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Eastside pheasant hunting season has changes
by Dave Ware, Upland Game Program Manager

There are several changes in store for eastern Washington pheasant hunters this fall.

The most significant is that this year will be the first in a long time that the opening day for pheasant hunting is different from the opening day for deer hunting. Eastside pheasant hunting opens on October 10, while the general deer opener is October 17.

Why make the change? The number of pheasant hunters declined from 109,000 in 1981 to 52,000 in 1997. In August of 1996 deer and elk hunters were asked why they quit hunting pheasants. Many of them said they would hunt pheasants if the season opened on a different day than the deer season. This change should provide additional opportunity for those hunters who had to choose between the two seasons in the past.

The starting time for hunters on opening day has also changed.

Pheasant hunters have had to wait until 12:00 noon in the past, but this year they can start at 6:25 a.m. When the waterfowl hunting season was moved up in 1997, the starting time was moved to the standard one half hour before sunrise. Several hunters asked about changing the upland bird opening time as well. Other than the fact that it was traditional since the mid-60's, no one could think of a good reason for the noon opening time.

Another change to keep in mind in eastern Washington is that rooster pheasants will be released on public lands periodically through the season.

This program started last year with the new Pheasant Enhancement Stamp. The stamp costs $10 for everyone hunting pheasants in eastern Washington. The funds are dedicated for pheasant management with most of the money paying for the release of roosters. Information and maps of the lands where roosters will be released are available at WDFW eastside regional offices.

Pheasant release dates are not provided because of safety concerns when hunters are concentrated, delivery schedules subject to change, and concerns about maintaining high hunter ethics.

Nearly 9,000 roosters were released in 1997. The 1998 plan calls for releasing 18,000 roosters. The birds will be released for the youth hunt in late September (see the Waterfowl and Upland Bird Hunting pamphlet for more information) and periodically during the first eight weeks of the hunting season.

Roosters will not be released on opening day (Oct. 10) because there should be plenty of wild birds, and maybe carryovers from the youth hunt, available.

Keep these changes in mind and the pheasant season should be a productive one again this year. Statewide pheasant harvest was up nearly 40% last year over the previous five year average.

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ty dangerfield
# ty dangerfield
Tuesday, March 16, 2010 11:53 PM
i am looking for all the rules and regulations i need to fallow to open my own gunclub/dog training. i plan to raise Pheasants, Chuckars, Huns, and Quail. I have 1200 acres of wheat fields and some mountain range. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time TY

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