Big birds don't fly well and would have been easy to catch and eat in less regulated times. These days chickens - well we know about chickens - and pheasants are considered to be perfectly normal things to eat. Peacocks do not fall into this category and they would be absurd to hunt. Their purpose is decorative: if you have a Kew Gardens-style hot house like my neighbours then of course you must have peacocks. They are the lucky ones. Pheasants lend a place a bit of style but every winter day for them is a gamble with a shot gun. If only they didn't fly at all! It is considered unsporting (and un-health and safety) to shoot a pheasant near the ground. So it is picked off in mid-air, after a tremendous amount of squawking and flapping and personal effort. Pheasants seem to prefer running and somebody should tell them - just keep running.