Pheasant Forecast 2010

Overview ****Pheasants Forever has been researching state by state to predict conditions for the upcoming pheasant season. Here's what they found. Pheasant numbers appear to be holding steady in the Dakotas, Kansas, Minnesota and Nebraska, the heart of the Heartland's pheasant range. Also holding steady are Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres. The recently completed general CRP signup will likely keep the program at or near 32 million acres nationwide, much of it vital ringneck habitat. Also, the federal "Open Fields" initiative is off the ground, which will help states launch or enhance public hunting access programs tied to wildlife habitat improvement. In contrast to a respectable outlook across last year's top five pheasant producing states are the bleak prospects for the longtime pheasant stronghold of Iowa (read the Iowa entry for full details). Across the rest of the U.S. pheasant range, prospects are murkier, with a snowy winter and wet springs hurting pheasant production in many areas. Still, pockets of habitat and birds to be chased exist. After all, any day spent pheasant hunting is a day well spent.
California: Stick to the rivers and valleys Forecast: In what's become typical, the Sacramento Valley, San Joaquin Valley and the Sacramento River/San Joaquin River delta area remain the talked about pheasant hunting destinations in California. An uptick in rainfall this spring appears to have boosted production for a host of The Golden State's myriad upland species, including pheasants. Season Dates: November 13 through December 26, 2010 Daily Bag Limit: 2 for first weekend of season, 3 for remainder of season Possession Limit: Twice daily bag limit Field Notes: In addition to ringnecks, California's diverse upland platter includes chukar, sage grouse, sooty grouse, ruffed grouse, white-tailed ptarmigan, California (valley) quail, mountain quail, and Gambel's (desert) quail.
Colorado: Good to excellent Forecast: Pheasant crow counts on Colorado's Eastern Plains this spring were up over last year by 27 percent, the highest they've been since 1982. Pheasant hunting should be good across the region, bordering on excellent in some locations, according to Ed Gorman, small game manager with the Colorado Division of Wildlife. Top counties for ringnecks will be Phillips, Yuma, Kit and Carson, though hunters would be wise not to overlook Sedgwick county and the southeast corner of Baca County. This year, Colorado is making its Walk-In-Access Program free to small-game license holders. The popular program provides access to more than 220,000 acres of private land for pheasant and other small game hunters. The Colorado Division of Wildlife and local Pheasants Forever chapters have been working since 1992 on the cooperative Pheasant Habitat Improvement Program. The program assists landowners in developing and enhancing habitat for ring-necked pheasants, and has also helped increase opportunities for enrollment in the Walk-In-Access Program Season Dates: November 13 through January 31, 2011 Daily Bag Limit: 3 Possession Limit: 9 Field Notes: Colorado's 2010 Small Game Hunting brochure has a fresh new design that simplifies the rules and regulations and includes a free DVD titled, "Pheasant Hunting Colorado."
Idaho Forecast: Please check back soon for the full Idaho Pheasant Hunting Forecast. Season Dates: Varies, consult regs Daily Bag Limit: 3 Possession Limit: 6 Field Notes: Pheasants Forever and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game recently established two new partnership Farm Bill Conservation Technician positions to help aid private landowners in improving wildlife habitat in the state.
Illinois: Winter and wetness Forecast: The winter in Illinois was the 19th coldest on record with snows 10 inches above normal. Follow that up with the second wettest May and June in history, and pheasant production appears to have been down this year, especially in northern Illinois according to Michael Wefer, a program manager with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Illinois changed to a new spring audio count protocol that should lead to better population density and habitat data in the future. This year's data suggests numbers were up in central Illinois, but down throughout the rest of the state's pheasant range. One bright note for hunters is the corn harvest appears to be ahead of schedule this year. If this trend continues, hunters could still have a better season than last year, when 22,244 hunters shot 64,262 roosters. As always, Wefer says, hunters who have access to quality habitat should still enjoy a successful season. Season Dates: November 6 through January 8, 2011 (North) November 6 through January 15, 2011 (South) Daily Bag Limit: 2 Possession Limit: 6 Field Notes: Illinois Pheasants Forever's Build a Wildlife Area campaign helped add more than 100 acres open to public hunting and outdoor recreation in the state this year.
Indiana: Northeast coming on Forecast: A less-than-harsh winter led to a spring pheasant call count survey increase that jumped nearly 24 percent in Indiana, according to N. Budd Veverka, farmland game research biologist with the Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife. Overall, pheasant numbers should be similar to last year when 11,000 hunters harvested 43,000 birds. Indiana pheasants are found almost exclusively in the northern third of the state, and while Benton, White and Newton counties in northwest Indiana have been traditionally considered the best areas, pheasant numbers are looking good this year in northeast Indiana. Season Dates: November 5, 2010 through December 19, 2010 Daily Bag Limit: 2 Possession Limit: 4 Field Notes: A game bird habitat stamp must be purchased to hunt pheasants in Indiana. The state has used funds generated from the stamp to purchase land across the primary pheasant range and establish game bird habitat areas. These limited access areas are managed specifically for ring-necked pheasants and can produce some of the best hunting in the state. Hunters can register for a chance to hunt game bird habitat areas in Benton, Newton and White counties by October 2, 2010.
Iowa: Bad news keeps coming Forecast: No state is in need of some good pheasant news as much of Iowa, but it won't be this year. Coming off a record low year of just 74,017 hunters bagging 271,136 roosters, Iowa's statewide August roadside survey count showed a decrease of 30 percent from last year. Iowa hasn't been able to escape moisture. The state had one of the snowiest winters in state history, only to be followed up by a June through August stretch that was likely the wettest in state history. Mix in the previous years that haven't been good for pheasant production, and CRP acreage losses, and it's easy to see why Iowa pheasants have dropped to such historically low levels. Pheasant hunters not deterred by this news will find the highest concentration of roosters in northwest Iowa, where the roadside survey averaged 30 birds per route compared to 11 across the rest of the state. North central Iowa checks in as the next best option. As for the remainder of the state, pockets of good bird numbers may still be found in regions with exceptional habitat, according to Todd Bogenschutz, upland game Biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Season Dates: October 30 through January 10, 2011 Daily Bag Limit: 3 Possession Limit: 12 Field Notes: Pheasants Forever has placed five Farm Bill Biologists in Iowa as part of its "Reload Iowa" campaign, a three-year statewide effort to improve 1 million acres of wildlife habitat on private and public land in the state. Pheasants Forever plans to establish more such positions across Iowa in the coming years.
Kansas: Cementing itself as South Dakota South Forecast: Kansas pheasant hunters bagged 746,000 roosters last year - up approximately 10 percent from 2008 - and tops in the nation behind only South Dakota. Despite a colder and snowier winter than normal, pheasant populations are still stable. In fact, spring crowing counts were up 1 percent. Jim Pitman, small game coordinator with the Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks, says the best pheasant hunting will likely be in northwest and west-central Kansas, but southwest Kansas should be very good too. Pitman is expecting numbers in northwest Kansas to be similar to last year or slightly improved, which will put the population at or above the 20-year high. But expectations are lower for portions of north-central Kansas due to heavy rain and hail that hit that region. The pheasant population in northeast Kansas will also likely be down due to deep snow cover for a good chunk of last winter and heavy rain during the nesting period this summer. Kansas' full August roadside survey results will be released in mid September. Season Dates: November 13 through January 31, 2011 Daily Bag Limit: 4 Possession Limit: 16 Field Notes: Kansas' popular Walk-in Hunting Access Program contains lands in CRP, native rangeland, wheat or milo stubble and riparian or wetland areas, with many of the approximately 1 million acres in the program providing excellent upland hunting opportunities.
** Michigan: Varied upland opportunities Forecast: Improved pheasant production was anticipated in Michigan from last year, though not enough to drastically alter the annual 100,000-bird harvest in the state. The most recent data shows that more than 50,000 Michiganders still pursue ringnecks annually. ** Season Dates: Varies, consult regs ** Daily Bag Limit: 2 Possession Limit: 4 Field Notes: Upland enthusiasts should note this is the first time in a decade and a half that the state will have a sharp-tailed grouse hunt in a restricted area of the Upper Peninsula. Combine that with traditionally strong ruffed grouse and woodcock hunting to go with pheasants, and Michigan has a mix of upland birds that keeps hunters going year after year. **
Minnesota: Similar to 2009 Forecast: Despite it's worst winter in nearly a decade, Minnesota's August roadside survey remains unchanged from 2009, when hunters harvested more than 400,000 roosters. According to Kurt Haroldson, wildlife biologist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Farmland Population and Research Group, hunters can expect a harvest around that mark in 2010. The winter of 2009-10 was the most severe period for much of the farmland region in 10 years, which did cause some pheasant mortality. Spring nesting conditions were excellent early, but declined in June. And Minnesota lost 21,000 CRP acres from its pheasant range from 2009, but increases in enrollment of other farm programs and acquisition of public lands exceeded the state's CRP losses. The 2010 pheasant index (62.8 birds/100 miles driven) was similar to 2009, but the hen index portion of the survey was 28 percent below the 10-year average. Overall, considering the severity of the past winter, pheasant hunters and state biologists were pleasantly surprised by the numbers this year. The best opportunities for harvesting pheasants likely will be in the southwest where observers reported 104 birds per 100 miles of survey driven. Hunters also will find good harvest opportunities in the central and west central regions, where observers reported 76 and 70 birds per 100 miles driven, respectively. Season Dates: October 16 through January 2, 2011 Daily Bag Limit: 2; changes to 3 on December 1 through end of season Possession Limit: 6; changes to 9 on December 1 through end of season Field Notes: In an effort to get a hunting walk-in access program off the ground in Minnesota, the state DNR has requested $2.7 million in federal "Open Fields" funding to establish a pilot program in the southwest part of the state. Photo: Dori
Missouri: Drop continues across the north Forecast: Severe winter weather in northern Missouri and heavy spring rains have likely hampered survival and production in Missouri's primary pheasant range, says Beth Emmerich, agricultural wildlife ecologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation. Severe winters and three consecutive unseasonably wet springs continue to reduce survival and reproduction for pheasants in Missouri. The 2010 August Survey illustrated this downward trend with a statewide count of 0.32 pheasants per 30-mile route - down 50 percent compared to 2009. And while the northwest portion of the state typically has the highest pheasant populations, the 2010 index was 0.32 pheasants per route (83 percent lower than 2009), while the northeast portion of the state checked in with the higher pheasant count at 0.42 pheasants per route. Overall, a poor to fair outlook for pheasant hunters in Missouri. Season Dates: Varies by zone, consult regulations Daily Bag Limit: Varies by zone, consult regulations Possession Limit: Varies by zone, consult regulations Field Notes: Missouri has nearly 32,000 acres enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program's upland bird habitat buffers initiative. Technically referred to as Conservation Practice 33, Missouri trails only Kansas and Illinois in acreage enrollment for this practice that works to establish habitat along field borders and edges.
Montana: Up and down across Big Sky Forecast: Montana is such a big state that an entire overview doesn't do it justice. That said, generally milder winter conditions coupled with moderate spring conditions have Big Sky country as a top-10 pheasant hunting destination this fall. Rick Northrup, game bird coordinator with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, reports that northwest Montana will be similar or lower in bird numbers compared to last year, as recurring moisture and cold conditions are keeping numbers below average. North-central Montana was about 60 percent below average in pheasant harvest last year, and hunters there should expect some improvement. Central Montana, in and around Judith Basin County, experienced a late snowstorm around the first of May which was severe enough to kill adult birds. The greater Billings area received moderate spring conditions, and average or above average bird numbers should be found there. The area from Havre to Glasgow, north of Missouri was up last year but will be closer to average this year. Eastern Montana north of Glasgow and to the North Dakota line should see improvement in pheasant abundance from last season, but still below average. The region North of Interstate 94 to Fort Peck Reservoir and Sidney was the recipient of good spring conditions, and a rebound in numbers is expected there. Finally, southern Montana south of Interstate 94 to the Wyoming border was 26 percent above average harvest last fall, and similar numbers are expected this year. Season Dates: October 9 through January 1, 2011 Daily Bag Limit: 3 Possession Limit: 9 Field Notes: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks has new upland hunting information, and with some seasons (Hungarian partridge, Sharp-tailed grouse) now open, it may be time to check the state's upland game birds hunting guide.
Nebraska: Down slightly overall Forecast: Severe winter weather in parts of Nebraska and above average rainfall this spring impacted pheasant populations in parts of the state, with the overall rural mail carrier survey showing a 4 percent decrease. But where pheasants are most abundant, the southwest and Sandhills regions of the state, this year's survey showed healthy jumps. Statewide, the pheasant abundance index was similar to 2009. Increases in abundance were up in the Sandhills (up 21 percent), southwest (up 13 percent) and central regions (up 3 percent). Also, these are the top three regions in terms of overall pheasant abundance. The southeast, northeast and Panhandle regions were all down more than 20 percent. Top counties in Nebraska should be Wheeler, Cherry, Thomas, Blaine, Phelps, Hitchcock, Red Willow and Hayes. Season Dates: October 30 through January 31, 2010 Daily Bag Limit: 3 Possession Limit: 12 Field Notes: Pheasants Forever's National Pheasant Fest 2011, the nation's largest event for upland hunters, comes to the Qwest Center in Omaha, Nebraska on January 28-30, 2011.
New York: Maintaining tradition Forecast: The upcoming pheasant hunting season in New York is expected to mirror the last few seasons, checking in around 55,000 pheasant hunters and a harvest of 125,000 birds. With much of the state reverting to forest land, and low participation in Farm Bill conservation programs, most New Yorkers take advantage of the state's put-and-take pheasant hunting. The best wild bird hunting in the state is located in the Lake Plains region just south of Lake Ontario between the cities of Syracuse and Buffalo. This area contains some of the best agricultural grasslands in the state. Despite limited quality habitat, the hunter participation numbers show a strong pheasant hunting tradition carries on in the Empire State. Season Dates: Multiple zones - consult regulations Daily Bag Limit: 2 statewide; 4 on Long Island Possession Limit: None statewide; 30-bird season limit on Long Island Field Notes: Last fall, New York adopted a new Management Plan for Ring-necked Pheasants, which includes maintaining a wild pheasant population in the Lake Plains of western New York. Photo: AVRS
North Dakota: Plenty of birds, plenty of access Forecast: North Dakota was expected to check in with a 500,000 pheasant harvest last year, and exceeded that with a 650,000 bird take. And though crowing counts were down six percent this spring, overall nesting conditions improved by June across many parts of the state this spring and early summer, which should give NoDak pheasant hunters plenty of optimism heading into fall. Although more snow fell this winter as compared to last, pheasants pulled through very well and populations were stable as spring approached. There were snow showers into May, but as pheasants prepared to sit on nests, conditions were good. With a wet spring and many rain showers, North Dakota greened up quickly. Rain and hail showers at the peak of the hatch likely washed out some nests and will tame numbers in the southeast part of the state, though there will be pockets of excellent habitat and birds. Results from North Dakota's annual August roadside survey notwithstanding, it looks like the southwest region of the state will retain its status as a perennial pheasant power, followed by the northwest region. The south-central and central regions will check in about the same as last year. Season Dates: October 9 through January 2, 2011 Daily Bag Limit: 3 Possession Limit: 12 Field Notes: Habitat and hunting access will be under the microscope in North Dakota the next couple years. In 2011 and 2012, approximately 50 percent of the state's CRP acreage is slated to expire. Many of the 1 million P.L.O.T.S. (Private Land Open to Sportsmen) acres in the state are also enrolled in CRP, so CRP losses have the potential to negatively impact the amount of places to hunt. Photo: Pheasants Forever
Ohio: Hard winter has its say Forecast: Heavy, continuous snow cover over much of the state from late January through early March likely impacted over-winter survival in Ohio, according to Nathan Stricker, upland biologist with the Ohio Division of Wildlife. The effects are reflected in the spring pheasant call counts that decreased approximately 40 percent from 2009. The decrease is bad news for Ohio's 127,000 pheasant hunters who had grown accustomed to stability with eight years of solid populations. While a typical 160,000 pheasant harvest seems unlikely, hunters looking to flush birds and get dogs on point should look select public areas in Williams county and, if they can gain permission, private CRP lands in Ross and Pickaway Counties. Overall, pheasant numbers are still good in some counties in north central and northwestern Ohio. Season Dates: November 5, 2010 - January 9, 2011 Daily Bag Limit: 2 Possession Limit: NA Field Notes: This year, Ohio unveiled its CRP Pheasant SAFE initiative. Available in select counties, this project enables landowners to enroll acres in CRP to specifically target declining pheasant and quail populations in areas of greatest impact. Photo: Pheasants Forever
Oklahoma Forecast: Please check back soon for the full Oklahoma Pheasant Hunting Forecast. Season Dates: Dec. 1 through January 31, 2011 Daily Bag Limit: 3 Possession Limit: 9
Field Notes: Like Texas, the Panhandle region of Oklahoma gets the pub when it comes to the state's pheasant hunting. In fact, it was pheasants emigrating from the Sooner State to the Lonestar State that first helped Texas establish its own viable ringneck population. Photo: Yotut
Oregon: The birthplace of pheasants in America Forecast: Cooler and wetter than average weather persisted through nesting and early brood rearing in 2010. And while that likely hampered initial reproductive efforts, re-nesting efforts appear strong and habitat conditions are very good, according to Dave Budeau, upland game bird coordinator with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. That means harvest should equal or exceed last year, when 6,857 hunters put 33,722 Oregon pheasants into their game vests. As usual, the majority of pheasant hunters should direct their compasses to the Columbia Basin and northern Malheur county. Of note is the fact that Oregon's Willamette Valley is the birthplace of pheasants in the United States. In fact, the Owen Denny Chapter of Pheasants Forever pays homage to the U.S. Ambassador to China who first introduced the king of game birds to America. Season Dates: October 9 through December 31 Daily Bag Limit: 2 Possession Limit: 8 Field Notes: To help public hunters navigate vast opportunities, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, with support from the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Oregon Wildlife Heritage Foundation, has created the Oregon Hunting Map. The map features more than 100 public areas, letting visitors know details about them and what species they'll find. Photo: Pheasants Forever
Pennsylvania: Recovery projects continue Forecast: Though wild pheasants have vanished across most of Pennsylvania's landscape, thousands of pheasant hunters and the state haven't lost interest in the bird. Hunters and their dogs get their field time in through the state's put-and-take hunting. More importantly, with the help of Pheasants Forever, the Pennsylvania Game Commission is working to restore self-sustaining and huntable pheasant populations in suitable habitat by establishing Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas (WPRAs). The goal inches closer to reality, as part of the Central Susquehanna WPRA is on track toward having a sustainable population of wild pheasants. The Pike Run and Somerset WPRAs have also continued to show signs of success. Season Dates: Varies, consult regs Daily Bag Limit: 2 Possession Limit: 4 Field Notes: At 205,432 acres, Pennsylvania leads the nation in Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) enrollment. Not only are these acres helping soil and water quality, but they're also the backbone habitat to the Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas in the state. Photo: Pheasants Forever
South Dakota: Still rules the roost Forecast: Coming off a season in which hunters harvested more than 1.6 million roosters, South Dakota's 2010 brood survey count showed a 3 percent increase from last year. To state it best, South Dakota remains the "Pheasant Capital." In 2009, South Dakota's official pheasant population estimate was 8.4 million, and hunters averaged 9.9 roosters each for a total season harvest of more than 1.6 million. The state's August brood survey calculates a pheasant-per-mile index, with the 2010 statewide pheasants-per-mile average at 6.45 (compared to last year's average of 6.26). According to this year's survey, the Chamberlain area topped the list with 17 pheasants-per-mile. South Dakota hunters will also find very strong bird numbers in the Pierre (13.95), Mobridge (10.85) and Winner (8.42) areas. Those areas are followed by the Huron, Aberdeen and Mitchell areas, all checking in around 6 to 7 birds-per-mile. Weather conditions over the past year have been variable across the state, and CRP acreage has dropped to about 1 million acres. Despite these concerns, the quality of existing habitat appears to have boosted reproduction. Oddly enough, the abundance of moisture last fall may have contributed to the increase this year, as it prevented many corn fields from being harvested, so entire crop fields were left standing across the state. These fields then provided food and cover sources and protective habitat for pheasants during the harsh winter. Season Dates: October 16 through January 2, 2011 Daily Bag Limit: 3 Possession Limit: 15 Field Notes: South Dakota's Walk-In Area program opened 1.2 million acres for hunters last year, many pursuing pheasants. A recent study (postal and email surveys to a random sample of hunters) by the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department also revealed the Walk-In Area program helped boost South Dakota's economy by at least $15 million last year. Considering the state spent $2.2 million to lease the 1.2 million acres, and considering the tough economy, that's something to crow about. Photo: Pheasants Forever
Texas Forecast: Please check back soon for the full Texas Pheasant Hunting Forecast. Season Dates: October 30 through February 27 in Chambers Jefferson and
Liberty Counties; December 4 through January 2, 2011 in 37-County Panhandle. Daily Bag Limit: 3 Possession Limit: 6 Field Notes: Texas' Annual Public Hunting Permit provides access to more than 1 million acres of public hunting lands. Additionally, permit holders may take children under age 17 hunting free of charge on these public hunting lands, thereby making them aware of the need for proper management of wildlife resources and introducing them to the sport hunting ethic. Photo: South Dakota Fish and Game
Utah: Looks to top last year Forecast: It's a rosy outlook for pheasant hunters in Utah this year, according to Dave Olsen, upland game coordinator with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. That means the state's 17,000 pheasant hunters should surpass the 35,000 roosters bagged in 2009. The southern half of Utah did endure a hard winter and wet spring, but the northern half of the state is where the premiere pheasant hunting is found. Olsen says the state's wildlife management areas are real gems, so upland hunters should look to put the boots down there. Season Dates: November 6-21, 2010 (extended in some counties, see regulations) Daily Bag Limit: 2 Possession Limit: 2
Field Notes: Utah has a three-year old Walk-in-Access program providing opportunities for sportsmen and incentives for landowners. In fact, interested landowners are needed to expand the program in the south and southeast regions of the state. Photo: Gidzy
Washington: Look for pheasants and bonus birds Forecast: May and June were considerably wet and cold this year in Washington with some severe isolated storms throughout the eastern part of the state. With the weather impacts on pheasant nesting, hunters can expect a year similar to 2009, says Joey J. McCanna, upland game bird specialist with the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. Last year, 19,519 hunters harvested 65,919 roosters. Roadside surveys in the Pheasant Focus Area of southeastern Washington averaged 1.36 pheasants per mile and .18 broods per mile this year. Franklin county looks like the go-to pheasant area in Washington again this year. McCanna suggests pheasant hunters look to hunt areas with quail and Hungarian partridge, as numbers for those species are up this year. The Columbia Basin is a great place to hunt for a mixed bag of upland birds and waterfowl, especially Grant county. Season Dates: October 23 through January 17, 2011 Daily Bag Limit: 3 Possession Limit: 15 Field Notes: CRP lands on the Palouse region in southeastern Washington consistently produce more pheasants than any other areas of the state. The best hunting within the focus area is on these private lands. To locate private lands in state hunting programs and state managed lands, check out Washington's GoHunt online mapping. Photo: Renee V
Wisconsin: Down for third consecutive year Forecast: The pheasant outlook is down for the third year in a row in Wisconsin, with the 2010 rural mail carrier pheasant survey indicating a 14 percent decrease from last year. Wisconsin pheasant numbers have been set back by the long, snowy winters in 2007-08 and 2008-09, a wet and cool spring in 2008 and a decrease in CRP (loss of more than 175,000 acres since 2007). Last season, more than 57,400 hunters went out in search of pheasants and reported harvesting 241,800 birds in Wisconsin. All things considered, Wisconsin pheasant hunters can still expect to find bird hunting success this autumn. Counties with the highest number of pheasants reported on the mail carrier survey are Lafayette, Polk, Fond du Lac, Pierce and Jefferson. Season Dates: October 16 (noon) through December 31 Daily Bag Limit: 1 daily October 16-17, 2 remainder of season Possession Limit: Twice daily bag limit Field Notes: State-issued Pheasant Stamp is required to hunt pheasants in Wisconsin. Since 1991, the stamp has helped create funding for pheasant restoration and management. Photo: Yotut
Wyoming: Big Horn Basin for birds Forecast: The best areas for wild pheasants this year in Wyoming will, as usual, be in habitat that exists in the Big Horn Basin. Despite average to below average production this spring, Goshen and Bighorn counties are the cream of the pheasant hunting crop in the state. Season Dates: Varies, consult regs Daily Bag Limit: Varies, consult regs Possession Limit: Varies, consult regs Field Notes: Hunters have been able to gain access to more than 3 million acres through generous efforts of landowners and donations to the ACCESS YES program, which Pheasants Forever has supported. Photo: J Baker
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