Ohio was the perfect example that if you give ring-necked pheasants what they need, you’d be rewarded with some of the finest bird hunting in the country. Buckeye farmers, though, couldn’t afford to farm the old-fashioned way, and as farming practices changed, the pheasant populations plummeted.
The Ohio Division of Wildlife will release ring-necked pheasants at public hunting areas in late October and November again this year, just about the only way to consistently put a male ringneck pheasant — females are off limits — in the bag.
About 14,000 pheasants will be released around the state, including 1,540 in northwest Ohio.
Pheasant releases will begin on two Saturdays, Oct. 22 and Oct. 29 during Ohio’s youth small game hunting season. The general hunting season stockings include a pair of Fridays, Nov. 4 and Nov. 11, and Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24.
The nearest pheasant stockings for Ottawa County bird hunters will be at Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area; Oxbow Lake Wildlife Area; Resthaven Wildlife Area; Ringneck Ridge Wildlife Area (by permit only, find additional information from the Sandusky County Park District); Tiffin River Wildlife Area; and Wyandot Wildlife Area (no youth releases).
Ohio’s ring-necked pheasant hunting season is open from Friday, Nov. 4, until Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023. The daily harvest limit is two male birds. No hens (females) may be harvested. A valid Ohio hunting license is required to pursue pheasants and other game birds.
It’s hard to believe that Ohio boasted a pheasant population of about 5 million birds by the late 1930s and, by the late 40s and 50s, Buckeye hunters averaged an annual harvest of about 750,000 roosters.