Pheasant Hunters Gear Up, DNR Expands Pheasant Release Program for 2023

Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Lansing, MI — July 17, 2023

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources highly anticipated pheasant release program is expanding for the upcoming pheasant hunting season. This year, the program will include:

Photo Courtesy of the Michigan DNR

• Three times more rooster pheasants are being released than last year.
• Four new release sites in Cass City, Crane Pond, Dansville, and Stanton state game areas.
• Additional releases in December on state game areas with an open pheasant hunting season.


This strategic expansion ensures a greater distribution of released pheasants and gives hunters even more options to explore Michigan’s diverse landscapes.

“For seasoned hunters and newcomers alike, this is a prime opportunity for everyone to experience the thrill of pheasant hunting. We’re excited to expand the pheasant release program and offer hunters a unique chance to connect or reconnect with upland bird hunting in Michigan,” said Adam Bump, DNR upland game bird specialist. “The increased number of rooster pheasants and the addition of new release locations ensure that hunters can enjoy a memorable hunting season.”

The rooster-only pheasant releases will occur from October 20 to November 14, coinciding with the pheasant hunting season. All release sites that have an open December pheasant hunting season will have an additional pheasant release that month.

Game Areas Scheduled for Bird Releases

This year, pheasants will be released in 13 state game/wildlife areas throughout southern Michigan:

1. Cass City (Tuscola County) – fall and December release.
2. Cornish (Van Buren County) – fall release only.
3. Crane Pond (Cass County) – fall release only.
4. Crow Island (Bay and Saginaw counties) – fall and December release.
5. Dansville (Ingham County) – fall and December release.
6. Erie (Monroe County) – fall and December release.
7. Lapeer (Lapeer County) – fall and December release.
8. Leidy Lake (St. Joseph County) – fall and December release.
9. Pinconning (Bay County) – fall release only.
10. Pointe Mouillee (Monroe and Wayne counties) – fall and December release.
11. Rose Lake (Clinton and Shiawassee counties) – fall and December release.
12. Stanton (Montcalm County) – fall and December release.
13. St. Johns Marsh (St. Clair County) – fall and December release.

The sale of the $25 pheasant license funds the pheasant release program, with pheasants supplied by the Michigan Association of Gamebird Breeders and Hunting Preserves.

“We encourage people to take advantage of this remarkable opportunity to connect with nature and experience the joy of upland bird hunting,” Bump said.

To learn more about the pheasant release program, including licensing requirements, season dates, and hunting regulations, visit