Sooner or later every hunter will become acquainted with the pheasant.
With over 600,000 birds killed every year, the pheasant constitutes almost 30% of the total annual game output in Denmark.

Stunning colours

The pheasant belongs to the gallinacean bird family. There are approx. 30 sub-species, as well as numerous hybrids, which is why it can be hard to differentiate the different sub-species from one another.

Denmark does however have the standard pheasant, the Phasianus colchius, with its characteristic white neck ring and the striking copper plumage, and this is one of the most widespread birds.

The male (cock) weighs around 1-1.5 kilos, is approx. 80-90 cm long and has a wingspan of 80-90 cm. It has a multi-coloured plumage with a metallic shine to its feathers and some very strong red and blue-black colours on the head, which combined with its very long tail feathers, makes it easy to spot.


The hen is around the same size as the cock, but weighs just under one kilo.

The hen's colours are much more muted. Its shades of brown and grey-black are an effective camouflage during nesting.

The hen also has a very long tail, making it easy to spot in flight.

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The cock keeps a harem

Pheasants are polygamous, i.e. the cock will have several hens, which he struts around with in early spring and protects from other cocks. Cock fights can be very violent, and sometimes the injuries sustained from the long spurs can prove fatal.

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In April, the hen will lay between 8 to 15 eggs and the chicks hatch after approx. 25 days. The chicks stay with the hen for the first couple of months, and by around 15-16 weeks, they have all their colours.

Mostly omnivorous

Pheasants are not fussy creatures. They eat berries, fruit, corn and seeds, but also insects, worms, lizards, small mice and birds. That's why the pheasant thrives well in many different biotopes. The pheasant lives where it is born. But it prefers young, dense fir thicket, where it can hide from birds of prey, and where there is plenty of food in the form of weeds and insects.

Where can you hunt pheasant?

The pheasant is widespread across most of Denmark. Meadows with wide windbreaks, game coverts and new plantations with a couple of years behind them are areas where you are almost certain to find plenty of pheasants.

At the start of the hunting season in October, the cocks seem to give up their territorial behaviour, because here even a small covert can house numerous pheasants.

Types of hunting


Pheasant hunting falls into three main types:

The classic estate hunt for large numbers of high pheasants, where shooters focus on getting fresh shots in their guns and hitting their targets, while drivers and supporting dogs flush out the birds and retrievers find and retrieve the shot pheasants.

The second type is called rough shooting. This typically involves a smaller group shooters with e.g. a couple of good hunting cockers, who trawl through the wide windbreaks or coverts, while other participants follow slowly behind with some good retrievers. This type is both great exercise and provides good opportunities for the energetic dogs to flush the birds out.

Finally, the third type is where you don't actually need a dog.

It's a case of stalking with a small-bore rifle. This is an exciting type of hunt, which really tests the hunter's ability to be at one with their environment, because pheasants have good vision and are aware of their surroundings.

Read more about pheasants:


Equipment for pheasant shooting

Pheasant hunting does not require any special equipment, over and above a well-trained retriever dog.

Pheasants do not require particularly big shots, and a shot size of 5 in a 12-bore gun will suffice. Many believe that the pheasant is a large, heavy bird, and should therefore be easy to hit, but it actually flies at 50k/h. In strong winds, it can reach speeds of up to 90k/h.

So if the pheasant has gathered some decent air beneath its wings and been flying for a while, it becomes far from easy to hit. And that's exactly why the classic battue hunts on high pheasants are still very popular with many hunters.

Please note


If you want to release pheasants in Denmark, you must have taken a game bird release course if the total number of birds exceeds 100. Mallards and partridges are also included here.

For more than 100 pheasants and more than 1 bird per hectare, a biotope plan for the area is required.

Records of the birds must also be taken and the release must be reported to the Danish Environmental Protection Agency no later than one week after the release.

Please also note that pheasants must be released at least one month before the hunt. This means that the final day the pheasants can be released is 31 August.

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