Game Bird butchery is something I used to dislike, mainly because I was never happy with my tools or the way the birds came out of the oven. I worked out how to stop them being tough by letting them settle for two weeks before processing, and have also learned enough about processing to make processing a pleasure.
The key to making processing birds pleasurable is to have the right tools to start with. For me this means a very sharp knife, some good game shears and a pair of pliers.
The knife itself does not matter as much as getting it really sharp. Some years back a friend who was a knife sharpening fanatic showed me a Spyderco Sharpmaker that he used, and as soon as I got one my knives became very easy to sharpen. Previously I had struggled with a whetstone or a steel and poor technique. With the Sharpmaker technique is not an issue, so my knives are always sharp.
Game Shears make taking off wings and legs and necks very easy. The best game shears I have used are made by Buck. Their Utility Shears deal quickly and effectively with birds. If you want a pair and your local hunting store does not have them give Rivers to Ranges in Hastings a call on 06-878 7177 to order some.
The final piece of equipment for processing pheasants only is a pair of pliers. Pheasants have tendons in their legs that make eating the drumsticks less pleasant than it can be. If you use a pair of pliers to break the leg just above the spur you can then hold on the thigh while pulling the lower leg away from the bird removing the tendons. As the video here shows you do not need to use pliers.