Wild Pheasant Behavior

All Natural Wild Pheasant Behavior
Pheasant behavior in South Dakota varies depending on habitat, weather, and hunting pressure. They have keen eyesight and hearing to detect predators and hunters, and will hide in dense cover such as grasslands, wetlands, crop fields, and shelterbelts. Pheasants are most active in the early morning and late afternoon, when they feed on seeds, grains, insects, and other foods. They roost at night in tall grasses or cattails, where they are protected from cold and predators.
Wild pheasant roosters aggressively dominate protective habitat and food supplies, especially in winter. Wild pheasant hens have a tough time when shelter or food resources are limited. Large areas of tall dense brush, such as kochia, assist hen survival. Annual populations are proportional to hen survival. In April hens and roosters leave the dense winter cover for courting and selecting nesting sites. Wild pheasant hens make ground nests in previous crop residues, grassy areas, and fresh growing wheat. Prior to “no till” farming systems, many nests were destroyed by tillage operations employed prior to spring row crop planting. Wheat fields are favorite nesting sites for wild pheasant hens. The hatch begins in mid-June and continues well into July. Nearby natural springs and potholes assure a supply of insects, the primary food source for young broods.
Young rooster’s bright colors begin to develop in August. In September tail feathers lengthen. Identification of young roosters versus hens becomes easier. No-till field operations show pheasant counts of 1 to 3 birds per acre, an ample supply for the approaching hunt season. Wild pheasants have a complex social structure, with groups of females and their young forming flocks, and males forming loose associations or living alone.