Where to hunt

public access available to pheasant hunters

Great places to hunt pheasants, quail and other wild game exist all across the country, and with a little effort, both in research and exploration, you'll be rewarded for your efforts. Every state has lands open to public hunting, and when combined with federal lands (such as Waterfowl Production Areas), public opportunities abound.

State wildlife management areas, like this Iowa tract, are areas specifically managed for producing upland birds and other wildlife.


Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs)

  • Federally owned and open to public hunting unless marked to the contrary
  • Steel shot only
  • Lands were purchased by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service through Federal Duck Stamp funds, conservation groups, Pheasants Forever's Build a Wildlife Area program, etc.

State-Owned Public Hunting Areas

  • Different states have different names: Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), Game Production Areas (GPAs), etc. Check your state's regulations to find out if there are state-owned public hunting areas
  • Lands purchased by state natural resource agencies, conservation groups like Pheasants Forever, the Build a Wildlife Area program, etc.
Walk-in hunting areas provide public hunting opportunities on private lands thanks to volunteer landowners.

Walk-In Areas

  • These are privately owned acres that state natural resource agencies have paid the landowner to open up to public hunting
  • Walk-in programs do not exist in every state and are called different names in each state. Check your state's regulations to find out if there are public hunting opportunities on private lands in your area

areas with pheasants forever habitat signs

Pheasants Forever members and followers contribute to local habitat projects in many different ways, including funding for seed, food plot equipment, planting of trees, or installation of native grass plantings. Here are some guidelines regarding areas posted with Pheasants Forever habitat signs:

  • Signs are located on both public AND private lands
  • If on a WPA, WMA, GPA, etc., it is open to public hunting
  • If you don't see a WMA or WPA sign, you MUST ask permission—this is private land
  • Private land is where over 90 percent of our pheasant habitat is located, thus our focus on private land is important to the health and sustainability of our pheasant population.
State wildlife areas are prized by upland conservationists for their permanently conserved habitat and public access.

Public land resources

Over 60 percent of land in the United States is privately owned. If you own or have hunting access to private land, you know there are prime hunting opportunities to be had. Not in either of those categories? Don't let that deter you from accessing great public land opportunities throughout the United States!

Seasoned pheasant hunters find that having a mix of public and private hunting opportunities marked on the map is the best recipe for success. For public land access, here are some pointers to help you plan your next day afield:

  • Find state-by-state natural resource agency contacts HERE to help plan your next adventure afield