Pheasant Hunting in NH

Chris Forsey and  Rick Orford
Successful thirteen-year-old Chris Forsey, with Rick Orford, both from Webster, hunting in Hopkinton. Photo by Eric Orff.

New Hampshire's pheasant hunting season runs from October 1 through December 31. This fall, 12,260 adult ring-necked pheasants will be released in all 10 counties during the three-month season, an average of 140 birds per site.

The ring-necked pheasant is one of the most colorful of the game birds. It can run like the wind and disappear instantly into a hedgerow. It takes to the air only as a last resort, testing the skills of many hunting dogs with its hide-and-seek behavior.

Pheasant hunting has a long history in New Hampshire -- the first pheasants were stocked here over a hundred years ago. Today the time-honored tradition of pheasant hunting is possible in the state only because private landowners continue to allow hunters access to their land. Hunters can strengthen this important relationship with landowners by closing gates, controlling their dogs and parking in designated areas to avoid blocking driveways and entrances. Please take the time to be courteous and thank these landowners for their generosity.

Click here for tips on Pheasant Hunting Safety

2014 Pheasant Season Dates and Stocking Details

Pheasant season: Oct. 1-Dec. 31
Daily limit: 2
Season limit: 10
Pheasant license required ($26)

Pheasant season opens October 1 and continues through December 31. There is a daily bag limit of 2 and a season limit of 10. A hunter may harvest two hens as part of the daily limit. To hunt pheasant, you need a valid New Hampshire hunting license and a pheasant license. Non-residents may hunt with a pheasant license and either a non-resident N.H. hunting license or a non-resident N.H. small game license. The $26 pheasant license fee is in effect for both residents and non-residents.

pheasant stocking
The Fish and Game stocking crew unloads crates of pheasants. Photo by Eric Orff.

This year, 12,260 adult ring-necked pheasants will be purchased and released across the state at 73 stocking sites in 50 towns. Fish and Game will make an effort to release birds as close to opening day as possible and consistently stock on a Thursday/Friday schedule in-season.

Hunters are asked to refrain from training dogs at pheasant release sites for three days prior to October 1. Dog training flushes pheasants from the release sites, often onto posted property or other areas not suitable for hunting.

The southern portion of the Mascoma River Wildlife Management Area in Canaan will not be accessible for pheasant hunters this year via the culvert and road that is typically used to cross the Mascoma River. Pheasant will continue to be stocked on the Mascoma WMA in the extensive old-field habitat on the north side of the river. Click here for more information. In addition, the Maple Street site in Hopkinton will no longer be stocked due to a change in land use recreation.

At another popular pheasant hunting site, the Conner Farm Wildlife Management Area in Exeter, hunters and other visitors are being asked to  access the WMA on foot through a gate at the back of the new parking area (learn more at

Pheasants are purchased with revenues derived from the sale of pheasant licenses.  Of the $26 fee, $1 is retained by the agent and $25 is available for purchase of the birds.

Youth Pheasant Events
Sporting clubs interested in holding youth pheasant hunting events may contact Karen Bordeau at N.H. Fish and Game's Region 2 Office at 603-744-5470 to request an information packet. Participating youth must be between 12 and 15 years of age. Events may be held on Saturday and Sunday of the two full weekends in September immediately prior to September 29.
Ring-necked Pheasant Stocking Sites -- 2014

The following list provides a road name for sites in New Hampshire stocked with pheasant. Locations with italicized bold print are state-managed lands, while the rest of these sites are on privately owned land open to public hunting. Locations with more than one stocking site on the property are noted.

The tradition of pheasant hunting is available only because landowners continue to allow hunters access and areas to hunt pheasants. Please respect their property and take the time to thank them for their generosity.

Allenstown Black Hall Road, Bear Brook State Park
Belmont Mile Hill Road
Benton Route 25
Boscawen River Road (2 release sites)
Brentwood Pine Road, Deer Hill Wildlife Management Area
Canaan Goose Pond Road, Mascoma River Wildlife Management Area*
Candia Patten Hill Road
Charlestown Route 12/Great Meadows
Charlestown Hidden Valley Road/Conn. River
Charlestown South Hemlock Road
Claremont Route 12/Grissom Lane
Claremont Sugar River Drive/Case Hill Road
Claremont Route 12A/Jarvis Hill
Claremont Route 12A/Intersection of Grissom Lane
Conway West Side Road
Croydon Route 10
Dover Old Garrison Road, Bellamy Wildlife Management Area
Dublin Route 137, Edward McDowell Dam
Enfield Route 4A, Lower Shaker Village Wildlife Management Area
Epsom Off River Road
Exeter Route 101, Conner Farm Wildlife Management Area
Grafton Hardy Hill Road
Greenland Post Road
Haverhill Off Route 10
Henniker Hopkinton-Everett Flood Control Area  (2 release sites)
Hill Franklin Falls Flood Control Area  (5 release sites)
Hopkinton* Hopkinton-Everett Flood Control Area  (2 release sites)
Hopkinton* Penacook Road
Jaffrey Route 124/Wit Hill Road
Loudon Captain French Road
Lyndeborough Cemetery Road
Marlborough Richardson Road/Horse Hill Road
Milan East Milan Road (2 release sites)
Milford North River Road, adjacent to Milford State Fish Hatchery
Milford Off of Route 101-A
Monroe Route 135
Mont Vernon Lamson Drive
New Hampton Coolidge woods Road, Franklin Falls Flood Control Area
North Conway Dugway Road
Piermont Route 10
Pittsburg River Road
Pittsfield Webster Mills Road
Pittsfield Range Road
Rollinsford Rollins Road (1 release site)
Salisbury Blackwater Flood Control Area
Sanbornton Franklin Falls Flood Control Area  (3 release sites)
Sandwich Bearcamp Pond Road
Sandwich Henderson Road off Route 113
Sandwich The Intervale
Seabrook Route 107
Stewartstown North Hill
Strafford Whig Hill Road
Success Success Pond Road
Surry Surry Flood Control Area/Route 12A  (2 release sites)
Unity Mica Mine Road
Unity West Unity Road
Walpole Whipple Hill Road/County Road
Weare Hopkinton-Everett Flood Control Area
Wentworth North Dorchester Road, Foster and Colburn State Forest
Westmoreland Route 63/Conn. River (2 release sites)
Westmoreland River Road/County Farm
Winchester Old Westport Road (4 release sites)

* Pheasant will be stocked only on the north side of the river in the Mascoma River WMA in Canaan; pheasant hunters will not be able to access the southern portion of the WMA this year.

*Pheasants will no longer be stocked at the Maple Street site in the town of Hopkinton, or at the Bennington, N.H. site.

Hunt Pheasants Safely: Follow these tips!

With the October 1 start of pheasant hunting season comes a reminder from Fish and Game to hunt carefully. "We urge hunters to follow a few simple guidelines to hunt safely and enjoy their times hunting pheasants," says Josh Mackay, Fish and Game's Hunter Education Coordinator. "Pheasant hunting is a lot of fun. It's a great time to be out there, but we want people to do it safely."

Incident numbers from the year 2000 underscore this point: that year, there were four hunting-related shooting injuries in New Hampshire involving all kinds of hunting, none of which was fatal. Three of those four involved pheasant hunting. In one case, a hunter lost an eye, and in the other case, a hunter was shot in the face.

Don't be a pheasant hunter statistic -- follow these safety tips:

  • Control your firearm muzzle at all times.
  • Always wear safety glasses.
  • Know where your hunting partners are at all times.
  • Shoot only within your zone of fire.
  • Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
  • Always keep your hunting dog under control.
  • Wear hunter orange on your head, back and chest.

One last point -- watch out for N.H. Fish and Game Department Wildlife Division staff! Pheasant hunters should not begin hunting at a pheasant release site until all stocking activity is completed. Don't position yourself to take immediate advantage of released birds by shooting when birds are being released. Department staff will end up in your line of fire. This behavior is unethical and dangerous.

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