Contact(s): Mark Witecha, Upland Wildlife Ecologist, 608-267-7861, firstname.lastname@example.org
October 8, 2019
MADISON, Wis. - The fall Wisconsin pheasant hunting season opens statewide at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19, and will run through Jan. 5, 2020.
Several other seasons also open that day, including bobwhite quail, Hungarian partridge and ruffed grouse in Zone B. Like pheasant, the bobwhite quail and Hungarian partridge seasons open at 9 a.m. The ruffed grouse season opens at the start of legal shooting hours.
Hunters should check the Wisconsin Small Game Hunting Regulations [PDF] for rules and season structures for the game species they will pursue.
"Pheasant hunting offers a fantastic means to experience the outdoors, and it complements the other upland bird hunting opportunities in Wisconsin very well," Department of Natural Resources Upland Wildlife Ecologist Mark Wietcha said. "Pheasant hunting offers the chance to explore landscapes and habitat types you might not otherwise see."
Pheasants are one of the most sought-after game birds in North America, and populations do best in the agricultural landscape of southern and western Wisconsin, provided there is habitat present in sufficient quantities to meet their food and cover needs throughout the year, according to Witecha.
In addition to existing wild pheasant hunting opportunities, DNR wildlife management staff plan to release approximately 80,000 pheasants from the state game farm on more than 100 public hunting grounds, slightly more than were released in 2018. Pheasants raised by conservation clubs as part of the Day-old Chick Program will also be released this fall.
The 2019 spring pheasant surveys in Wisconsin show that pheasant abundance is above the five-year average with the highest pheasant detection rate in the northwestern part of the state. The average number of pheasants detected during each stop was up 0.64 pheasants per stop compared to 0.59 pheasants in 2018.
To pursue wild pheasants, hunters should look for areas that contain adequate winter cover, such as cattail marshes and dense brush, intermixed with cropland, hay and idle grasslands that provide food and nesting cover. It will be necessary for hunters to identify areas with high-quality habitat, concentrating their hunting efforts in those areas, according to Witecha. Hunters are reminded to be polite and notify the landowner before hunting on private property open to public hunting as part of the Volunary Public Access program.
During the 2018 pheasant hunting season, an estimated 50,831 hunters went out in search of pheasants and reported harvesting approximately 403,766 birds. The top counties for harvest included Kenosha, Jefferson and Waukesha.
The Mentored Hunting Program allows any hunter, born on or after Jan. 1, 1973, to obtain a hunting license and hunt without first completing Hunter Education, provided they hunt with a mentor and comply with all the requirements under the program. For additional information and the requirements of the program, visit the DNR website and search the keyword "mentored hunting."
Wisconsin's pheasant stamp program uses funds derived from stamp sales to create and maintain the habitat required for pheasants to survive and reproduce year-round. For more information on the pheasant stamp program, go to the DNR website and search keyword "stamps."
A 2019 Pheasant Stamp and a valid small game license are required to hunt pheasants statewide. Anyone can purchase and print a license from home by going online to GoWild.WI.gov or by visiting one of over 1,000 license agents across the state. The DNR's Hunt Wild Wisconsin mobile app also allows hunters to brush up on regulations as well as explore public lands on an interactive map, see up to the minute shooting hours, or even listen to podcasts. For more information and how to download the app, visit the DNR website, search keywords "hunt app."