History of pheasants in Oregon

In 1882 the Willamette Valley of Oregon was the site of the first successful introduction of ring-necked pheasants in the United States. Those birds were transported by sea directly from China by Judge Owen Denny. The transplanted birds found perfect habitat and soon populations burgeoned into the tens of thousands.

The ringneck is a farmland species, heavily dependent on cereal grains and other seeds, and always thrives best where farming is the least efficient. In earlier times farming practices and the landscape were different than today and pheasants were more abundant. Farming techniques were relatively primitive, field sizes smaller, more areas were untilled and crops more diversified.pheasants in oregon

For years pheasants were a common by-product of most normal farming operations. Over the last several decades, however, pheasant numbers in Oregon have changed as agriculture has evolved into a more highly efficient industry. There is still fairly good pheasant hunting in eastern Oregon agricultural areas such as the Columbia Basin and farmlands along the lower Malheur River and Owyhee drainages. In addition, pheasants can still be found at lower population levels in most other agricultural areas of the state.

Even areas where pheasant numbers are limited can continue to provide hunting since only roosters may be legally taken. Pheasants are polygamous and relatively few roosters are required for breeding. In most areas there remains one rooster for every two to four hens after Oregon's hunting season, yet ratios as low as one to ten have been found adequate to sustain a population. Habitat remains the number one limiting factor for pheasants in Oregon.


For more information please read Pheasants or Pheasant's Life Cycle.