2021 Pheasant Releases

About the pheasant releases

  • The Michigan Legislature passed House Bill 4313 in 2020, creating the pheasant license and a funding mechanism for a pheasant release program. This bill has a sunset of Jan. 1, 2026.
  • All monies from the new license will be placed into an account to be used only for the purchase and release of live pheasants on state-owned lands with suitable pheasant habitat.
  • Select State Game Areas (SGAs) throughout the southern Lower Peninsula will be receiving released, rooster pheasants in 2021.
  • The pheasant releases are being done in partnership with the Michigan Association of Game Breeders and Hunting Preserves. Association members will be releasing the birds on a weekly basis at the designated game areas.
  • A limited number of roosters will be released at each site throughout the pheasant hunting season.
  • Releases will be conducted in the regular pheasant season which runs from mid-October through mid-November. Pheasants are expected to be released at the following state game areas in 2021: 
    • St. Clair County: St Johns Marsh
    • Monroe County: Erie; Pointe Mouillee
    • Bay County: Crow Island; Pinconning (Closed to December hunting)
    • Lapeer County: Lapeer
    • Clinton: Rose Lake
    • Van Buren County: Cornish (Closed to December hunting)
    • St. Joseph County: Leidy Lake (A portion is closed to December hunting)
  • In addition, there will be two hunting recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) events that will take place at the Rose Lake State Game Area in December. Event dates and registration details have not been determined yet. When available, they will be posted on this page. 
  • December's pheasant hunting is only open in selected portions of Zone 3 (see map in the 2021 Hunting Digest). 


  • Are there specific days when birds are released?  The Michigan Association of Gamebird Breeders and Hunting Preserves (MAGBHP) is responsible for releasing the pheasants at the various state game areas. They are responsible for 1-2 release per week for 4 weeks (mid-Oct to mid-Nov.) They may select which day of the week the release is made at the area. No specific day is designated for a release. An area may receive a release on Tuesday one week and Saturday another week. MAGBHP representatives are responsible for providing time-stamped documentation that birds were released at the sites.  
  • What time of day will they be released?  MAGBHP representatives are required to release birds outside legal shooting hours. That means birds may be released later in the evening or early in the morning.
  • When will birds be released during the recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) events? For the two R3 releases at Rose Lake, the birds are to be released prior to legal shooting hours or as determined by R3 coordinator.

Free Pheasant Endorsement - DISCONTINUED

  • The free pheasant endorsement required in 2019 and 2020 has been discontinued and no longer required for hunters pursuing pheasants.