It’s that time of year again that upland game hunters have been waiting for: pheasant hunting opens this Saturday in the Magic Valley.

For hunters who don’t harvest any birds during the opener, no worries – the season goes through Dec. 31, according to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. However, hunters may very well come home with a bird on opening day.

The good news is that pheasant numbers are trending upwards in the region, as they have been doing for the past 10 years or so. Fish and Game said the outlook for this season should have numbers comparable to last year’s hunt.

To help the outlook the department said Niagara Springs Wildlife Management Area (WMA) will be ready for hunters this weekend – and throughout the season – as the site will be stocked with farm-raised birds twice a week.

Of course, know the rules before you go afield. Let’s get to that now. According to Fish and Game:

  • Upland game hunters are required to wear visible hunter orange with a minimum of 36 square inches visible above the waist. A hunter orange baseball cap meets this requirement.
  • Shooting hours on WMAs is from 10 a.m. to one-half hour after sunset.
  • Those 18 years and older hunting on WMAs must purchase a WMA pheasant permit. Cost is $23.75, which allows for the harvest of six stocked pheasants. There is no limit on the number of permits that can be purchased throughout the season.
  • Once a bird is harvested it must be immediately recorded with ink on the permit and a notch removed from the permit.

Be safe, have fun, and good luck.