Pheasant season updates

Bookmark and Share
Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

2018 Pheasant Season Updates

Pheasant in grass

Pheasant season dates

  • Oct. 10-31 in the Upper Peninsula in Menominee County and portions of Iron, Marquette, Dickinson and Delta counties
  • Oct. 20 - Nov. 14 in the Lower Peninsula 
  • Dec. 1 - Jan. 1 in selected areas of Zone 3 

See the 2018 Hunting Digest for maps of open hunting zones. The bag limit is two male pheasants daily, with four in possession. A base license is required to hunt pheasants.

Pheasant season outlook

"A few years ago, Outdoor Life magazine rated Michigan's Thumb in the top 10 places in the country to go wild pheasant hunting, which points to the fact that pheasant hunting is still alive and well in our state," said Al Stewart, DNR upland game bird specialist. "The DNR and our partners are making progress towards creating more quality pheasant hunting opportunities with the Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative, a collaborative effort to revitalize Michigan pheasants." 

While pheasant populations have been in decline for several years, pheasants can be found in southern Lower Michigan and some areas of the Upper Peninsula. The best counties for pheasant hunting are in south-central to mid-Michigan and into the Thumb. In the U.P., Menominee County is a good place to begin your pheasant-hunting adventure. 

There are some localized concentrations of birds elsewhere based on habitat availability. Stewart advises hunters to look for warm-season grasses, especially idled farm fields. Late-season hunters can have success in cattail and shrub lands adjoining picked agricultural fields. 

The Ring-Necked Pheasant Status in Michigan report for 2018 was completed recently and is available for viewing.  

Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative

The Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative is a conservation initiative to restore and enhance Michigan pheasant habitat, populations and hunting opportunities on private and public lands. The initiative works by acquiring state and federal resources to assist landowners within cooperatives in improving wildlife habitat on their property and by enhancing habitat on selected state game areas, recreation areas, and other public and private lands.

Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative partners work to secure adequate staffing to accomplish habitat improvement; hunter access; education and outreach; hunter recruitment, retention and reactivation; and population monitoring goals. 

“It has been exciting to see what the MPRI coalition of partners has been doing over the last few years to improve pheasant habitat, pheasant numbers and pheasant hunting in southern Michigan,” said Bill Vander Zouwen, Pheasants Forever Representative and MPRI Coalition co-chair.  “I am really looking forward to seeing what the next few years will bring.”  

A Mid-Point Accomplishments Report detailing the work completed by the coalition in the first five years of the initiative partnership is available for review.  The 2017 Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative Annual Report also is available.  

Adopt-a-Game-Area program

Grasslands provide significant benefits to both wildlife and people. In addition to providing habitat and food resources for wildlife, grasslands help to improve water and air quality – essential for all of us in Michigan and throughout the world. They also are simply stunning to view in mid- to late summer when the prairie wildflowers are in full bloom. 

In addition, grassland residents like bees and monarch butterflies help to pollinate our crops, keeping the United States fed. Throughout Michigan and elsewhere, grasslands are disappearing to agriculture and development and have become one of the rarest habitat types in the world.

Grassland wildlife needs your help to thrive. The new Adopt-a-Game-Area program, a partnership between the Michigan DNR, Pheasants Forever and the Hal and Jean Glassen Foundation, allows you to sponsor habitat projects on state lands that you use and enjoy. Your support will provide valuable nesting habitat, brood-rearing habitat, foraging habitat and winter habitat for a wide range of wildlife, including deer, turkeys, pheasants, ducks, cottontail rabbits, songbirds and pollinators.

You can become a sponsor today by contacting Ben Beaman to make your donation in support of Michigan state game areas. Earn Gold (over $25,000), Silver (over $5,000) or Bronze (over $500) sponsorship levels with your tax-deductible donation. 

Learn more about the program and public lands that you can support at

Find a place to hunt


No matter where you are in Michigan, you can find public hunting land. Mi-HUNT, an interactive map application that now works on mobile devices, contains the most up-to-date information to help plan your next hunting trip. It includes both public hunting land and private land open to the public for hunting.


There are thousands of acres of private lands open to public hunting through the Hunting Access Program, a voluntary land-leasing program. HAP provides access to quality private hunting lands in southern Michigan and portions of the northern Lower Peninsula and eastern Upper Peninsula.

Questions? Call 517-284-WILD (9453) 
or email