Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pheasant shoot

So on a crisp fall day in England, what do you do for entertainment?

If you ask my husband, you head to the countryside for a "shoot." Pheasant season runs from October 1 to February 1 in England.

These Texas boys and colleagues got "kitted" in appropriate attire and headed out for some excitement. My photographer and research assistant for this blog is my very own husband, who is educating me on the finer art of pheasant shoots. One would never show up without being appropriately dressed, so required dress includes a shirt, tie, shooting breeks in plus 2 or plus 4 (inches of overhang from knee), wellies, and a tweed shooting jacket or in their case, a hunting coat.

They headed to Oakhampton Park, a private country home dating from 1734, where they enjoyed dinner and an overnight stay before the big shoot.

They were led through beautiful countryside, through sheep filled pastures,

wooded lanes,

by country houses,

and then often into creekside beds to prepare for the action. Let me pause and give you some background information. The hunters were using 12 gauge over-under shotguns. Mike borrowed one from the guides, but those choosing to have their own gun in England have two options. You can keep your gun at your home in a certified locked safe which is subject to random surprise inspections by local police, or you can store it in a gun shop where they hold it until you check it out for a limited time.
In a pheasant shoot, pheasant chicks are raised for the sport, then released into the fields to graze. At the time of the shoot, "beaters"  flush out the birds, driving them towards the hunters. The hunters are stationed at their "pegs" throughout the valley awaiting their approach.

Mike's "loader" is responsible for keeping his gun loaded after every shot. Their group of 7 guns shot 368 birds in 4 hours time.

It is the job of the "retriever" and his dogs to find the downed birds and collect them. The pheasants that are collected are then cleaned and sold to the market for eating. The average pheasant weighs about 5 pounds. Mike says it tastes like chicken--isn't that what they always say?

The birds are actually beautiful as you can tell. The day ends with a leisurely lunch back at the house, with a huge meal and a well-deserved rest.
Last year, Mike brought home several pheasants from the shoot, ready to cook and was so excited for me to cook them up. 

What can I say? They are still in the freezer.


  1. Enjoyed this post. Something tells me Mike enjoyed this adventure more than the deep sea fishing Hal took him on here in Florida. I couldn't help but laugh about the pheasant still in the freezer as I haven't cooked any of the fish they caught that day either.

    Great pictures, Mike!

  2. They reaally do taste like chicken. Mike usually goes in January to Kansas to hunt. I have a good recipe to cook them, although the ones you have are probably ready for better things.

  3. Very enjoyable post. This is a great season for game meat. My significant other came home from the butchers with a couple of pheasants last week and spent ages researching recipes. He roasted it in the end but I have to say I prefer duck or venison! ;) Thanks so much to you and your hubby for sharing a great adventure! ;)

  4. Pheasant under glass, anyone? I have never had it, and if anyone is waiting for me to fix it, they will not have any either.
    However, my brother-in-law used to go to Nebraska (I think) to shoot pheasant; brought them back and smoked them - I am told they were very good.
    The pictures are loverly, and the men - very dapper.

  5. This was really interesting - For awhile I felt like I was on the set of "The Holiday" and then on the set of "The Queen!"
    What an amazing life you lead!
    Many blessings,
    P.S. maybe you should cook one of those birds you have in your freezer for Thanksgiving this year! :) After might not taste like Turkey...but it does chicken!!

  6. Bonjour Debi. That certainly looks like a weekend with a difference - fantastic - and the pictures really show the autumnal country side at its best. I have to say, that I do like pheasant, the only thing I get annoyed with is the amount of led I end up hurting my teeth on...

    Thanks for your wonderful comment on my post from this morning (making Christmas gift decorations). Your compliment really made me happy, I only wish I could find a way of advertising my work more, finding interior projects and styling work... I'm just not pushy enough I guess and I don't know the right people either, so it can be very frustrating. That's where comments like yours are extremely encouraging and make me want to carry on - Merci beaucoup :-) Have a lovely week, Love from South of the River x

  7. Kudos to your "research assistant" for the hunt coverage and the beautiful pheasant. Sounds like you should have a pheasant feast for the holidays some time or be like Scrooge on Christmas morning dole-ing out the Christmas pheasants to some neighbors. Please make sure when you do prepare the bird to fill us in on the results, pretty please;)

  8. Hi Debi,

    O.k, that was like a set from Masterpiece theater. Stunning photo's- the colors....makes me want to plan a fall trip.

    My dad used to hunt pheasants in Mi. They wore plaid hunting jackets and caps. I hadn't thought about that for years. He did bring home pheasants, every single time.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.


  9. Debi honey I just came by to check on you and to see what city you were in. lol
    Just showed my daughter your pictures because she is suppose to go to London for work in January.
    Love these pictures.
    Happy Thanksgiving honey