A popular species to hunt, ring-necked pheasants are a lowland species that does most of its travelling on the ground. They prefer habitats 'on the edge'; that is, on the border of a farmed field and a dense forest, wetlands, or wild grasslands. During the winter, they rely primarily on leftover cereal grains that remain in farmed fields, while their summer months are spent foraging plants, insects, and occasionally small rodents or amphibians.
An introduced species to Alberta, ring-necked pheasants are actually native to China and Japan. They were also introduced hundreds of years ago to the UK, which is likely where Alberta's population came from.
Now, Alberta raises and releases almost 27 thousand pheasants each year to sustain the population, which remains abundant and a popular gamebird species.
As pheasant meat is higher in protein and collagen, it can be tough if not prepared correctly. Typically, meat should be brined to maintain moisture and then cooked low-and-slow to tenderize and bring out the richer flavours.