There are pheasants galore in the open farm fields outside RAFs Lakenheath and Mildenhall as well as other parts of the country.

Because of this, the occasional unlucky pheasant can be seen flattened to a heap of feathers stuck to the asphalt on many roads. However, the bird’s misfortune could be your next meal, especially for those thrifty, foraging types.

According to British law, pheasant road kill is fair game as long as you weren’t the driver who flattened the fowl. If you were, it’s illegal for you to fetch the unfortunate critter and take it home.

“If you hit a pheasant on the road and pick it up, it would be considered poaching. However, the person behind you would be an innocent party and could take it home for a roast dinner,” said Morag Walker, spokeswoman for The Game Conservancy Trust, a research charity set on improving the countryside.

Pheasant road kill is a common sight, since the birds like to rummage for food along roadsides, she said.

And there are plenty of the birds around. The reason for the high number of pheasants in the country is that many are artificially stocked for hunting.

“They are stocked by farmers … on a commercial basis for shooting purposes managed by gamekeepers who are employed by landowners,” Walker said. She added that the Romans first imported the birds from the Far East for game-hunting.

It is estimated that up to 30 million pheasants are released for shooting each autumn, according to, The World Pheasant Association Web site.

On the other hand, Walker said that many pheasants seen in the countryside could be wild, not necessarily reared for hunting.

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