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99 responses to “On Hanging Pheasants”

  1. Jeremy

    Would hanging help or hinder coots? I usually just skin and de-fat them when I get home from a hunt, but I’ve heard some hunters suggest breasting them out right away in the field. The sooner the better.

  2. Connie Cunningham

    I have a goose farm. A USDA plant does the butchering for me and I then receive them back frozen a week later. So, I havent been intimately involved with their slaughtering as a rule.

    Twice I have had to kill healthy geese (accidents happen) and decided to eat them after plucking. Both times they were too tough to eat. And last spring I had a friend cull an aggressive gander. He reported that he was too tough to eat too.

    So. Even though they are domestic and pastured and young (mine were under 6 months, but the bad gander was two years) do they still need hanging? The Two Fat Ladies had a Xmas special with goose and they had the farmer hang their domestic goose for a week prior to his plucking and then their roasting it.(I think it was a week)and with all innards and feathers intact.

    If I decide to cull any more young ganders, should I hang them and for how long? I hate wasting the meat again.

    Thanks for this article! I too got kind of “erpy” about the whole hanging idea as I looked into it further. Especially glad they dont smell as bad as Id feared they might.

  3. Betty

    Hi there & thank you for your articles! A friend of mine called me last night & said the hunters who lease her land gave her a goose yesterday. I’m assuming they shot it that day. She offered it to me & said it’s outside, frozen, but hasn’t been gutted or plucked (which is what lead me to your article to see if it would still be safe to clean & eat as I’ve only ever dealt with fresh chickens or grouse). I do not know yet if it was gut shot, but will find out when I pick it up this afternoon. But now my question is; it has been sitting in her garage since they gave it to her. It was never hung up. Would that affect the safety of the meat (as long as it wasn’t gut shot)? Thanks so much.

  4. Hanging game (Pheasants)

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  5. John Catlin

    I read several years ago about hanging birds, and it has always captivated my imagination. Or, should I say, I’ve always been curious about it.
    I hunted a couple days in S Dakota, and got 3 birds on the first day. I gutted them but otherwise left the feathers on and put the birds in paper bags in my hosts refrigerator.
    They sat in the back of the truck in the garage for a few days after my return home in Wisconsin, and I’d guess the temperature was a little cooler than 50, but not cold enough to freeze the birds.
    I believe the birds we ate did taste better. I love hunting pheasants, but I’ve never been overly excited about the taste. Now that I have more information, I’m keen to try again and see how it works out!
    Thank you for the information.

  6. Chuck

    Well in the heart of South Louisiana’s Cajun country there is actually a French word for the process of hanging game. In French a pheasant is a faisan. The word that I am referring to is faisander. It is often used to describe something that is rotting or getting a little “gamey” (maybe even an old tennis shoe) but traces back to the process of hanging game, namely pheasant. Not many pheasants in South Louisiana anymore, however the holdover word is still used to describe the aging of most any meat. The game, ducks or geese or whatever, is usually hung by the leg long enough for the bird to “drop”. That is, the weight of the bird pulling against the decomposed joint actually dislocates it and the bird hangs a little lower. Thats the barometer to let one know that it is ready for the pot.

  7. Sweet heavenly aged venison - Page 8

    […] link should make some of the folks on this thread's head explode: Hanging Game Birds – How to Hang a Pheasant | Hunter Angler Gardener Cook Reply With […]

  8. Kathy walton

    Thank you for this article and the work you have done. I have Muscovy ducks taking over my place, some of them getting to be 4 yrs old and kind of big, no they ARE big. I have read that they can be a delicacy, so I must be doing something wrong. Can I be confident that hanging will help, at least with the older quite handsome drakes? I have only butchered 4 younger ducks, cooked one, it was a disappointment. I have 7 four months old at the moment, they need to be dealt with now. Do I also hang these for at least a day? Thank you

  9. Hanging birds

    […] tried the hanging thing this year on two birds using this guy's system. Hanging Game Birds – How to Hang a Pheasant | Hunter Angler Gardener Cook I found no real noticeable difference in taste or texture after 3 days, but as someone posted […]

  10. Melissa

    Hi. This was a fabulous post. Just a few questions. I live in Salt Lake City UT, and am raising two geese for meat. They will be ready around late July, which is the hottest time of year. I have a basement that stays relatively cool, would that be an acceptable place to hang them?

  11. Anya Hunt

    I always thought that plucking a cold bird is that much harder then a warm freshly killed one?? or is that a myth?? and wouldn’t resting/aging a bird in the fridge have a similar effect then hanging it?
    I had a goose about 1,5 years old dealt to on Friday, plugged it, gutted and stuck it in the fridge for almost 3 days. I was expecting a shoe sole but it turned out absolutely amazing!! so now I am unsure was it the 3 days or the low temp roasting?!

  12. Andreas

    Thanks for the article, I was scouring the internet for some good sense advice, preferably with some science, on how to hang and age poultry, and this article was exactly what I was looking for in a jungle of useless others! Have a nice day!

  13. John

    Hank: Have enjoyed some of the dove recipes this season and looking forward to using your guidance on pheasants and quail. Anticipating a great season, I am spending some time reading up. I have not aged a bird like you have recommended, am looking forward to it! Also, the preparation of the birds for the amazing recipes… great detail and commentary, thanks.

    Regarding the aging process, what’s next? What are your preferred recipes? Brining for simple roasting, pounding for schnitzel, piccata, or straight for the general tso’s recipe? Or point an aged bird towards the smoker or confit? (Or all of the above?)

    Considering some recipes emphasize thigh and leg, others breast, will you take an aged bird apart after the process and use for multiple recipes? End of the day, looking for your opinion on best treatment(s) of an aged Pheasant… Thanks for all of the guidance on upland game prep and the recipes.

    Many regards,

  14. Neil

    Does the bird need to be gutted right away? Had a grouse hit our window in the morning but was not found until evening. Can it still be eaten. No doubt it broke its neck. No idea how soon it died.


  15. Matt

    I hung pheasants last season for between 2 and 4 days at approximately 50 degrees and noticed absolutely no difference in odor when cleaning them. The only thing I did notice on two of the 4 day birds, after plucking, was a darker color, generally in the area between the leg and base of the breast or on the back. It was under or within the skin but not on the surface, and is best described as closer to green in color and similar to an aging bruise. I found no odor in these birds at all. However I have to admit the color concerned me, thinking the birds had spoiled, so the family and I did not eat these. Can you comment on acceptable color changes we might see, possibly caused by bleeding from shot? Thanks.

  16. Sean

    I hung my bird for 7 days in the garage while outdoor temps held between 34-60 degrees. I’ve just dry plucked and gutted the bird and I’m concerned the meat has spoiled. It turned blue in many areas and it smells rotten to me. I just went down to test my garage temp and discovered it is a few degrees warmer than outside. Any advice on whether the meat is safe to eat?
    PS- Love your book.


  17. Matt

    So is the color I’m describing spoiled bird, or bleeding that is changing color like a bruise would? Regardless of whatever it is, would I need to worry about eating that part of the bird if I didn’t see it to remove it? I love the idea of doing this, and the ones I ate last year, after following your instructions on brining them, were phenomenal. However it’s hard to get my family on board with eating the ones with the color, so they are still in the freezer.

  18. rachel

    Hi all, I have been given 2 pheasant, they have been stored/ hung in the cold for three days. Can I now pluck, gut and fillet the breasts for freezing? (we want to make oate for xmas). Many thanks

  19. George

    Hey Hank. So if I shoot a wild pheasant in the head, I should hang it for a minumum of 3 days, right? (…and without gutting it?)
    But if it’s shot in the gut, I cook it up right away?

  20. Carter

    Thank you for this wonderful article! Do you have any opinions on a machine this this one (see below) for the dry plucking?

  21. Louis Bockner

    Thanks so much for the informative article!

    My brother in law and I are thinking of trying it out on a few roosters that were born in the spring and I was just wondering what you would suggest for a method of killing them. We usually just chop their head off but it would seem we need to find a new strategy if we’re going to hang them.

    Thanks again.

  22. Glenn

    Hank: How long will fresh killed birds keep in an appropriately chilled fridge? I wanted to keep a couple ducks and geese I shot last weekend fresh for the upcoming weekend. They would probably be in the fridge 6 days before cooking. Thanks

  23. Daniel

    This is great. Though I would love to see a similar post on hanging mammals. You speak of aging deer, but I don’t think you’ve provided such clear guidelines for how long, how cold, and in what state of processing (skinned? gutted? glans removed?). It also makes me curious if squirrels, rabbits, and boar would similarly benefit from hanging.

    Also, what are the guidelines for hanging turkey? Same as goose/old pheasants?

  24. C

    What if the birds are cleaned and fresh – would the aging process still work ? I am thinking that a similar aging process is used to age steak – am I wrong ?

    Great reads as usually!

  25. Brendon

    I just discovered this website, I love what I’ve seen so far.

    I just found a Halal live poultry shop nearby, and they sell geese (alive or dead, cleaned & feathered or not). If I were to purchase a goose (dead), what is your recommendation for cleaning/feathering/hanging? Have them clean/feather, or take it home, hang it, and clean it myself after a few days?

  26. BD

    i let some ducks hang for a few days, then dry plucked them. since then, they have been aging in a refrigerator. i want to smoke them. any problem smoking after all this?

  27. BD

    further to my post, the ducks have been aging in the refrigerator for 4 days.

  28. Tony

    I want to try hanging muscovy the next time we harvest one of our older birds. Should I bleed it out first? I can’t seem to find any mention of bleeding the birds before hanging them to age, but it seems like blood might pool in the cavity if you hang it by the neck, no?

  29. gamebird

    I noticed a mix of supermarket venison, mallard, pheasant and grouse which was double sealed packed, smelt eggy, like burnt matches when I opened the first seal. It’s not unpleasant and doesn’t turn my stomach as obviously rotten meat does but I’ve never eaten game before so don’t know if it is OK. The first sealed packet was slightly blown with gas. Is this OK to eat please?!

  30. gamebird

    You’re right I am :-) thank you very much for your reply, I’ll act accordingly! Happy new year.

  31. Tony

    Thanks for the quick response Hank!

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