World's Largest Pheasant
The World's Largest Pheasant is located on Highway 14 in Huron. This 28 foot, 22 ton pheasant made of fiberglass and steel has affirmed Huron as a premier pheasant hunting location since 1959. From its beak to the tip of its feathered tail, this giant bird spans over 40 feet. Make sure you get a chance to take your picture with the World's Largest Pheasant while in Huron! View other "World's Largest"
The Tale of the Largest Pheasant
The tale of the World's Largest Pheasant goes back to the days when the first settlers came to the Dakota Territory in the early 1880s. Stories of a giant pheasant spread throughout the land. Legend has it, his footprints in the spring would form creeks and river valleys in the soft wet ground. In flight his feathers were so intense that some would mistake it for a rainbow, as it crossed the prairie sky. But most impressive was the bird's incredible speed both on the ground and in the air. Some settlers swore the volatile winds of the Dakota Prairie were caused by the "World's Largest Pheasant" running across the grassland. As the numbers of stories increased, so did the number of hunters sworn to harvest the great bird or at least catch a glimpse of him. Large hunting parties were formed to stake claim to this elusive bird, but none succeeded. While no true accounts of any sightings were ever recorded, many people laid claim to the fact that they came face-to-face with the majestic bird. And so the story goes.
One day a small boy from Huron was out hunting with his father to find food for their family. The boy wandered up the riverbank to the top of the hill where the giant rooster was feeding. He could not believe that he was looking upon the legendary ringneck. The boy slowly walked up behind the rooster and raised his gun. Before he could pull the trigger, the magnificent bird's beauty over-whelmed him.Feeling the boy's presence, the giant ringneck whirled around with his huge wingspan and startled the boy.
"Why did you not kill me little man?"
"I spared your life because I think you are a magnificent bird and your beauty should be shared with everyone."
The pheasant thought for a moment and looked at the boy with a smile and said, "Little man, I have lived a long life here on these prairie grasslands, and I guess now is the time to rest and stop running from all of you. If you spare my life I will not move from this perch until every person in the world has seen my family of pheasants and me. And to honor me and my family, I ask that you give me your solemn word that you will only hunt rooster pheasants and not hens and only during the fall harvest and winter months."
So the boy agreed to the deal because he felt that the huge pheasant and his family deserved the recognition to commemorate safe and successful hunting seasons to come. The majestic bird thanked the boy for sparing his life and said, "As a final reward, I will grant you and Huron the ability to forecast the success of the upcoming hunting seasons. Prior to each hunting season, you must release a single ringneck rooster. If he flies towards the James River, it will be a bountiful early season; if he flies away from the river, the late season will be most plentiful."
And so, each year prior to the pheasant opener, the people of Huron and the surrounding countryside gather to release a descendant of the mighty bird, under the perch he's held all of these years, just as he promised.