What do pheasants look and sound like? Can you hunt them in CT?

A lone male ring-necked pheasant moved onto my property in early May. I say solitary in pure human speculation, but also because it’s the only pheasant we’ve ever seen and its loud, piercing kok-cack call emanating from our back pasture seems to be asking “hello, are there any other pheasants out there?”

I was afraid that all their ruckus might attract our not-so-pheasant-friendly neighbors, particularly the local family of coyotes. The pheasant remained undaunted, hanging out in our pasture most of the time and occasionally, like a pet chicken, wandering near the house. One day we came home to find him enjoying the birdbath. Julie speculated that he was to blame for biting off pieces of low-hanging ripe tomatoes. We didn’t hear much of his call in September, though I did see him working the edges of the grass for bugs and seeds. Perhaps instinctively he knows that hunting season is coming, and it’s time to calm down and go unnoticed.

A pheasant struts through a field pen on Sept. 20, 2021, at Loyalsock Game Farm.

In the early decades of the last century, my grandfather, Harry Gould, was a country fowler of some renown. He bred pointing dogs for hunting, especially the English setter breed, and hunted pheasants and other field birds. It was at my grandparents’ house that I saw a pheasant for the first time, or rather parts of the bird. Hanging from a peg in the shed outside the back door of the kitchen was the long tail and wings of a pheasant, the successful results of a recent hunting trip and, perhaps, tonight’s dinner. Grandpa Gould also had a prized specimen stuffed and proudly displayed on the mantelpiece.