Pheasant Hunting: 2016 Special Youth Season Dates

2eb2812e-2441-4183-9292-a2b1417c6e27 Every year, several states offer youth the opportunity to head afield and practice their wing-shooting skills ahead of adult pheasant hunters. During these days, a new chapter is penned as young hunters embark upon an adventure that may very well turn into a lifelong passion. Under the supervision of a licensed adult, youth have the chance to work alongside hunters their own age and form new friendships. Access to fresh terrain, without the opening day crowds, results in a more intimate experience—with family and friends, a canine companion perhaps and, of course, nature itself.   
 

Idaho

Youth Season: Oct. 1 through Oct. 7 (regular season begins on Oct. 8)
 
Eligibility: All licensed hunters 15 years of age or younger. Must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older. One adult may accompany more than one youth hunter.
 
Daily / Possession Limit: 3 / 9 cocks (In nine different Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) in southern Idaho, where pheasants are stocked, the daily limit is 2 with a possession limit of 6. Check regulations for further details per counties, shooting hours and seasons.)
 

Iowa

Youth Season: Oct. 22 through Oct. 23 (regular season begins on Oct. 29)
 
Eligibility: Resident hunters ages 15 or younger may hunt without having a Hunting License, paying the Habitat Fee, or passing a hunter education course. Must be accompanied by an adult 18 years old or older who has a valid Hunting License and has paid the Habitat Fee if normally required to do so to hunt. Only the youth may shoot pheasants. The adult may shoot other game if seasons are open. All other regulations in effect for the regular pheasant season apply during the youth hunt.
 
Daily / Possession Limit: 1 / 2 cocks (The daily / possession limit increases to 3 / 12 once the regular season begins.)
 

Kansas

Youth Season: Nov. 5 through Nov. 6 (regular season begins on Nov. 12)
 
Eligibility: Youth ages 16 and younger may hunt under the supervision of a licensed adult 18 or older. The supervising adult may NOT hunt.
 
Daily / Possession Limit: 2 / 8 cocks (The daily / possession limit increases to 4 / 16 once the regular season begins.)
 

Missouri

Youth Season: Oct. 29 through Oct. 30 (regular season begins on Nov. 1)
 
Eligibility: Open to youth ages 6 through 15. Youth who are not hunter-education certified must hunt in the immediate presence of a properly licensed adult; however, the adult may not hunt pheasants.
 
Daily / Possession Limit: 2 / 4 cocks
 

Montana

Youth Season: Sept. 24 through Sept. 25 (regular season begins on Oct. 8)
 
Eligibility: Open to licensed youth ages 12 through 15. Only properly licensed youth who will reach 12 years of age by January 16, 2017 and have successfully passed hunter education may participate in this hunt. A non-hunting adult at least 18 years of age must accompany the young hunters in the field. All regulations apply.
 
Daily / Possession Limit: 3 / 9 cocks
 

Nebraska

Youth Season: Oct. 22 through Oct. 23 (regular season begins on Oct. 29)
 
Eligibility: All hunters 15 years and younger. Resident youth do not need a permit, but nonresident youths must have a nonresident youth hunt permit and habitat stamp. Birds taken during youth season do not count against the youth’s possession limit during the general hunting seasons.
 
Daily / Possession Limit: 2 / 4 cocks for youth. One cock for eligible adults in select wildlife management areas—check regulations. (The daily / possession limit increases to 3 / 12 once the regular season begins.)  


New Jersey

Youth Season: Nov. 5, “Youth Upland Bird Day,” 8 a.m. to sunset in selected WMAs (regular season begins on Nov. 6)
 
Eligibility: Pre-registration—forms accepted Sept. 6 through Oct. 17—is required for guided hunts (see regulations). Youth hunters between the ages of 10 and 15 who do not pre-register for a guided hunt can hunt during special hours on any one of 10 stocked WMAs. Licensed youth hunters at least 10 years of age accompanied by a licensed, non-shooting adult at least 21 years old and carrying a valid firearm or bow and arrow license corresponding to the season hunted. Youth hunter status continues until Dec. 31 of the year in which a youth turns 16. Youth licenses are issued free to youth ages 10 to 15 upon completion of a hunter or trapper education course.
 
Daily Limit: 2 pheasants. No daily bag limits for pheasants on semi-wild properties. Check regulations for further details.
 

New York

Youth Season: Western New York, Oct. 8-9 (regular season begins Oct. 15); northern and eastern New York, Sept. 24-25 (regular season begins Oct. 1); Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk counties), Oct. 29-30 (regular season begins Nov. 1). 
 
Eligibility: Licensed youth hunters ages 12 through 15 accompanied by a licensed adult hunter. Only junior hunters may possess a firearm or harvest birds during the Youth Pheasant Hunt.
 
Daily / Possession Limit: Western New York, 2 cocks and/or hens / NA (check regulations for specifics); northern and eastern New York, 2 cocks and hens / NA; Long Island, 2 cocks and/or hens / NA (Check regulations for specifics.)
 

North Dakota

Youth Season: Oct. 1 through Oct. 2 (regular season begins on Oct. 8, except in delayed opener area. See regulations.)
 
Eligibility: Licensed residents and nonresidents ages 15 and younger accompanied by an adult at least 18 years of age. Adult may not carry a firearm nor hunt any species of wildlife.
 
Daily / Possession Limit: 3 / 12 cocks (same as regular season)
 

Ohio

Youth Season: Oct. 22 through Oct. 23, and Oct. 29 through Oct. 30 (regular season begins on Nov. 4)
 
Eligibility: Licensed hunters ages 17 and younger accompanied by a non-hunting adult at least 18 years of age. No more than two youths per adult.
 
Daily / Possession Limit: 2 cocks / NA (same as regular season)
 

Oregon

Youth Season: Fern Ridge WA, Sept. 10-11; Denman, Ladd Marsh, White River, Klamath and Sauvie Island WAs, and Central Oregon (near Prineville) and John Day, Sept. 17-18; Baker City, E.E. Wilson and Irrigon WAs, Sept. 24-25 (regular season begins statewide on Oct. 8)
 
Eligibility: Licensed hunters ages 17 and younger accompanied by a non-hunting adult at least 21 years of age. All participants must attend a safety briefing.
 
Daily / Possession Limit: 2 / 8 cocks (same as regular season)
 

Pennsylvania

Youth Season: Oct. 8 through Oct. 15 (regular season begins Oct. 22)
 
Eligibility: Junior hunters ages 12 through 16 who have successfully completed a basic Hunter-Trapper Education course. Hunting licenses not required, but youth must wear necessary amount of hunter orange and be accompanied by an adult.
 
Daily / Possession Limit: 2 / 6 (Cocks only in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 2A, 2C, 4C, 4E, 5A and 5B. Cocks and hens may be taken in WMUs 1A, 1B, 2B, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4D, 5C & 5D. There is no open season for the taking of pheasants in any Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas in any WMU.)
 

South Dakota

Youth Season: Oct. 1 through Oct. 5 (regular season begins Oct. 15)
 
Eligibility: Resident and nonresident hunters ages 12 (must turn 12 by Dec. 31) through 17 must possess a valid Hunt SAFE certificate and small game license. Resident youth ages 10 to 15 who are participating in a Mentored Hunt may also hunt. Must be accompanied by an unarmed adult. South Dakota advises all youth to wear at least one exterior garment of hunter orange.
 
Daily / Possession Limit: 3 / 15 cocks (same as regular season)
 

Utah

Youth Season: Oct. 15 through Oct. 17 (regular season begins Nov. 5)
 
Eligibility: Hunters ages 17 or younger on July 31, 2016 and have passed hunter safety and possess an upland game hunting license, or those participating in the Trial Hunting Program. Under the age of 16, hunter must be accompanied by an adult 21 years of age or older who has been approved by the youth’s parent or legal guardian.  
 
Daily / Possession Limit: 2 / 6 cocks (same as regular season)
 

Washington

Youth Season: Sept. 17 through Sept. 18 (regular season begins Sept. 24 in western Washington, Oct. 22 in eastern Washington)
 
Eligibility: Licensed hunters ages 16 and under. Must be accompanied by an adult at least 18 years old who is not hunting.  
 
Daily / Possession Limit: 2 / 4 either sex in western Washington (possession limit increases to 15 in regular season); 3 / 6 cocks in eastern Washington (possession limit increases to 15 in regular season)
 

Wyoming

Youth Season: Nov. 19 in Area 1, 2 and 5; Oct. 22 and Oct. 30 in Area 8; Nov. 6, 13, 20 and 27 in Area 9. Check regulations to see if special permits are required for these areas.
 
Eligibility: Licensed hunters age 17 or under. Youth under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult. No adults shall take any pheasant during the youth only hunt day, as it falls during the regular season, which begins Nov. 5, in these areas. 
 
Daily / Possession Limit: 3 / 9 cocks in Area 1; 2 / 6 any pheasant in Area 2; 3 / 9 cocks in Area 5 (any pheasant in limited area—see regulations); 3 / 9 any pheasant in Areas 8 and 9
 
 
Written by Jack Hennessy. Jack is the author of the blog “Braising the Wild.” Follow him on Twitter @WildGameJack or on Facebook at Facebook.com/BraisingtheWild.
 
Photo Credit: Pheasants Forever