The pheasant hunting season is a few months away and the Game, Fish and Parks department is proposing big changes for the upcoming season.
In a meeting on July 17, the Game, Fish and Parks Commission discussed three major proposals for the upcoming pheasant hunting season.
One change sets a constant shooting time at 10 a.m. CT for the resident-only and traditional pheasant seasons. Another proposal extends the season to January 31. Currently, the pheasant season ends the first Sunday in January.
The commission also proposed an increase to the daily bag limit next season starting in December 2021 which would allow hunters to harvest four rooster pheasants per day through the end of the season. The possession limit would increase from 15 to 20 rooster pheasants after that date.
If the proposals are passed, the changes would take effect for the upcoming season.
Travis Runia is the Senior Upland Game Biologist for Game, Fish and Parks. He says members from the tourism department worked with Game, Fish and Parks to develop the proposals late last year.
“These are pretty significant changes and they're really looking at ways to increase opportunity,” he said. “We have really seen participation in pheasant hunting, especially over the last decade, slowly decline. So, this is an effort to maybe reinvigorate interest in pheasant hunting and try to provide some additional opportunities for our hunters.”
Runia says the last time major changes to the hunting season were made were more than 10 years ago. He says the commission takes public consideration into account for future changes.
“One comment we do get from the public and hunters when we're starting to look at changing regulations on pheasants is kind of the concern for the future population,” Runia said. “And one thing to keep in mind with our pheasant hunting season—it is a rooster only season. So, we're only shooting male pheasants. So, most of these tweaks that are proposed are not expected to have any substantial impact to the future population.”
According to a report from the GFP department, the proportion of roosters to hens in the post hunt flock increased over the past 20 years.
The Game, Fish and Parks department is still accepting comments from the public. The commission is expected to finalize the proposals at the beginning of September.