Ontario’s Top Pheasant Destinations
Upland hunters pursue pheasants for their gaudy colours, raucous flushes, and reputation as a culinary delight. Game farms provide opportunities, but there are several locations across the province where release programs offer quality hunting. Although the number of municipalities that operate release programs isn’t as great as it used to be, there are still many options.
1. Pelee Island
This is the granddaddy of Ontario pheasant hunts, consisting of three main hunts where 14,500 birds are released prior to the two-day main hunts. This is followed by four three-day cleanup hunts with no new birds released and winter hunts.
Hunters have access to most of the island’s 10,000 acres, with some restrictions.
Learn more: www.pelee.org/pheasant-hunts
2. Hullett Marsh
When it comes to bang for the buck, Hullett comes out on top. One-thousand birds are released throughout the season and there is no licence or permit fee.
Hullett Provincial Wildlife Management Area is 5,420 acres of uplands, wetlands, and forests in Huron County. It was developed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ducks Unlimited in the 1970s and is now run by the non-profit Friends of Hullett.
Although there is no fee, Friends of Hullett asks hunters to support the cost of the pheasant release by purchasing raffle tickets.
Learn more: www.hullettmarsh.com/hullett_rules_and_regs.html
3. Norfolk County
Norfolk County operates its pheasant release program in conjunction with the Long Point and Area Fish and Game Club, with 750 birds planted on nine pieces of public land throughout the season. Habitat varies from river bottoms with a mix of grasses and brush to grassed wetlands over more than 700 acres.
4. Tiny Marsh
Tiny may be the name, but it’s not reflective of the number of pheasants. A total of 1,600 birds are released three times a week over the Oct. 1 to Nov. 26 season. This 740-acre parcel is in Simcoe County. The limit is two birds per hunter, six days per week.
Seasonal permits are available but are sold out with a waiting list. Day passes are available for hunting Monday to Friday, with only 20 spots allocated by a first-come, first-served parking system.
Learn more: www.mtmconservation.org/permits
Located in Elgin County, Fingal is a standout because of its youth pheasant hunt. There are 200 birds released on four separate occasions through the season, and then another 100 are released for the youth hunt. There is no licence fee but hunting is restricted to Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.
Learn more: www.elgintourist.com
6. Conestogo Lake
Hunters can access 2,300 acres in this Wellington County conservation area and must have a seasonal permit, which is available starting May 1 on a first-come, first-served basis. Birds are released weekly to a total of 1,600 birds. The limit is two birds.