Pheasants are game birds that are most popular among hunters. These birds can easily be shot because of their rather low flight speed. The meat of a pheasant is tasty and is a rich source of protein, vitamins and minerals. Proper field dressing of a pheasant is a key factor that determines the overall quality of its meat. Many hunters are not familiar with field dressing their game. However, this process can easily be practiced and mastered. Given below are a few steps that will help you understand the essentials of how to field dress a pheasant.
• Wash your hands thoroughly prior to cleaning the pheasant. Wear plastic or rubber gloves to avoid contamination by bacteria.
• As with most other game birds, the first step in field dressing involves the plucking of the feathers. You can start by pulling out the feathers from the breast area and then working towards the neck region. You should always pull the feathers in the direction of its growth to avoid tearing of the skin and damaging of the meat.
• Alternatively you can make a small slit under the breast area using a clean and sharp knife and then pull out the skin from the carcass. This process ensures the removal of the skin as well as the feathers.
• Cut off the wings and the head of the pheasant.
• Make a cut along the sides of the backbone that extends from the neck to the legs. This should be done with extreme caution so as not to damage any internal organs.
• Now pull open the body cavity and carefully remove the internal organs. If required, use your knife to separate any part of the organs that are still attached to the carcass. Save the heart and liver in plastic bags and refrigerate.
• The next step is to cut off the lower legs and feet from the upper portion of the legs. You may want to retain one of the legs to provide proof that you’ve hunted a legal game bird. This leg can be removed upon reaching home.
• Wash the body cavity with clean water and wipe it dry using a clean cloth or paper towels. After thoroughly cleaning the cavity, place the carcass in air tight plastic storage bags and chill them.
If you have shot more than one pheasant, make sure not to pile the birds together. This is because when the birds are piled together, it will slow down the cooling process, resulting in the spoilage of the meat. In order to prevent the meat from deteriorating, it is important to keep it at a temperature less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. During the gutting process, if you happen to notice any greenish discharge or foul odor coming from the organs, make sure to discard the entire carcass. You may find the field dressing process a bit difficult, especially when you are doing it for the first time. But once you’ve got the knack of it, you’ll see that it is very easy and rewarding as well.