The Ring-necked Pheasant was introduced into this country in
the 1800s and now they are found from New England to California
and are well established as a popular game bird in many states,
including the Sooner State. A great hunting tradition in
Oklahoma is the December 1 pheasant opener in the panhandle. The
population of that part of the state swells on the opening day.
The average length for the male is 33 inches and 21 for the female. The male has a green or purple head with a bare red eye patch and a white ring around his neck. His russet breast is spotted with black, the back is variously hued with green fawn and light gold and the bright gold tail is regularly barred with black.
Pheasants prefer cultivated farmland habitat mixed with weedy fencerows, ditches and corners. CRP lands are also quite popular with these colorful gamebirds. Although they are swift runners and prefer to travel overland, when flushed, these birds generally fly toward timber or thick brush for escape cover. However, they are commonly seen out in wide open fields where they feed on waste grains, weed seeds and insects.