The purpose of the pheasant program in western Washington is to provide upland bird hunting opportunity. This program encourages participation from new, young and seasoned hunters.
Naturally sustained pheasant populations are limited in western Washington due to the cool wet climate and the lack of grain farming limits. Each year 35,000 to 40,000 pheasants are released on approximately 25 release sites.
The majority of release sites remain the same from one year to the next. Maps to current sites are enclosed. Information and maps for new or relocated sites are available at regional offices listed.
The general western Washington hunting season lasts from late September to November 30 each year (see hunting pamphlet for details). Hunting is allowed from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. each day. Some areas may not release birds throughout the season due to flooding or other conflicts.
To protect other wildlife species including waterfowl and raptors, nontoxic shot is required for all upland bird, dove and band-tailed pigeon hunting on all pheasant release sites statewide.
A western Washington pheasant license is required to hunt pheasants in western Washington. A small game license is not required to participate. The western Washington pheasant license costs $84.50 for adults and $40.50 for youth (under 16). The bag limit is two pheasants of either sex per day. A three-day permit is also offered for $40.50 for residents.
Generally, release sites have established parking areas or access points. These areas are open to all users. Any restrictions associated with use of the release sites other than those noted in the hunting pamphlet, will be posted at the access points.
There are several safety issues that hunters should be aware of while hunting on release sites. The sites are usually fairly crowded and often relatively close to houses or other types of recreation. Hunter orange must be worn by hunters using release sites. Be aware of Safety Zone signs and stay away from areas posted as such. Other instructions and information will be posted at release sites.
While it is always important to be courteous to other hunters, it is especially important while hunting crowded release sites. A few courtesy rules include:
- Don't trail or otherwise position yourself to take advantage of other hunters, you may end up in their line of fire!
- Racing out ahead of other hunters to beat them to birds is unethical and dangerous. Please respect others and allow time and space.
- If you see other hunters that may not be familiar with hunting the release site, invite them to join your group. This is especially important for young hunters and those without dogs. By promoting safe, ethical hunting you help ensure the continuation of recreation for yourself and for future generations.