With spring turkey season less than three months away and the controlled hunt application period for spring turkey beginning on Feb. 1, turkey hunters have already been asking if they are required to purchase an Upland Game Bird Permit (formerly known as the “WMA Permit”).
The simple answer is “no”. In fact, an Upland Game Bird Permit is NOT required for most upland game bird species. And, that is where it gets confusing for license vendors and hunters… because the name of the permit would seem to indicate otherwise.
Here are some quick points to clarify when the purchase of an Upland Game Bird Permit is necessary.
- An Upland Game Bird Permit is ONLY required of hunters 18 years old or older when hunting pheasants in any areas where pheasants are stocked by Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
- Why the change in name from “WMA Permit” to “Upland Game Bird Permit?” Not all Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) are stocked with pheasants, and in some areas of Idaho, there are private or federally managed properties where Fish and Game stocks pheasants in agreement with landowners who grant public access for hunting. Because of the inclusion of these properties, the name of the former “WMA Permit” was changed to the “Upland Game Bird Permit.”
- If you are hunting turkeys, grouse, or other upland game bird species (other than pheasant as outlined below) on a WMA or other property, you DO NOT need an Upland Game Permit.
- If you are hunting wild pheasants on properties where pheasant stocking occurs, you DO need an Upland Game Bird Permit, and you must validate your permit for any pheasant (wild or stocked) you harvest. However, if you are hunting wild pheasants on a property where pheasant stocking does NOT occur, you DO NOT need an Upland Game Bird Permit.
- What if you are hunting pheasants on a licensed shooting preserve where pheasants are privately stocked by an owner/operator who is selling the opportunity to hunt on that property? An Upland Game Bird Permit is NOT required, but you do need to have a valid Idaho hunting license or a Shooting Preserve Hunting License (for nonresidents that are only going to be hunting on a private shooting preserve).
As you prepare for your spring turkey hunting fun, remember to buy your hunting license and turkey tags, review the seasons and rules for the areas you wish to hunt, and don’t forget that the turkey controlled hunt application period begins Feb. 1. But what you don’t need to do is buy an Upland Game Bird Permit—save that purchase for when you hunt stocked pheasants in the fall.
For more information about Upland Game Bird Permits, you can call your nearest Regional Fish and Game office or visit https://idfg.idaho.gov/hunt/pheasant/stocking/permit.