys out real quick.

Just buy the ammo with the picture of the pheasant on it;)

Number 6 shot will work fine.

January 30, 2012, 09:22 AM
ha buzz, that's probably all i would have done. thanks for the tips on finding the pellets gents. i appreciate it!

January 30, 2012, 11:15 AM
I use Fiocchi high brass 4 shot for pheasant I've found the larger shot and faster round work better out of my 16 ga. The best pheasant dish I've ever had was made by my step mom. She took the thigh meat off the bone and wrapped it in bacon then stufefd that inside a green bell pepper half with monteray jack cheese and baked it til done. Absolutely amazing. As for the shot, a little here and there isn't going to hurt anyone but having bit down hard on a piece of 4 shot before all I can say is, chew slowly.

January 30, 2012, 05:23 PM
Cook it in one of those bags and it will stay moist. Pheasants are smaller than many chickens. Just dont cook too long.

February 1, 2012, 10:30 AM
Clean it good as was said previously, cook it in a crock pot with some water and chicken bullion cubes, package of onion soup mix and a package of ranch dressing mix. Put in a pot (after deboning the pheasant and checking once more for shot), thicken and add some sour cream and eat over egg noodles. NOT the usual kind, the FROZEN egg noodles that are square. Fantastic.

February 1, 2012, 01:02 PM
I bone out the Pheasant thighs and breast. Cut into cubes then shake in Andy's fish batter. Its cornmeal based. I then fry battered pieces in skillet using olive oil until browned. I then remove pheasant and drain pan then put pieces back in pan and simmer with 1 or 2 cans of golden mushroom soup and serve on wild rice pilaf. The frying seals moisture in. If you want stew cook pheasant remove add soup and potatoes carrots etc simmer till they are done then add pheasant pieces and serve.


February 2, 2012, 09:58 AM
Thanks guys I'm very excited about going now and will let you know what I shoot and how I cook it!


Red Eye
February 2, 2012, 10:14 AM
Ok, one more final tip especially if you've never bird hunted or shot trap/skeet before.

When the bird flushes, you're swingiing the barrel/tracking it........AS SOON as you swing the barrel past the bird, then squeeze the trigger BUT and a big BUT here,..............KEEP MOVING THE BARREL AFTER YOU'VE SQUEEZED THE TRIGGER.......if you don't continue to swing the barrel after the shot, you could still wind up shooting behind the bird.

If you have a place to trap shot before you go, it makes for real good practice..........GOOD LUCK.......but most important.......be aware of everyone around you for safe shots........and then HAVE FUN !!!!!!

February 2, 2012, 12:06 PM
I don't know how to make it myself, but find a chicken and rice recipie and replace chicken with pheasant, I think its basically rice, some water, cream of something soup, and the meat. Like ohters have said it can be very dry, so it does not hold up well to grilling, however one of the best things you can do is smoke it, then cut it up into chunks and make smoked chicken salad with it, one of my favorite sandwiches.

February 4, 2012, 02:14 AM
I use 7 1/2 with .410 or #6 for 20 and 12 ga.

After cleaning the bird and getting out the shot, stuff and cook as you would turkey or cornish game hen.

February 4, 2012, 03:49 PM
If you only get one or two birds and want to stretch the meat out, chunk out the meat and fry it up with Andouille or Italian sausage and serve with stir fry veggies over rice. The sausage keeps the meat from drying out and adds flavor. Most stir fry veggies come with a sauce package, so you just drain the meat and then re-add it later when the veggies are ready. Make a little Minute Rice and you have a easy and tasty dish that will impress most anybody.

February 4, 2012, 06:53 PM
I don't see pheasants anymore. Thus maybe the dumbest of all questions, are they only on game preserves now?

I remember when I was young them bursting out of the brush at the last second and scaring the crap out of me. It was a huge past time for many of my buddies to go pheasant hunting.

February 4, 2012, 07:00 PM
I killed four pheasant and three chukar. Missed a few because I was shooting behind, but the last bird I killed was a very challenging chukar who flew up high in some trees and about 40 yards away after the dog unexpectedly stumbled into him in some high reeds. Nailed him dead center by leading him properly. It was really fun; we hiked the fields for about three hours on a beautiful February day.

I ended up just using #6 low brass. I would have rather used non-toxic shot but this was all the store I went to had and I was pressed for time.

I found a recipe for pheasant with scotch -- yummy. Going to try it this week.

edit: Rick I went to a preserve. I live in NJ and apparently the only place there are wild pheasant is up in the Meadowlands (by Giants Stadium!). I was with someone who had hunted wild pheasant and he said the pheasants we hunted flushed very well. We missed quite a few of them!

Red Eye
February 4, 2012, 10:35 PM
Glad you had a good time !!!!!!! Let us know how that recipe turns out.

February 4, 2012, 11:12 PM
I just sold a dog to a guy that hunts pheasant on a farm like that and he has a lot of fun there. The guy I sold the dog to has fun there also.

February 5, 2012, 12:40 PM
Hey gents I exchanged the birds I killed for cleaned and frozen birds. Question: in order to thaw and get the blood out, do you know if I should thaw them in salt water? Or should I thaw them first and then soak in salt water? How much salt in the water? Thanks!

February 6, 2012, 11:24 AM
I don't soak them, I either put right in the pan or right to the grill. They are not a gamey tasting animal. Cut a small piece off and toss it in the skillet to taste it and see what you think. Maybe add a little butter and garlic to flavor it some.

February 6, 2012, 04:09 PM
i thought it was pretty standard operating procedure to soak them to get the blood out??

February 6, 2012, 05:35 PM
Maybe a couple hours soaking-overnight not needed. If they dont look bloody-dont soak.

February 6, 2012, 10:50 PM
I know growing up and hunting pheasant we always used #6 OR #4 shot. Once they were cleaned we always smoked them. A good hickory or cherry wood makes them taste great.

February 7, 2012, 11:44 AM
i thought it was pretty standard operating procedure to soak them to get the blood out??

Some might, I don't know. I just have never soaked them and they have all tasted good to me. I have yet to soak any wild meat. If it something I am not sure I am going to like, for example duck, I turn it into sausage. But I have yet to have a upland game bird that did not taste good right after cleaning or fresh out of the freezer. I rinse in cold water to get extra blood and feather or what ever else off then freeze or cook.

February 7, 2012, 05:30 PM
I always used 12 ga #4 shot. They didn't get up... :)

February 8, 2012, 02:46 PM
I used #6. It worked fine. Though a couple of the birds I only broke the wing and the dog did the rest. One of them I shot, it went straight down looking dead as a doornail, and then then when it hit the ground it ran like lightning. The dog caught it though.