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Bird Hunting in Pennsylvania for Ruffed Grouse, Woodcock, and Pheasant

Bird Hunting in Pennsylvania for Ruffed Grouse, Woodcock, and Pheasant

A bird hunter out hunting ruffed grouse in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania has an iconic foundation in hunting, here we explore the ongoing legacy of ruffed grouse, woodcock, and pheasant hunting.

Over half of Pennsylvania is covered in forests, many of which are old forests. The Appalachian Mountains also define Pennsylvania, as do the lowlands in the southeast. With the absence of many early successional forests, grouse populations in Pennsylvania suffer increasingly. There are still many who hunt its lands for birds like pheasant and crow. Check out the many hunting preserves in the state for great hunting opportunities with your dog.  

Resident licenses cost $20.90, while non-resident licenses cost $101.90. You can buy a 7-Day license for $31.90, but it does not include pheasant hunting. 

Ruffed Grouse 

Because of such low populations in Pennsylvania, ruffed grouse hunting is closed for the coming late season (go here for reference). However, the 2018 early season will still occur from October 13 to November 24 and December 10 to 24 with a daily bag limit of 2.

American Woodcock 

You can find American woodcock while bird hunting in Pennsylvania. The season runs from October 14 to November 25, with a daily bag limit of 3. 

(governed by federal migratory laws. HIP survey required) 

Ring-Necked Pheasant 

Each year, the Game Commission of Pennsylvania spends over $4 million to stock places like State Game Lands with 200,000 ring-necked pheasants. Adults must purchase an additional pheasant permit for $26.90. There is no open season for pheasants in Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas, the exception being the Central Susquehanna Wild Pheasant Recovery Area.

You can hunt ring-necked pheasant from October 20 to November 24, December 10 to 24, and December 26 to February 28. There is a daily bag limit of 2. 

Other Species for Bird Hunting in Pennsylvania

There are other species worth bird hunting in Pennsylvania. The bobwhite quail season runs from October 13 to November 24 and December 10 to February 28 (excepting Christmas), with a daily bag limit of 8. Crow are available to hunt from July 1 to April 14 without any daily bag limit, though you are only allowed to hunt crow on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. In addition to crow, Pennsylvania has a season for starling. There is no closed season or harvest limit for European starlings and English sparrows in Pennsylvania. The only exception to this is during the antlered and antlerless deer season. 

Ruffed Grouse Society

Pheasants Forever 

Quail Forever

North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA)

The Pennsylvania Hunter Safety Course and Further Regulations

Regardless of age, anyone purchasing a license for bird hunting in Pennsylvania will need to complete hunter education training. After completing the required training, you will receive a certificate that allows you to apply for a hunting license. You must be 11 years old to enroll, but anyone 16 or older can complete all the training online. For more information, check out the hunter course.

During any time of the year, you can train dogs on native small game in the state of Pennsylvania. No dog is allowed, however, to injure or kill any game. Chukar and pigeons are an exception and the use of starter pistols is permitted. You can release and shoot chukars and pigeons year round for dog training, except in October. Within Wild Pheasant Recovery Program areas, you cannot train dogs on birds from the first Sunday in February until July 31.

The bird hunting season dates, game bird species available, and other information is subject to change. The article may not reflect this. Please visit the website for the Pennsylvania Game Commission for the most up to date information on bird hunting in Pennsylvania.

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