Pheasant season is the last upland game bird season to open for the fall, and hunters will get more opportunity for stocked birds at nine of Fish and Game's Wildlife Management Areas.
Hunters will get 37 percent more pheasants stocked during fall thanks to the license and tag fee increase. Fish and Game will stock about 21,300 pheasants at WMAs, which compares with 15,500 last year.
WMAs are a great opportunity for people to experience pheasant hunting because they don’t need permission to hunt there, and they can be assured pheasants are on the property. Just remember that it’s still hunting, and that means a hunter might take home a limit of birds, or might get skunked.
Hunters should beware of special rules pertaining to WMAs where pheasants are stocked.
• Pheasant hunting is not not allowed until 10 a.m.
• All upland game hunters are required to wear visible hunter orange of at least 36 square inches above the waist during pheasant season when hunting on WMAs where pheasants are stocked. A hunter orange hat meets this requirement.
• Pheasant hunters are required to purchase a Wildlife Management Area Pheasant Permit if they intend to hunt on WMAs where pheasants are stocked.
• Hunters must validate their permit in writing, immediately upon harvest. That means in the field, not when you get back to your vehicle.
• The daily bag limit is two cocks, and the possession limit is six on WMAs.
• Each WMA permit is valid for six cocks, and additional permits may be purchased.
Here's more about pheasant stocking, including a statewide map of WMAs. Fish and Game, in partnership with local organizations, will also be stocking an Access Yes property near the Palouse River in the Clearwater Region to provide a special opportunity for youth hunters. Here's more information about this pilot program.
Pheasants will be stocked at WMAs throughout the week with an emphasis on ensuring birds are available during weekends when demand is highest. Hunters should expect WMAs to be busy, especially for the opener.
Tyler Archibald, manager of the Fort Boise WMA near Parma, recommends that hunters give each other ample space and always know what’s beyond them in the direction they’re shooting.
Pheasant hunters should also avoid disrupting others, such as waterfowl hunters, especially in the morning hours when most waterfowl hunting takes place. Pheasant hunters can hike to their hunting spots before 10 a.m. to disperse throughout the WMA, but they must keep their hunting dogs on a leash or under control so they’re not flushing birds prior to the starting time.
Hunters should park in designated areas whenever possible, but if they park elsewhere, make sure they’re completely off the road so they don’t block traffic. They should also park where they won’t damage vegetation.
Hunters should know that pheasants will escape the WMAs onto adjoining lands, and much of it is private. Unless they have permission, hunters can not trespass in pursuit of birds.
Finally, pheasant stocking can be delayed by heavy rains, which can prevent birds from flying, so stocking will not take place during a storm. Those birds will be stocked later when conditions allow.