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Western Washington Pheasant Release Program
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Western Washington Pheasant Release Program

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The major goal of the pheasant program in western Washington is to provide an upland bird hunting opportunity. The program also encourages participation from young and older-aged hunters.

The cool, wet climate of western Washington combined with the lack of grain farming limits naturally sustained pheasant populations. Each year 30,000 to 40,000 pheasants are released on about 25 release sites.

Most release sites remain the same from one year to the next. Maps to those sites are enclosed. Information and maps for new or relocated sites are available at regional offices listed.

Hunting Seasons and Regulations

To protect other wildlife species including waterfowl and raptors, nontoxic shot is required for all upland bird hunting on all pheasant release sites statewide.

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 do not release birds throughout the season due to flooding or other conflicts.

A western Washington pheasant license is required to hunt pheasants in western Washington. A small game license and western Washington punch card are not required to participate.  The western Washington pheasant permit costs $90.00 for adults and $42.00 for youth (under 16). The bag limit is two pheasants of either sex per day. A three-day permit is also offered for $42.00 for residents.

Generally, most 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 Zones 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:

  1. Don't trail or otherwise position yourself to take advantage of other hunters, you may end up in their line of fire!
  2. Racing out ahead of other hunters to beat them to birds is unethical and dangerous. Please respect others and allow time and space.
  3. 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.