A ring-necked pheasant takes flight at Goose Lake State Wildlife Area. / Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR
MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wishes hunters luck and safety during the upcoming 2021 pheasant hunting season. The season opens statewide at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16 and runs through Jan. 9, 2022.
Several other seasons also open Oct. 16, including bobwhite quail and Hungarian partridge statewide, and ruffed grouse in Zone B. Like pheasant, the bobwhite quail and Hungarian partridge seasons open at 9 a.m. on the first day of the season. The ruffed grouse season opens with the start of legal shooting hours.
“Pheasant hunting offers a fantastic means to work your hunting dog while also experiencing the unique grassland habitats spread across the southern part of the state,” said Alaina Gerrits, DNR Wildlife Biologist.
Pheasants are one of the most sought-after gamebirds in North America, and populations do best in the agricultural landscape of southern and western Wisconsin, provided there is grassland habitat present in sufficient quantities to meet their food and cover needs throughout the year.
The department continues to prioritize grassland habitat management and creation, especially in the southern half of the state where pheasants were historically abundant.
During the 2020-21 pheasant hunting season, an estimated 42,532 hunters went out in search of pheasants and reported harvesting approximately 272,000 birds.
Hunters are required to purchase a 2021 Wisconsin pheasant stamp to pursue these birds, helping to fund habitat restoration that benefits pheasants and many other wildlife species. With stamp-funded revenue, the DNR creates and maintains the habitat required for pheasants to survive and reproduce year-round.
Pheasant Stocking Program
In addition to wild pheasant hunting opportunities, the DNR wildlife management staff plan to release approximately 75,000 pheasants from the state game farm on more than 88 public properties. The department will expand its Pheasant Holiday Stocking from 8 to 25 state-owned properties to increase opportunities for pheasant hunters and families to safely enjoy a late season pheasant hunt. Barring any weather issues, the department plans to stock these properties over a two-day period during the week of Dec. 20, 2021.
Where To Hunt
The DNR’s free Hunt Wild Wisconsin mobile app includes a map layer showing where pheasants are stocked on public lands. In addition to using it to locate great pheasant hunting opportunities, you can also view the regulations and buy your license.
Hunters can also use FFLIGHT, the DNR’s gamebird mapping web application, to locate and explore properties stocked with pheasants, as well as ruffed grouse and woodcock habitat and managed dove fields. FFLIGHT allows hunters to use aerial maps, topography and measuring tools to easily navigate and identify areas of interest and make their trips more productive and enjoyable.
Land enrolled in the Voluntary Public Access Program (VPA) is open to public hunting this pheasant season. The VPA Program has more than 30,000 acres of private land open to public hunting, fishing and bird watching year-round. Many properties are located within a short driving distance of urban areas and are popular pheasant hunting spots.
Mentored Hunting Program
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, click here.