Labrador retrievers Daisy and Luke show off their quarry, a pair of wild ring-necked pheasant roosters. (Steven Brutger)

Turkey day? Labs Daisy and Luke couldn’t care less.

They and thousands of human and canine hunters statewide associate November with an entirely different upland bird species: The wiley ring-necked pheasant.  

Native to Asia, pheasant were long ago transplanted around the world, including to North America where they’re prized both as game birds and as table fare.

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Considered a gentleman’s pursuit in much of Europe — think tweed, manicured estates and liveried gun handlers — chasing wild roosters in Wyoming is a decidedly scrappier affair. Evasive birds here take full advantage of the rugged landscape and often run dogs and people ragged through greasewood thickets, thorny Russian olive tangles and barbed wire fencing.

It’s not for the faint of heart. But, then again, what of November in Wyoming is?

Matthew Copeland is the chief executive & editor of WyoFile. Contact him at or (307) 287-2839. Follow Matt on Twitter at @WyoCope

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