Originally from Asia, it was first introduced, unsuccessfully, to North America in New York in 1730 and successfully for the first time in 1882 in Oregon. Now 34 races are found across the U.S., Europe, Australia and New Zealand in grain fields and adjacent brushy areas. The cocks are eagerly hunted and survivors gather up harems of hens. Farming’s modern methods leave little brush, but the federal Conservation Reserve Program has helped, encouraging farmers to set aside fields of natural cover.
Published Oct. 28, 2008, in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Text by Barb Gorges, photo by Pete Arnold.