"Pheasant Recipes: Pheasant Pot Pie, Pheasant Bourguignon, Pheasant Parmesan, Pheasant Burritos, and Pheasant Stir-Fry"

Try one of these delicious and unique pheasant recipes this fall. Looking for a delicious and unique pheasant recipe to try? Look no further! In this blog post, we will be sharing five different recipes. These recipes are all sure to please your taste buds, so give them a try!

Recipe #1: Pheasant Pot Pie

Ingredients:

For the pot pie filling:

-¼ cup butter

-½ cup chopped onion

-¼ cup flour

-Salt and pepper to taste

-½ teaspoon dried thyme

-Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

-⅓ cup white wine

-⅔ cup chicken broth

-½ cup milk

-½ pound pheasant meat, cooked and shredded

-½ cup frozen peas

-¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

For the pastry:

-⅔ cup all-purpose flour

-½ teaspoon salt

-Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

-⅓ cup cold butter, cut into small pieces

-About ⅓ cup ice water

Instructions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion and cook until softened. Stir in flour, salt, thyme, and cayenne pepper (if using) and cook for a minute longer. Pour in wine and chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Stir in milk and pheasant meat and cook until heated through. Stir in peas and parsley.

To make the pastry, combine flour, salt, and cayenne pepper (if using) in a large bowl or food processor. Cut in butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add enough ice water to form a dough.

Roll out dough on a floured surface to about ⅛-inch thickness. Cut into circles with a biscuit cutter or glass that is just larger than your pot pie dishes. Place dough circles over each pot pie dish, pressing down around the edges to seal. Make a few slits in the top of each pie to vent.

Bake pot pies for 20-25 minutes, or until crusts are golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!

 

Recipe #2: Pheasant Bourguignon

Ingredients:

-½ cup all-purpose flour

-Salt and pepper to taste

-⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

-Dash of paprika (optional)

-½ pound pheasant meat, cut into bite-sized pieces

-¼ cup olive oil

-⅓ cup chopped onion

-⅓ cup chopped carrot

-⅓ cup chopped celery

-½ teaspoon dried thyme

-Dash of rosemary (optional)

-Dash of sage (optional)

-⅔ cup red wine

-⅔ cup chicken broth

-¼ pound mushrooms, sliced

Instructions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

In a large resealable bag, combine flour, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper (if using), and paprika (if using). Add pheasant pieces and shake until coated.

In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add pheasant and cook until browned on all sides. Remove pheasant from pot and set aside.

Add onion, carrot, celery, thyme, rosemary (if using), sage (if using), and a bit more salt and pepper to the pot. Cook until vegetables are softened. Pour in wine and chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Return pheasant to the pot and add mushrooms.

Cover pot with a lid or foil and bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until pheasant is cooked through. Enjoy!

 

Recipe #3: Pheasant Parmesan

Ingredients:

-½ cup all-purpose flour

-Salt and pepper to taste

-Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

-½ pound pheasant meat, cut into bite-sized pieces

-¼ cup olive oil

-⅓ cup chopped onion

-⅔ cup chicken broth

-⅔ cup tomato sauce

-Dash of sugar (optional)

-Salt and pepper to taste

-½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

In a large resealable bag, combine flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper (if using). Add pheasant pieces and shake until coated.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add pheasant and cook until browned on all sides. Remove pheasant from skillet and set aside.

Add onion to the skillet and cook until softened. Pour in chicken broth and tomato sauce and bring to a simmer. Add sugar (if using), salt, and pepper to taste. Return pheasant to the skillet and add Parmesan cheese.

Cover skillet with a lid or foil and bake in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes, or until pheasant is cooked through. Enjoy!

 

Recipe #4: Pheasant Burritos

Ingredients:

- ½ pound pheasant meat, cooked and shredded

- ¼ cup salsa

- ¼ cup sour cream

- ⅓ cup chopped onion

- ½ teaspoon chili powder

- Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a large bowl, combine pheasant, salsa, sour cream, onion, chili powder, salt, and pepper to taste.

Place pheasant mixture in the center of each tortilla. Roll up burrito-style and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until heated through. Enjoy!

 

Recipe #5: Pheasant Stir-Fry

Ingredients:

- ½ pound pheasant meat, cut into bite-sized pieces

- ¼ cup soy sauce

- ¼ cup honey

- ½ teaspoon ground ginger

Instructions: In a large skillet over medium heat, cook pheasant until browned on all sides. In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, honey, and ground ginger. Pour over pheasant and continue cooking until sauce has thickened. Enjoy!

We hope you enjoy these recipes! If you’re looking for more pheasant hunting tips and tricks, be sure to check out our blog or give us a call at Oak Creek Lodge. We’d be happy to help you plan your next pheasant hunting adventure!

Happy Cooking!

-The Oak Creek Lodge Team

"A Brief History of the Ring-necked Pheasant"

Despite the iconic status of the ring-necked pheasant, the state bird of South Dakota is not a native species. All species of pheasants originate from Asia. Trade during the Roman empire and the silk road introduced Asian pheasants to most of Europe. The large and hearty ring-necked pheasant took a foothold and has become a dominant game bird in the European continent. English colonists in the Americas were also keen to continue the tradition of pheasant hunting and imported their first batches of European pheasants in 1773 however, these pheasants weren't hardy enough to survive the still rugged country of colonial America.

The First Ring-necked Pheasants

It would not be until 1881 when Oregonian Owen Nickerson Denny imported 60 birds from China to Washington state. He then transported the birds back to his property in Oregon. It's been said that some of the birds escaped during their trip from Washington, and the remaining birds were released onto the property in the Columbia River valley. Additional birds were imported in 1882 and 1884. Since the original importation of ring-necked pheasants in 1881, hunters and game managers have imported birds from both sides of the world. Both English game farms and Asian markets have supplied the brood stock to allow pheasants to expand to more than 40 states in the US. Pheasants are a remarkable story of adaptation and acceptance by the sportsmen's community, and there is no better example of this than in the state of South Dakota. As described by the Audubon society, "Apparently a permanent resident everywhere, both on native range and where introduced.”  The ring-necked pheasant tolerates cold temperatures well and prefers the diverse habitat of low cover and fields where it can both graze and easily escape predators. South Dakota is an ideal location for the pheasant to reside with its diverse prairie lands. The mixed farmland and natural grasslands provide a patchwork of flora and fauna to eat while rolling hills and valleys give ample places to hide and nest.

South Dakota

The story of South Dakota's pheasant population and the moniker "the pheasant capital of the world" is a story spanning decades, with actors, both private and public, helping make the dream a reality. South Dakota's first pheasant arrived in Spink County in 1908. A. E. Cooper and E. L. Ebbert purchased several pairs of pheasants from a Pennsylvania game farm in hopes of creating a huntable population on their property. The first flock did not survive the brutal winter. However, their second attempt in 1909 created the first sustaining flock of pheasants.  A group of sportsmen in nearby Redfield released their own pheasants to their properties. In 1911, seeing the potential for a lucrative industry that could come from a new game bird on the landscape, the South Dakota Department of Game and Fish released 48 birds to increase the population in the area around Redfield. That same year the state purchased another 200 pairs of pheasants that Fish and Game gave to farmers to populate their farms and ranches. In 1913 nearly 1,700 Ring Necked Pheasants purchased from China were displayed to the public at the South Dakota State fair. These birds and the 1,400 purchased the following year were distributed across the county as part of the state's stocking program.

The First Hunt

In 1919 just ten years after the first private successful private stocking, Spink County held a one-day pheasant hunt. It was estimated that South Dakotan hunters killed 200 birds out of the assumed 100,000 living in the state. The trend of ever-increasing numbers of birds continued as birds were trapped and relocated throughout the state. The native and farmed grains and the low number of predators allowed the ring-necked pheasant to grow exponentially. In 1934 every county in south Dakota had a pheasant season. The pheasant had become a major draw for sportsmen and those traveling in the state. So much so that in 1943 Rep. Paul Kretschmar famously gave his support of naming the ring-necked pheasant as the state bird of South Dakota with these words. "To reward a bird of fine table delicacy, sporting blood vigorous and hardy, found throughout the state, responsible for a substantial part of our state income, and one that has given us national recognition, it is my recommendation that the Ring Neck Pheasant be officially named as the bird of our state.” With endorsements like that and famous actors and sportsmen traveling to the state to hunt, it is no surprise that the ring-necked pheasant became the state bird. In 1945 with a booming population estimated at 16 million birds, south Dakota had one of the best harvests in history. One hundred seventy-five thousand hunters shot over 7 million pheasants on an 8-bird daily limit.

A bust followed the boom of 1945; in 1950, a series of harsh winters and overutilization of South Dakota's farmlands reduced the pheasant population to just over 3 million birds. The harvest of just 500,000 roosters that season prompted a renewed effort to improve habitat. In 1956 the Soil Bank program created a cost-sharing program to allow farmers to keep some cropland fallow and to incentivize protecting lands that were most at risk for erosion. The plan worked, and by 1958, the population of ring-necked pheasants averaged 9.8 million birds.

Like most government programs, the Soil Bank program expired, and the pheasant population began to decline. In 1976 with more acreage being returned to production use and a still vibrant hunting community, the number of roosters shot was slightly over 370,000 birds. However, this population crash would not last for long. The immense popularity of pheasants garnered national attention, and in 1985 the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) was signed into law as part of the Farm Bill. The CRP aimed to improve wildlife populations and water quality by planting ground cover. CRP has continued to improve the habitat and numbers of pheasants across the state. With nearly 1.5 million acres of managed land, the populations of all game animals have improved.

Private Partnership

Federal programs allocating land for wildlife aren't the only method of conservation that has aided the pheasant numbers. Instead, private landowners have provided the pheasant with a tremendous opportunity to breed and thrive on their land. Ranchers and farmers have worked hand in hand with both the state and non-profits like Pheasants Forever to keep ditches weedy and even plant native grasses and shrubs that serve as prime nesting areas for wildlife. By incentivizing private landowners to maintain their lands in a way that promotes pheasant populations like those laid out in the Habitat Pays Program Landowners help support an economy valued at over $200 million dollars annually.

Beyond the vast public hunting resources available, South Dakota also has hunting lodges that take the dedication to pheasants even further. Unlike public land, where habitat programs and use can be stretched thin between multiple stakeholders like industry, bird hunting, and ecotourism, private and can be managed with a single goal. Private landowners often engage in prescribed burns to rejuvenate the land and create a patchwork of older growth, ideal for nesting, fresh shoots, and bare ground that pheasants find the ideal for foraging. Planting wild or native seeds further allows private lands to be constructed as the ideal habitat for many game species, but in this case, pheasants are the largest consideration for many lodge owners. Last but certainly not least, private landowners give birds a reprieve and a chance to grow and live relatively undisturbed. Even in hunting season, private lands will see just a fraction of hunters that public lands will. For example, in the 2021 pheasant season, approximately 166,000 hunters took to the fields.  While this number may not be as large as some states for other hunting seasons, that is a substantial number of hunters on a landscape for nearly three months.

Oak Creek Lodge

Oak Creek Lodge is an example of how this private partnership works in harmony with the greater conservation goals. The lodges 1500 acres of South Dakota prairie is managed to create the ideal habitat for ring-necked pheasants to breed, grow, and thrive. With a focus on management of water, soil conservation, and planting Oak Creek Lodge provides a haven for birds. Surrounded by the 1.5 million acres of Standing Rock Reservation, the lodge serves as a stopover for transient birds and helps bolster the wild populations that live in the reservation. For hunters looking to experience world class wing shooting without the increased competition of public land the decision is obvious. Oak Creek Lodge will give hunters the opportunity to hunt the pheasant capitol of the world while seeing first had how partnerships work. A partnership of state and private entities that took a dozen imported birds and, in a century, grew a species into a population averaging 14 million adults.

Happy Hunting!

-The Oak Creek Lodge Team

"A Hunter’s Paradise in the Pheasant Capital of the World"

Ask any wing shooter where the best pheasant hunting in the United States is, and you'll get one answer...South Dakota! With a patchwork of public lands and private agricultural land, pheasants thrive in the abundant mix of grasslands and prairie. With a season spanning several months, hunters have ample opportunity to take in the beauty of a flushing rooster pheasant and the majesty of the lands that he calls home.

 

The Pheasant

The ring-necked pheasant is a game bird that captivates anyone who has seen one in flight. Rooster pheasants with red faces and dark green heads betray their locations with loud cackles. Only their explosive flight is a more well-known feature of these grassland dwelling game birds. While their flights rarely exceed a few hundred feet, their rapid liftoff and long tails make leading the fleeing birds a challenge for even the most steely nerved wing shooter. Wounded birds will take to the ground and run into the next county if not chased down by a good bird dog. Be it a bird in the hand or two in the bush; a well-trained dog will make your hunting memorable.

 

South Dakota

The Mount Rushmore state is so much more than the iconic stone faces. The fertile soil of the prairie lands gave way to agricultural use for livestock and crops. This multi-use operation of private land and government permitted grazing of public lands have allowed pheasants to thrive in the mix of native grass and high-calorie food crops. Every opening weekend since the inception of the season in 1919, the state's sportsmen and many other states have gathered to kick off the celebration that is Pheasant season. Working dogs across the high grass to flush roosters is exciting to watch and even more memorable when you are the one holding the shotgun. With a traditional season beginning in October, there are abundant opportunities to make memories that will last a lifetime. With a ten year average of 1.2 million roosters harvested in the state of South Dakota there is a good chance that you too can add to that number this year.

 

Public Land

Even with 80% of the state's lands being privately held, there are still millions of acres of publicly held and managed lands that aid in the continued production of wild pheasants. With a continued effort to maintain hardy native grasslands, the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks and nonprofits like Pheasants Forever have put forth guidelines to improve habitat for all native wildlife, including pheasants. Many private landowners have implemented these guidelines and suggestions across the state.

 

Private land

Pheasant hunting can be hard work. Traveling across miles of grassland with dogs ready to flush birds is taxing for even the most conditioned hunters. The day's exhaustion can be compounded for resident and non-resident hunters when the cost of lodging or travel is factored into the mix. For those wanting to make memories in the field and relax in comfort after a day in the field, an outfitter is an ideal choice. Unlike public lands, where the use of the land and how it is maintained is split between consumptive use like hunting, and "non-consumptive" use, like hiking and horseback riding, private land managers have the freedom to maintain their lands to promote game exclusively.

 

Oak Creek Lodge

Oak Creek Lodge is a sprawling 2,000 acre private ranch. This seclusion puts oak creek in an ideal location to implement the best practices for habitat and wildlife growth. You will find this rolling prairie land maintained with the highest levels of environmental stewardship, producing world-class pheasant hunting.

 

Oak Creek Lodge doesn't just provide a world-class pheasant hunt on its thoughtfully maintained property. It also operates as an all-inclusive lodge providing hunters with a chance to make the most of every minute on the property. Guest hunters will relax before and after hunts at the lodge, where meals are prepared in-house daily. Breakfast, sack lunch, and a full sit-down style dinner are provided every full day. WIFI access is provided so you can brag to all your friends and family about the day's hunt.

 

Hunters will receive a safety briefing upon check-in and complimentary blaze orange caps from Guardian Outdoors to complete their hunter orange ensemble. On-site, transportation is available so you can focus on calming your nerves and take in the beauty of the great plains while the guides chauffeur you and your group to the ideal spots to begin your hunt.

 

What Should a Hunter Bring

While Oak Creek Lodge is an all-inclusive hunting property, there are still a few important items to remember to bring along, guaranteeing a safe and exciting experience.

 

·         Licenses

Regardless if you are a resident of South Dakota or a visiting hunter, you will need your hunting licenses before starting your hunt. For information on the cost and how to acquire your hunting license, check here.

 

·         Blaze Orange

Safety is paramount at Oak Creek, and ensuring everyone is dressed in the appropriate amount of blaze orange is required. Luckily South Dakota has common sense laws regarding the amount of orange required and your hat meets the necessary amount of blaze orange material.

 

·         Good Boots

From the rolling plains to creek beds, pheasant habitat is not overly technical but does require a healthy amount of cross country walking. Select a good pair of hiking or hunting boots with enough ankle support that your feet won't fall off at the end of the day. Since the season runs from October to January, a taller boot is recommended to keep snow out of your socks.

 

·         Your Vest

A good upland hunting vest isn’t required, but it’s an investment that will pay dividends when you have a spot for your shells, water, snacks, and limit of pheasants.

 

·         Your Shells

We didn’t say your shotgun but we hope you brought that too. Shells should be what patterns best for your gun. Lead #4-6s are fine for pheasant. 2 ¾” shells are all that’s needed since the density of lead is far more than steel. Regardless if you shoot 12, 20, or 16 gauge, the critical part is knowing how your gun shoots with the shells you’ve chosen.

 

The crew at Oak Creek Lodge has put in the effort to make their slice of South Dakota a hotspot for pheasant hunting. They have built a lodge comfortable enough to keep you coming back to the field well-rested and fed with meals to keep you coming back for seconds. The hardest part now is calming your nerves and focusing on leading that next pheasant, the one you will remember until you visit again next season.

Happy Hunting!

-The Oak Creek Lodge Team