Saturday, February 24, 2024

It's fall and that means it's pheasant time

by T.J. ROSS Contributing Writer
| October 4, 2022 1:00 AM

Hunters can enjoy another year of pheasant hunting at two wildlife management areas in the Panhandle beginning in early October.

Whether you are a new hunter or a seasoned veteran, pheasant hunting opportunity in 2022 will not disappoint.

Sometimes it can be challenging to introduce the sport of hunting to a youth or an adult that has never hunted. Pheasant hunts are the perfect gateway opportunity as they are active, fun and often result in shooting opportunity and success.

Statewide, youth ages 17 years and younger with an Idaho hunting license can participate in the youth-only pheasant hunt from Oct. 1-7 at 24 locations across the state.

They will need to be accompanied by a licensed adult who is 18 years or older, but they do not need an upland game bird permit to hunt where birds are stocked. All hunters must wear hunter orange above the waist while hunting during pheasant season.

Young hunters who have never had a hunting license and have not taken hunter education can still participate in the hunt through Idaho's Hunting Passport Program.

When and where pheasant are headed in the Panhandle

Pheasant will be stocked at two locations in the Panhandle: Boundary-Smith Creek WMA and the Lane Marsh parcel on the Coeur d'Alene River WMA.

Approximately 40-50 pheasants will be stocked weekly at each WMA beginning the week of Sept. 25 and ending the week of Dec. 18 for a total of 625 pheasants at each WMA for the year.

Please note that at both locations there are small, naturalized pheasant populations. As such, it is possible hunters may encounter hen pheasant, which are illegal to harvest.

Boundary-Smith Creek WMA

Located at the Idaho-British Columbia border, the Boundary-Smith Creek WMA is in the breathtaking Kootenai River Valley. The WMA is characterized by just over 2,000 acres of public land, and it includes both wetland, forested and upland habitat.

Grizzly bears often frequent the WMA, so hunters should be aware and carry bear spray.

All of the WMA is open to hunting, but there is no shooting allowed within 100 yards of the WMA headquarters located at the northeastern-most corner of the WMA.

For the youth hunt, pheasants will only be released in the field just north of Smith Creek. Parking for this area is available along the Smith Creek Dike Road which can be accessed from the Westside Road in Bonners Ferry. After the youth hunt, all other releases will be scattered throughout the WMA.

For detailed pheasant stocking plans at this location, go online to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game's website,

Coeur d’Alene River WMA

The CDA River WMA is collection of land parcels along the CDA River from Rose Lake to CDA Lake. The WMA boasts over 8,500 acres of public land containing wetland, lake, upland and forested habitats.

Although the entire WMA is open to hunting, only the Lane Marsh parcel will be stocked. Hunters will need an Upland Bird Permit to hunt Lane or Strobel Marsh parcels, but they can hunt without the permit if outside the Lane or Strobel Marsh parcels.

Hunters are reminded that private lands are intermingled with CDA River WMA parcels, so know where you are at all times to avoid unintentionally trespassing.

Parking is available at the Black Rock Trail Head for the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes off of Highway 3. Walk to the gate marked with a white pheasant hunting sign for easy access to the property.

No hunting is allowed on or within 75 feet of the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes.

Private property is located adjacent to the hunting area in the southwest corner. The boundary is marked by a barbwire cattle fence and boundary signs.

Rules for pheasant hunting in the Panhandle Region

There are two rule sets for hunting pheasants. One rule set applies to hunting pheasant outside of the stocked areas, and the other rule set applies to hunting areas that are stocked by Fish and Game.

The two rule sets are the same, except for bag limit, shooting hours and permit requirements.

If hunting outside the boundaries of stocked areas, hunters can harvest a total of three cock pheasants a day, they can shoot one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset and they do not need an Upland Game Bird Permit.

If hunting in the stocked areas, only two cock pheasants can be harvested a day, hunters can shoot from 10 a.m. PST to one-half hour after sunset and they need an Upland Game Bird Permit.

In the Panhandle, resident hunters ages 18 and older can begin hunting pheasant on Oct. 8 and can continue doing so until Dec. 31. Nonresident hunters can begin hunting on Oct. 13.

Reminder that there is no season for hen pheasants, and hunters are required to wear hunter orange and possess an Idaho hunting license. Also, a reminder that shooting from or across a roadway is unlawful.

For full rules, take a look at pages 11-12 of the 2022-23 Idaho Upland Game, Turkey and Furbearer rules book.

Hunting licenses and upland game bird permit can be purchased online, at a regional Idaho Fish and Game office or at an authorized vendor.

For hunt in scouting or planning your next hunting outing, check out IDFG's Idaho Hunt Planner.

Have questions? Don’t hesitate to contact the Panhandle Regional office at 208-769-1414. You can also follow the Panhandle Region Facebook page to get regular news and updates.

T.J. Ross is a regional communications manager for Idaho Department of Fish and Game.


(Photo courtesy SHEENA HARPER)

Youth pose with their pheasants and hunting dogs at Southeast Idaho Fish and Game's annual Family Outdoor Festival.



A ringnecked pheasant is pictured flying in November 2014.



A photo of a ringnecked pheasant attempts to hide in grass.



A photo of pheasant stocking at the Fort Boise Wildlife Management Area, in the southwest region of Idaho.

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