- Wildlife Research and Management
- Wildlife Research and Management -- Game Management and Conservation
Published: December 1, 2022
Pheasant harvest has declined in Eastern Washington during most of the past two decades. To address hunting success rates and pheasant habitat loss, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) created the Eastern Washington Pheasant Enhancement Program (EWPEP). The EWPEP completes habitat enhancement to benefit wild pheasant populations and targets the harvest decline by releasing adult rooster pheasants on public lands. In recent years, the decline in harvest had slowed, with increases recorded in three of the last five years, until a drop in 2021. Increased hunter participation during the pandemic in 2020 did not hold for 2021. Efforts to improve habitat (nesting and brood rearing) and recruit interest in pheasants will continue.
The Washington State Legislature funded the EWPEP in 1997 with a dedicated account called the Eastern Washington Pheasant Enhancement account. The funding is derived from a portion of small game hunting licenses, based on the proportion of purchasers who hunt pheasants in eastern Washington. WDFW receives this information through an annual survey.
To fulfill requirements of RCW 77.12.820: Eastern Washington pheasant enhancement account
The eastern Washington pheasant enhancement account is created in the custody of the state treasurer. All receipts under RCW 77.12.810 must be deposited in the account. Moneys in the account are subject to legislative appropriation and shall be used for the purpose of funding the eastern Washington pheasant enhancement program. The department may use moneys from the account to improve pheasant habitat or to purchase or produce pheasants. The department must continue to release rooster pheasants in eastern Washington. The eastern Washington pheasant enhancement account funds must not be used for the purchase of land. The account may be used to offer grants to improve pheasant habitat on public or private lands that are open to public hunting. The department may enter partnerships with private landowners, nonprofit corporations, cooperative groups, and federal or state agencies for the purposes of pheasant habitat enhancement in areas that will be available for public hunting. The department shall submit an annual report to the appropriate committees of the legislature by December 1st regarding the department's eastern Washington pheasant activities.
Dedicated fund revenue for the Eastern Washington Pheasant Enhancement account for calendar year 2021: $349,693.87