A common sight even among the urban prairies of Detroit, wild pheasants are not native to Michigan. The colorful birds were imported from China throughout the United States at various times during the past 200 years, favored for food and sport.
In Michigan, populations dropped in the second half of the 20th century. But for the past 30 years, Thundering Aspens Sportsman Club has worked to bring the pheasant back. The private club boasts one of the largest concentrations of wild pheasants in northern Michigan, raising and releasing some 10,000 birds on its 800 acres annually.
Along with his two brothers, Jason Wright inherited the club from his father. They hope to introduce the sport to a new generation of hunters. “They’re excellent table fare. They would serve this meat to kings,” he says. And the taste? “It’s a little better than chicken.”