COLUMBIA- The Missouri Department of Conservation announced that it will expand pheasant hunting statewide starting Nov. 1. Hunters in mid-Missouri will now have the opportunity to hunt the popular bird closer to home.
In years past hunting was limited to the area north of I-70, all of St. Charles County and a portion of the Southeastern corner of the state.
However, Tom Strothers of the Missouri Department of Conservation says that due to a small population in the region, Mid-Missouri hunters may find it best to spend their time hunting north of I-70 where there is a larger amount of the bird.
“In mid-Missouri there are typically few pheasants that live in the wild in the central part of Missouri so that is why in years past the season didn’t include central Missouri because we didn’t have any pheasants in the area,” Strothers said.
Strothers emphasized the decision making process for the expansion. “The big concern we have is what is best for the wildlife species itself. So we use some biological data, the size of the population, how many birds, deer or turkey are in a certain area,” he said.
The season will still run as in the past from Nov. 1 – Jan. 15, but Strothers says the expansion is a unique opportunity to hunt a desired bird. Many find pheasants an enjoyable bird to hunt based on the male’s unique coloring and the sport of it. “Pheasants are a real popular bird to hunt, about the same size as a chicken a little bit smaller than a quail or a dove,” said Strothers.
Before the regular season starts the Department of Conservation offers young hunters the opportunity to work on their craft. The last weekend of October will be designated for youth hunters only. Strothers says that this is done to encourage participation and increase recruitment of hunters. “Designed just for the kids to get out in the woods before the rest of the hunters, to give their sport a try,” Strothers said.
Hunting female pheasants is still illegal.