Ring-necked pheasants are related to quail, grouse, turkeys and domestic barnyard chickens. These natives of Asia first arrived in the U.S. in 1882 when Judge Owen Denny, then counsel-general at Shanghai, had several shipped to his brother's farm in Oregon.

The imported ring-neck made its debut in Minnesota in 1905 when the Game and Fish Department received 70 pairs from Wisconsin and Illinois. The first state hunting season was in 1924 in Hennepin and Carver Counties when an estimated 300 roosters were killed. Only seven years after the first season, 49 counties were opened to hunting and more than 1 million roosters were taken. Ring-necked pheasants filled a niche which had previously been filled by the prairie chicken.

In Minnesota, ring-necked pheasants are known to feast on 515 different kinds of food. One of their favorites is corn.