Michigan pheasant release season starts October 20

Pheasant licenses available online, in person — planning for fall release underway

Michigan pheasant licenses are now available for purchase online or through in-person license vendors for the 2021 season.

A pheasant license costing $25 is now required to hunt public and hunter access program (HAP) land in the Lower Peninsula for those 18 years of age or older. The pheasant license was created through passage of HB 4313 in 2020. All license monies will be used to purchase and release pheasants on state lands.

In 2017, Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC)  member Ken Dalton brought forward a resolution at the organization’s Annual Convention asking that staff lobby legislators to create a pheasant stocking program aimed at recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) of hunters. Dalton’s resolution also asked MUCC staff to find funding for the program. 

In late 2018, MUCC successfully secured general fund money to initiate a two-year pheasant stocking pilot program. The first year of the program (2019) was completed, and a DNR study was conducted afterwards to determine metrics. The second year of the program was eliminated because of COVID-19 and shifting budget priorities for the administration and legislature.

The pheasant license and its passage are a testament to the grassroots strength that MUCC harnesses, said MUCC Executive Director Amy Trotter.

“Passage of this license was contingent upon stakeholder buy-in, member engagement and good, old fashion tenacity,” Trotter said. “Ken Dalton showed up, presented his resolution and got it through our Annual Convention process, and that meant it was time for us to go to work.”

MUCC has facilitated regular meetings on a strategy for the 2021 fall release plan with stakeholders, including Pheasants Forever, the Michigan Pheasant Hunting Initiative and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and legislative staff. 

MUCC is also actively working to obtain authorization from the legislature through the appropriations process to spend this year’s pheasant license monies immediately in the 2021 season. Currently, there is enough funding to have an October-November 2021 release across about nine state game areas, but as early sales ramp up, there may be the opportunity to also spend some of new license money for this season. 

About 1,500 pheasant licenses have been sold as of last week, according to the DNR. The Michigan pheasant season is only 6 months away, so get your license today to show your support. 

1 Comment

  1. Norman McLain on April 21, 2021 at 3:58 pm

    Thanks MUCC for all you do for the fisheries and wildlife in our state.
    Keep up the great work.

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