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Pheasant hunting and management

Male pheasant in flight

Pheasant hunting has long been a Wisconsin tradition. The ring-necked pheasant was introduced as a game bird to Wisconsin as early as the late 1800s. Ideal habitat conditions allowed the population to flourish and expand rapidly. In the 1940s, the pheasant population declined due to limited habitat availability, modern agricultural practices and urbanization. Today's pheasant population is most common in the west-central and southeastern regions of the state.


In the spring of 2022, a strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) was detected in numerous domestic and wild birds throughout Wisconsin. It is expected that the virus will continue to circulate in wild bird populations this year. In general, upland birds such as pheasants have behaviors and prefer habitats that make them less likely to encounter avian influenza viruses in the wild.

Hunters should never harvest wild birds that appear sick. If you observe a sick pheasant, contact the DNR's Wildlife Switchboard by emailing or leaving a voicemail for a return phone call at 608-267-0866.

This strain of HPAI does not pose a food safety risk. However, hunters should always ensure the proper handling of game meat. Harvested birds should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F.

Additional recommendations for hunters are on the USDA website. Visit the DNR's wildlife diseases page for more information on avian influenza and other diseases affecting wildlife health.

Season dates


Where to hunt

Find properties stocked with pheasants

Find properties open to public hunting.

  • Voluntary Public Access program
    • Through this program, hundreds of landowners have opened their land to the public for hunting, fishing, trapping and wildlife viewing. Over 30,000 acres of private land are accessible to the public and can be found using the VPA interactive map.
  • Public land access
    • From hunting and fishing to camping and hiking, use this resource to find everything you need to enjoy the outdoors.

Pheasant management

Pheasant stamp

All hunters who want to pursue pheasants must purchase a pheasant stamp. The funds generated from your pheasant stamp purchase go directly to habitat management for the ringed-necked pheasant in Wisconsin. Since 1992, over $10.6 million in pheasant stamp dollars and $7.9 million in partner dollars have been used to preserve, restore and manage thousands of acres of nesting and winter habitat throughout the state.

Population surveys

Each year, surveys are conducted to assess Wisconsin's wild pheasant population. Pheasant survey reports include:

  • Spring Pheasant Survey
  • Rural Mail Carrier Pheasant Survey Reports
  • Preliminary Ten-Week Brood Observations
  • Game Brood Survey

State Game Farm

pheasant stocking


The State Game Farm and the pheasant stocking program provide quality pheasant hunting opportunities on public and private lands, promote safe and ethical behavior in the field and cooperate with conservation groups dedicated to promoting pheasant hunting in the state. Learn more about the State Game Farm.

Pheasant Advisory Committee

The Pheasant Advisory Committee, a diverse group representing government agencies, non-governmental organizations, tribal interests and conservation groups, meets to discuss issues relating to pheasant management and the pheasant stamp program.

The Pheasant Advisory Committee reviews and makes recommendations on managing ring-necked pheasants in Wisconsin. The Committee advises the Wildlife Policy Team on various topics such as hunting regulations, surveys, research priorities, and put-and-take stocking efforts.

Committee meeting information