This is the second of several columns containing 2019 hunting prospects.
This is a condensed version of this year’s prospects for Grant and Adams counties, also known as District 5 by Fish and Wildlife.
Remember, these are prospects, meaning the information presented is generally what hunters can expect.
Grant County was Washington’s top pheasant producing county in 2018 and has been the top county since 2006. Hunters harvested 9,767 birds in Grant County and 2,624 in Adams County for a total harvest of 12,391 pheasants in District 5.
The largest concentrations of wild pheasants on Fish and Wildlife lands in District 5 are likely to be found within the Desert Unit, between Potholes Reservoir and the town of George.
Mixed bags of wild and released birds can be found in the Lower Crab Creek and Gloyd Seeps. Released birds will be more common in the Dry Falls, Steamboat Rock, Quincy and Buckshot pheasant release sites.
Directions to these sites can be found in the Eastern Washington Pheasant Enhancement Program pamphlet, which can be found on the Fish and Wildlife website.
Nontoxic shot is required at all pheasant release sites. Please note that the release dates are not made public, to reduce overcrowding, however hunters can count on pheasants being released before the youth upland season, before the general season opening day and two additional releases occurring before the end of November. Adams County does hold good numbers of wild pheasants.
Hunters looking for wild birds should focus their efforts on areas of dense cover. Thickets of Russian olive, cattail, roses, weedy areas associated with irrigation ditches, canals and ponds are most likely to hold pheasants. Hunters should be prepared to do some walking when pursuing wild pheasants as they tend to flush well in advance of hunters and are just about as likely to run as flush. Hunters can increase their odds with a dog to both find and retrieve the birds in the dense cover.
Winter and spring conditions are presenting an optimistic picture for the 2019-2020 hunting season. Hunters can anticipate seeing average numbers of pheasants. Most hunters who invest effort and cover a lot of ground will cross paths with wild birds.
Pheasants are an excellent species for beginning hunters, both youth and older hunters, to gain entry into the sport with numerous opportunities available for success and mentorship.
Fish and Wildlife, along with Pheasants Forever, will co-host a youth hunt scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 21, coinciding with the youth only pheasant hunt. More details in tomorrow’s Outdoor Lifestyles.