By Tom Carpenter
WEATHER AND CONDITIONS
“In eastern Washington, spring and early summer had good conditions for nesting and brood rearing,” reports Sarah Kindschuh, Small Game and Furbearer Specialist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. “But the summer turned hot and dry quickly, which may have limited insect availability for late broods.”
HATCH AND BROODS
“Washington does not currently conduct any pheasant surveys,” says Kindschuh, “but reports from the field indicate that pheasant populations should be stable or slightly increased this year.”
HABITAT AND PROGRAMS
“Western Washington has only small and limited self-sustaining pheasant populations due to the cool, wet conditions and lack of grain farming,” says Kindschuh. “Each year 35,000 – 40,000 pheasants are released throughout western Washington on approximately 25 release sites. “
“In wild pheasant populations in eastern Washington, a long-term decline in harvest has been primarily attributed to habitat loss,” she continues. “To address this, Washington created the Eastern Washington Pheasant Enhancement Fund, which is dedicated to habitat enhancement.” Some rooster pheasants are also released on lands accessible to the public.
For more information about hunting pheasants in Washington, click here
“On the east side, pheasant harvest is consistently highest in Grant and Whitman counties,” says Kindschuh. “In 2017, 2969 hunters harvested 6471 pheasants in Grant county and 1607 hunters harvested 4324 pheasants in Whitman county.”
The heart of Washington pheasant country is in the center of the state. “Chelan, Yakima and Douglas Counties are tops. Farther east of there can be good too – the Ellensburg area in Kittitas County, and Moses Lake area in Grant County, both have good pockets of birds and should [produce this year. In the Southeast, agricultural areas in valleys near the Blue Mountains can be good as well.
Washington has a good public-access-to-private lands program
featuring “Feel Free to Hunt,” “Register to Hunt” and “Hunt by Reservation” Programs.
“Washington also provides a booklet on The Basics of Upland Bird Hunting in Washington, available here
” says Kindschuh. “In addition, hunting prospects are published for each district throughout the state, and are available at wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/prospects/