Eastern Washington bird hunting seasons

Although official dates for Eastern Washington dove and upland bird hunting seasons starting in 2020 won’t be set until spring, here are guidelines for hunt planning based on previous years.

Mourning dove, Sept. 1-30.

Forest grouse, Sept. 1-Dec. 31.

Pheasant, partridge, quail (youth only), Sept. 19-20

Pheasant (senior only), Sept. 21-25

Quail, partridge, Oct. 3-Jan. 18

Pheasant (general), Oct. 17-Jan. 18

Pheasants on the edge

Numbers of ring-necked pheasants, Washington’s premier upland bird hunting attraction, have declined dramatically since the 1980s, especially in the Columbia Basin where habitat around circle irrigation crops has been eliminated.

In the 2018-2019 season, 16,193 licensed upland bird hunters bagged more than 78,850 pheasants in one of Washington’s best seasons in years, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife reports. In the season that just ended Monday, pheasants were noticeably down, hunters report, probably due to 2019 late-winter and spring weather factors.

Without incentives in some sort of major federal farm conservation program, the continuing loss of habitat to development and modern farming practices doesn’t ring in optimism for pheasants to recover to 1980s levels, biologists say.

— Rich Landers