Get your copies now through
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell's or Indiebound.

83 responses to “On Hanging Pheasants”

  1. Steve

    Well, there has to be an exception to every rule, and I disagree with you on the taste of aged birds. And it is not for the lack of trying them. The old guys I used to hunt with did this stuff as well, and I have eaten plenty of it, and liked it.

    Hey, to each their own. I pluck my waterfowl while afield ( I carry a bag) to cool them, and I rinse them well before cooking or storing.

    But, for the record, I like to skin and cut up my venison the same day I shoot it, and prefer fresh beef to ‘aged’.

    I simply prefer the taste of fresh meat, any way you slice it. (sorry).

    Interesting post though, I really enjoyed reading it.

  2. Andrew

    Great post. Searched high and low to find this information and I think this has got to be the best information I’ve run across on fish and game processing since Jocosta Innes wrote “The English Country Kitchen.”

    I’ve got four fat mallards hanging in about 2-3 C, foggy and snotty weather. Shot them above a pea field a couple days ago; I’m in Alberta, Canada.

    When I was a teenager in British Columbia, I aged sea ducks (scoters) for two or three days at about the same conditions, then skinned and de-fatted them (they’d been eating mussels) and they tasted totally alright even though I was a newb. Then I forgot about it. It’ll be interesting to see how these turn out. We shot 22 geese at the beginning of September and unhung, they were delicious — they were stuffed with wheat and barley.

    BTW: Re: your Manitoba hunt, use WestJet. Way easier and cheaper to haul fish and game. We flew a pile of seafood between the coast and Alberta, and all they really ask for is a waterproof box. They fly to L.A.

  3. Van Dao

    I’m so sppreciative of the information you provided, extremely useful. I actually bought a live phesant and killed and chilled it immediately, with the intention of aging it. All I knew was that it was common practice in the Old World, but did not know the specific time and temperature to do so. This will be my Thanksgiving bird as I favor game birds over domesticated birds any day.

    Here’s my question to you: Can you age a pheasant in the fridge, without hanging it? How vital is it to hang it vs. setting it down in the fridge?

    Any feedback would greatly be appreciated.



  4. Bernard

    It’s about 30 degrees outside, 40 in my garage. I just shot two pheasant and have them hanging in the garage. Would a week or two be enough. Also, do I need to do any dressing or cleaning? I take it from the above that as long as the gut is not broken, leaving them hang is just fine.

  5. Partridge | Mad Dog TV Dinners

    [...] are game birds, but have a milder taste than pheasant – you would normally hang them with the feathers on, before plucking and drawing, for between 4 – 8 days. One partridge [...]

  6. CEB

    Very interesting article, possibly read to late, as I have hung my brase of pheasants for 5 days, outside where it has been between minus 2 and 6 degrees, but the smell when I opened up the cock was VERY strong and unpleasant, so I am now debating what to do with the meat. thanks for the tips.

  7. Squeak

    I am glad that you made this article. I am from the Czech Republic, I´ve been to America and even shot a turkey there, but that is another story. Back in the old days people here would hang a partridge or a hare shot in the fall and use it in the spring. And the recent ideas on this were not to hang game at all, now I know, that what is important is the tempereture. Thanks

  8. Janine

    What an informative website! I did not find it soon enough, the first batch of 4 huns and 3 pheasant I had plucked right away. I was lucky to receive some from a friend, and happy to have a new experiment. I brined and smoked them, and they were so delicious. Now after studying, and getting my 2nd batch of birds, the good ones are hanging in my garage (47 by day). The Huns are on day 3, so I’ll pluck them, and check the pheasant in a couple days. The shot up ones I skinned out right away. I am anxious to see the difference which hanging yields.
    Thanks so much for your expertise! You’ve helped many hunters and chefs, including game bird novices like me! This site rocks!

  9. Road Kill | Mad Dog TV Dinners

    [...] the winter, when it’s cold, you can hang pheasant for a week or so – this allows the meat to tenderise naturally and the flavour to [...]

  10. Clara

    Hi Hank,
    Your article was wonderfully informative. However, I was wondering if you could clarify one thing: the birds are drained of their blood before hanging, yes?

    Did any of your sources talk about hanging domesticated chickens? I find that chicken has a strong, gamey taste that usually turns me off. Maybe this process would help develop the flavour into something more tasty (to me)

    Thanks so much for posting this!

  11. Sarah Jane

    Hi Hank,

    I’m from South Dakota and came home with several roosters after the opener this weekend. I have them hanging outside, and the weather here is roughly mid-fifties during the day, but getting down to low 30s at night. The low in two nights is 27. Is this too cold to effectively age my pheasants? Does the fluctuating temperature have ill-effects?

    Thanks for your help!

  12. Caity

    Mr. Shaw,

    I love your website and come here all the time. I am elated to say I shot my first turkey tonight. Now, I am wondering if I can hang it as you suggest in this article? Currently, I have it hanging by its feet in my shed. The shed will definatley not get warmer than 50 degrees, and is subject to potentially freezing. Am I going to ruin this bird? Any advice is very appreciated, thanks for all your help! (PS. This is in Montana with a Merriam’s turkey if it matters.)

  13. Simone

    Hi there
    Great site and info. A quick question. My husband and I were out for dinner last night (Saturday) when the manager mentioned he had some birds from a shoot from the previous day.He kindly gave us a duck, a partridge and two pheasants. Having no experience of this kind of thing we came home and found your site. The birds are currently hanging in our cellar (at approx 58 degrees). How long should I leave them there if at all and should they be plucked etc before freezing. I’m planning on roasting the duck and making a casserole with the pheasant and partridge. Thanks in advance for your advice.

  14. Johnny Polasik

    Very nice article!!!

  15. marie

    thank you for that article! now feeling a lot more comfortable ‘attacking’ the pheasants which the farmer left for me after his last hunting trip which have been hanging for three days. Looking forward to the results!

  16. sylvia smith

    Hi have killed my ducks and left them to hang , the backs of the ducks have gone lime green , can you let me know what i have done wrong ? left to hang in my loft.
    Many thanks

  17. KELLY

    My son has a buddy who gave him mallard frozen whole with the guts in. Been frozen 2 weeks – are these still good? Should I thaw-pluck-gut-cook-eat, or thaw-hang-pluck-gut and eat? Also, can ducks be frozen with feathers and guts for a period of time?

  18. Red-legged Partridge | Mad Dog TV Dinners

    [...] pluck or dress game birds before hanging or they will start to go off quickly. Do put some newspaper underneath your hanging game, just in [...]

  19. Julie Nolan

    I am going to receive a gift of a brace of pheasants tomorrow and as a virgin pheasant plucker have read this with great interest. I will inform you of my triumph/ disaster after the event.. Thanks for the tips on how to age the birds I am hoping to hang them for 5 days all being well though am unable to control the temperature, however it is cold. Not sure how to gut them though any tips?

  20. Daniel Newbury

    I’ve read this and have found it very helpful, now my question is regarding temperature.
    Hung in an outdoor shed, with a temperature of min 0 degrees Celsius – max 8 degrees, I’m thinking this will slow the hanging time, example: 5 days hanging takes 6 days,
    Any ideas ?

  21. Pheasant Pot Pie | Button Soup

    [...] very interested in hanging the birds, which is supposed to make the meat more tender and flavourful, but the gunshot wounds and [...]

  22. Muscovy Ducks – A Comprehensive Guide | The Self-Sufficient Gardener

    [...] [iii] On Hanging Pheasants. [...]

  23. Nancy

    Very informative.
    Thank you!

  24. tommy james

    This is an excellent article. Thanks so much. I live in Australia and we had our annual duck hunt last week. I have 4 plump woodducks in my fridge at the moment am wanting to eat them but am a bit unsure because this year we hung them guts and all overnight, it probably got down to 14 degrees C and a high of 20 C before I plucked, gutted and cleaned them up. Are we still good here ? anyone.? Tommy.

  25. andrew

    We have a wild pheasant hanging by the legs in the garage just short of a day. We’ve measured the temp at 60F and were wandering if cutting it down sooner rather than later would be a good idea? Also, your post has gotten me very exited about the whole affair, and I would love to know as much as I can about it. Any recommended reading?

  26. Matt

    Any suggestions for how to handle hanging birds on a trip to South Dakota? We’ll be there for 5 days, need the fridge where we stay to be at normal temp for our food, and will obviously get birds each of the days so the aging will vary. The temp outside can obviously vary tremendously from day to day and dawn to dusk. Thanks.

  27. Pheasant Pot Pie | Button SoupButton Soup

    [...] very interested in hanging the birds, which is supposed to make the meat more tender and flavourful, but the gunshot wounds and [...]

Leave a Reply