top of page

Why are only roosters being released? If we released some hens, maybe they will breed.

These birds are meant to be hunted and to provide hunters with opportunities. You can't legally shoot hen pheasants. It's been shown that released pheasants seldom live long enough to breed in the spring.

What days are the roosters being released?

Even we don't know that! Members of the Michigan Association of Game Bird Breeders secretly release the roosters after shooting hours on varying days.

The old “Put and Take” pheasant program was a failure. Why are we trying something like it again?

In the 1970's, the DNR tried raising pheasants and releasing them at times and places that were announced. The birds weren't the same high quality as the roosters that Game Breeders are able to raise now. These birds are hearty. They fly hard and they run. With the secrecy surrounding the releases, everyone has a fair chance at hunting a field and flushing a rooster.

Isn’t it better to put our money into habitat improvement instead?

The DNR and national habitat restoration organizations have been trying for 40 years to improve the habitat so that pheasants will thrive. unfortunately, they have not been very successful. There are some successes, but on a wide-scale view, the pheasants just won't be back like they were in the hey-days of years gone by. The DNR even mentioned it in their press release. To their credit, for years, the DNR has tried different things to help bring back pheasant hunting. DNR Put and Take, Sichuan releases, and habitat initiatives have all lead up to the success of the pheasant hunting intitiative.

Why isn’t the Saginaw-Gratiot State Game Area or the Shiawassee River State Game Area included in the program?

We've certainly asked the same question! Both of these State Game Areas have plenty of fields that would entice nearby hunters to throw on an orange vest. One answer we sometimes hear is that because there is a small wild population of birds living there, they don't want additional hunting pressure, yet they still allow pheasant hunting. Another thing we hear is that they don't want to take the chance on a released bird mating with a wild bird. This answer seems odd as Michigan currently has 54 pheasant preserves that are open to hunting. If crossbreeding is a concern, one would think that the birds escaping these hunting preserves would "taint" the wild populations surrounding them. This is just not the case.

Each release site has the name of the game breeder that’s releasing pheasants. Should I call them for more information?

This is not a good idea because they will not tell you the day, the time, the place or the count of roosters that they are releasing.
If you want to go to their preserve and pay to hunt, please call them and make a reservation. You'll find the same hard-charging birds there, just at a larger cost.

Is it true the South Dakota, the pheasant capitol of the world, releases pen-raised pheasants?

While we'd rather talk about Michigan, this question comes up frequently. The state of South Dakota dictates by law that game preserves release a rooster pheasant for every pheasant that their guests shoot. Reports of released rooster pheasants in 2021-2022 were 579,672.

SD Releases.jpg

Can I use lead shot?

Some public release sites allow it, others do not. We encourage you to find out before you go so you don't run afoul of the law. They do enforce it!

I don't have a bird dog. Is it worth it for me to try pheasant hunting?

YES! Although a good dog gives some very distinct advantages, we've seen many hunters leave the fields with roosters in their game pouches. Walk slow, concentrate on hedge rows and cover breaks. If you miss a rooster, watch him sail until he lands. He won't be far off!

When is Michigan's pheasant season?

October 20 through November 14.    A late season opens up in certain areas from December1 through January 1.

What is the limit on pheasants?

There is a bag limit of two per day, four in possession.

What's the best thing I can do to see more roosters in the fields?

Get a few of your friends to buy pheasant licenses! Each license sale generates money to release more roosters!

How many other states release roosters during hunting season??

See the map below:

bottom of page