And another

1st February 2013

Yesterday the season finished for shooting Snipe and Woodcock, today it’s the turn of the Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus and Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa in England, Wales and Scotland.

Common Pheasant Phasianus cholchicus


Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa

Both of these game birds are introduced species that are bred, reared and released in large numbers specifically for shooting, about 35 million pheasants are released annually.  What ever your standpoint on shooting for sport, the reality is that without game bird shoots there would be considerably less woodland in southern Britain.

Common Pheasants originated from Asia and were possibly introduced into Europe by the Romans and were certainly well established in Britain by the 15th century. Red-legged Partridges are native to France and Spain and were introduced into East Anglia in 1770, there are thought to be up to a quarter of a million birds living wild in the UK.

During the shooting season, so many of these birds are shot that it is possible to obtain a brace of either for a couple of pounds or less if you know where to go.  If they haven’t been hung the flavour is not particularly gamey, especially Partridge which has a delicious delicate sweet flavour.  The leg meat of both is stronger tasting than the breast meat, like chickens they spend most of the time walking, only flying if absolutely necessary and so the legs do all the work.

Most of the birds that end up in game dealers and butchers will be first year birds and these can either be roasted whole or the breasts can be fried, but there will inevitably be older birds shot as well and these are better going into stews and casseroles, however once the bird has been plucked and trussed it is almost impossible to tell its age.

Kev Palmer


Related posts