Conditions favor the birds and inspire hope for Washington’s 2020 pheasant season
By Andy Fondrick, Digital Marketing Specialist at Pheasants Forever
Editor’s Note: If you’re reading this forecast, you must hunt pheasants. If you hunt pheasants and don’t belong to Pheasants Forever or you need to renew, it’s time. Since inception, PF has impacted over 19 million acres of habitat, and created over 200,000 acres of permanently public wild places to hunt and recreate. Upland habitat, public lands and hunting heritage need you. Join, renew or extend and for a limited time get a sweet PF Field Hoodie to boot!
Favorable conditions through much of the winter and summer months should have helped upland birds make it through a wet spring. Washington will provide some potential hot spots for hunters looking to chase pheasants in the Pacific Northwest this season.
WEATHER AND CONDITIONS
Washington’s pheasants and other upland birds should have benefitted from a relatively mild and short winter. Once the wet spring conditions subsided, a much more manageable summer should have helped broods prepare for the fall ahead.
“We had a fair amount of spring precipitation,” says Sarah Garrison, small game and furbearer specialist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. “This could have resulted in higher brood failure due to hypothermia if precipitation was poorly timed with the hatch. However, the spring rains resulted in good plant growth and insect production, so forage conditions were good for broods this summer.”
HABITAT, BROODS AND COUNTS
Generally forgiving weather conditions have led to a positive outlook for the upcoming season, although there aren’t any counts to provide a more concrete outlook.
According to Garrison, Washington is participating in a multistate collaborative research project with Iowa State University and Pheasants Forever to improve brood survey methodology. Results from these surveys will be available once the project is completed.
There are a few typical hotspots Garrison would steer an upland hunter looking to chase flushing roosters this fall, especially in the eastern part of the state.
“Grant and Whitman counties see some of our highest pheasant harvest,” Garrison says, “Lincoln, Adams, Franklin, and Walla Walla counties are also among the most productive as well.”
“Western Washington doesn’t have naturally sustaining wild pheasant populations,” Garrison adds. “But our pheasant release program will be operating at normal capacity this year to provide opportunity to western Washington hunters.”
Click here for more information on the Western Washington Pheasant Release Program
Garrison recommends reaching out to landowners and securing access to private lands. You can also click here
to check out some additional options for hunting on private lands in Washington.
Putting some extra miles on the boot treads in search of wily roosters will always go along way in the Pacific Northwest.