Pheasant hunting and management
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 began to decline 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.
INFORMATION ON PHEASANTS AND HPAI
Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has been detected in Wisconsin in domestic poultry and some species of waterfowl and raptors. 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 pheasant that appears sick, contact the DNR's Wildlife Hotline by emailing DNRWildlifeSwitchboard@wisconsin.gov or by 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.
Where to hunt
Find properties stocked with pheasants
- Fields & Forest Lands Interactive Gamebird Hunting Tool (FFLIGHT):
- Use this interactive mapping tool to locate properties stocked with pheasants, managed dove fields and suitable ruffed grouse or woodcock habitats. FFLIGHT also allows users to generate aerial, topographic and landcover maps to use while hunting.
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.
- Hunt Wild Wisconsin
- Use the new DNR mobile app to explore public lands, brush up on hunting regulations, listen to podcasts and see up-to-the-minute shooting hours.
- Public land access
- From hunting and fishing to camping and hiking, use this resource to find everything you need to enjoy the outdoors.
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, along with $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.
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
State Game Farm
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 the management of ring-necked pheasants in Wisconsin. The Committee advises the Wildlife Policy Team on a variety of topics such as hunting regulations, surveys, research priorities and put-and-take stocking efforts.
Committee meeting information
- Nov. 30, 2022 pheasant advisory committee meeting minutes [PDF]
- Dec. 14, 2021 pheasant advisory committee meeting minutes [PDF]
- Feb. 22, 2021 pheasant advisory committee meeting minutes [PDF]
- Dec. 3, 2020 pheasant advisory committee meeting minutes [PDF]
- May 28, 2019 pheasant advisory committee meeting minutes [PDF]