Many outdoor enthusiasts want to learn how to field dress a pheasant. This is a little more challenging than field dressing small game mammals like rabbits and squirrels that new hunters often pursue when learning to hunt. Field dressing a pheasant requires that you deal with the bird's feathers while you dress the bird. Pheasants are healthy, tasty game, and once you develop your field dressing skills, you'll be be bringing home food for wonderful gatherings around the table.
To field dress a pheasant, you will need:
- A small game hunting license
- A small, sharp knife
- Plastic or food prep latex gloves
- Hunting equipment
- Opening day. Get out to the grain fields in your state to hunt some birds. Be sure to get permission from landowners, and in no time you'll be ready to field dress a pheasant. Be sure to keep an eye on the bird as it falls so you don't waste any game.
Rough pluck the bird. To field dress the bird you need to remove the intestines and "crop," the belly of the bird. Turn the bird on its back in your hand and pluck the feathers from the breastbone down to the vent.
Put on your latex gloves. Wearing latex gloves while you field dress your pheasant allows you to clean the bird without getting germs on your hands, or germs from your hands into the bird.
- Make an incision. Pull the skin up at the breastbone and use the tip of your hunting knife to make a small incision. Pulling the skin up makes sure you don't cut the intestines, which can leak fluid that can spoil the meat.
Open the belly. Insert your index finger into the incision as a guide. Hold your small, sharp hunting knife in your hand and rest the blade on your finger with the dull side against your finger and the sharp side away from your finger, with the tip resting on the pad of your index finger. As you slide your finger just inside the skin of the belly down the bird, the blade of your knife will cut the skin, revealing the intestines.
- Cut around the vent. The vent is where waste is released from the bird. You will want to cut around this, but before doing so it is helpful to use your index finger and thumb of your second hand to reach in and pinch the end of the intestine shut. Use your knife hand to cut around the vent.
- Pull out the organs and intestines. Set down your knife and reach your fingers inside the cavity of the bird. Pull the intestines down and out of the belly. Use your knife if you need to cut any organs free. This will keep the bird in one piece so you can bake it in the oven whole.
- Continue your hunt. One way to cool the bird while you hunt is to tie the bird's feet to your belt with twine. Air can circulate through the body cavity, cooling the meat while you pursue your bag limit.