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While hunting at a state Wildlife Management Area last week, my hunting partner and I came across a decapitated ring-neck on the ground, totally intact except for the head. We wondered why would anyone kill a pheasant for just the head? Later, back at the club, an old-timer said that it was an owl that had most likely killed the ring-neck and taken its head. Has anyone else ever heard of this and can explain it?

LA
 

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It's an anti-gun Obama voter.
 

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It porbably was traveling pretty fast and clipped a highline or telephonie wire. We see this happen occasionally.

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The old timer had it right. I have seen it happen. I have a flock of Guenia Hens to control the ticks. A great horned owl when in the neighborhood will come in the middle of the night and perform this evil deed. HMB
 

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I've seen the same thing at least a dozen times in Mass. Definetaly the owls. There is something in the brain that the owl's crave. Seen plenty killed by coyote's but all that's left is scattered around feather's, wing's and feet when the coyote's get them.

Thank's Mike
 

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Owls for sure . My thought is that the owl can`t carry anything heavy and the head can be separated from the body very easily and taken away to be eatten . We`ve had meny killed this way when I ran a Semi-wild and every Saturday morning , at least 2 pheasants would be killed by owls . Fox would take care of the rest .
 

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ljutic 111 - So owls don't eat their kill on the ground? I never saw ann owl in action, but I've seen hawks do their predator thing, inluding grabbing a few pheasants. After the hawk dispatched the pheasant, he "walked" it over to a spot with more room, and commenced dinner on the spot.

So if Owls only do take-out, it would seem a pheasant would be too much to carry.
 

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when bald eagles head south for the winter do they kill pheasants. i have seen them fish many times here in s e iowa . a friend who is an avid goose hunter has seen them knock a canadian out of the air & then kill them on the ground. eagles have been known to snatch very small pigs out of the barnyard around here. dwain
 
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dbc',

I don't about those eagles heading south for the winter, but I've sure seen a lot of them around the locks by Muskateen when it gets cold.

ec90t
 

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We raise pheasants and chukar for dog training. Owls, hawks, coon, and possum will all take the heads. Birds of prey will pull off breast meat if they have time. Chukar are small enough for them to carry away. It's fairly common.
 

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A great horned owl doesn't have any touble carrying his prey away. With a six foot wing span he is a silent killer in the woods. His tallons are like razor blades. HMB
 

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having raised pheasants in N.E. Iowa & finding an occasional dead one minus it's head, i finally discovered that it was weasels, or ferrets, or mink (ermine).
also they usually had all their blood sucked out, characteristic of the weasel family.. don't know about those in the wild as all of ours were pen raised and found next to wire fence body still inside no head, probably stuck their heads through the fence to pick sand or seeds, bad mistake!!!
Ross
 

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The Great Snowy Owl is the only bird in America to have confirmed a human kill. The person that died was a Game warden in Minnesota and was on a watch stake out on a poacher and going thru the timber. The owl crushed his head. The authorities think his "comb over " haircut had a single curl of hair that was moved by the wind and the owl thought it could have been a mouse. Who know what the owl actually thought. His talons and feet power crushed the mans head and he died instantly. I have never had any hunter tell me of finding a pheasant or prairie hen without it's head but the premise of the owl liking the head is something that is most likely true. Keep your hats' on in the winter time:) I have seen one of those great snowy white owls fairly close and their wingspans are huge. I don't think you would want one of them to try to grab your head. Dan
 

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When we use to duck hunt a lot, we would dump the carcasses in the woods after butchering. After cleaning a few birds the next day, I went back to woods and there were duck parts spread out among the tree tops. We have quite a few Red tailed hawks, so I assume they took the parts up with them.
 

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I saw a pheasant a few years back that was missing its head.

This was shortly after it had flushed about 10 yards from me and was trying to fly over me.

The head was removed by a 16 gauge shotgun blast at about 15 feet.

There were no pellets in the rest of the body.
 

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I had to relay the following story.

A few years back a friend and I went on a first light coyote patrolof the neighborhood. It had snowed the night before so conditions were perfect. An hour later we were just pulling back into the yard when we saw a dead wild turkey. The turkey was graveyard dead right in the middle of this 1/4 acre patch of ground that was freshly covered in snow. There were NO tracks going to or from the bird or no sign of struggle. We sat there and studied the scene for 5 minutes figured all of the possibilties. When we finally got out to inspect the bird we saw its head was missing....just the head. Then we saw the other marks in the snow....wing feather tracks. The kind a bird makes when they take flight from the ground. Mystery solved. My father in-law has actually seen an owl peel a turkey out of the air only to eat just the head.

Darryl Howard
 
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