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How long will they grow?

February 17, 2013
Minot Daily News
Kim Fundingsland/MDN
This rooster pheasant sports a long tail, not unusual for this time of year. Jesse Beckers, Pheasants Forever regional wildlife biologist in Valley City, says the longest ring-necked pheasant tailfeather he knows of was 28 1/4 inches long from a bird harvested near Mott a few seasons ago.
Numerous “longest tail feather” contests are held throughout North Dakota each hunting season. Typically, the longest tails are produced by birds harvested late in the hunting season. Roosters don’t get to keep their lengthy plumage forever.
“The pheasants do actually molt in the summer,” said Beckers. “The roosters can’t fly after mating season in May or June. They lose their flight feathers and long tail feathers.”
The colorful birds grow their tail feathers back rather quickly, generally reaching their maximum length during the spring mating season.
When asked how pheasants were faring in North Dakota this winter, Beckers replied, “I think they are doing okay. There’s not a ton of snow and they are able to scratch through it and get to that seed still on the ground.”
This photograph was taken southeast of Garrison.
 
 

 

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