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BigOutdoors
09-24-2010, 07:50 PM
Pheasant Raising Programs Bolster Hunting Opportunities
09/14/2010 08:25:00 pm Staff Reports

ALBANY, September 14, 2010 -- New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis today announced that approximately 30,000 adult pheasants will be released on lands open to public hunting for the upcoming fall pheasant hunting season.

The pheasant hunting season begins on Oct. 1 in northern and eastern portions of New York; Oct.16 in central and western portions; and Nov. 1 on Long Island. New pheasant hunting regulations this fall include longer hunting seasons in most areas and more wildlife management units open to taking both cocks and hens. Hunters should review the new regulations in the 2010-2011 New York Hunting & Trapping guide on the DEC website at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/37136.html. (http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/37136.html.)

For the fourth consecutive year, junior hunters (12-15 years old) have the opportunity to hunt pheasants the weekend prior to the regular pheasant hunting season. In northern and eastern New York, the youth pheasant hunt weekend is Sept. 25-26. In western New York, the youth pheasant hunt weekend is Oct. 9-10. Pheasants will be released on a number of select sites across the state to provide ample youth hunting opportunities. All current pheasant rules and regulations remain in effect during the youth hunt.

The majority of birds will be released on state-owned wildlife management areas and cooperative hunting areas prior to and during the fall hunting season. All release sites for pheasants provided by state-funded programs are open to public hunting. A list of statewide adult pheasant release sites and sites receiving birds for the youth pheasant hunt weekends can be found on DEC's website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9349.html. (http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9349.html.)

Two popular cooperative pheasant rearing and release programs, the Day-old Pheasant Chick Program and the Young Pheasant Release Program, provide additional opportunities for pheasant hunters. Birds from these programs are released before the season opens and disperse widely, presenting a greater challenge for experienced hunters. Anyone interested in raising and releasing pheasants to expand next year's hunting opportunities should contact DEC's Reynolds Game Farm at (607) 273-2768.

The Day-old Pheasant Chick Program, developed in the early 1900s, provides day-old pheasant chicks to cooperating 4-H groups and sportsmen and sportswomen. The chicks are distributed to program participants in May and June, and cooperators incur all costs associated with rearing the birds, including feed, water, utilities and facility construction. This year, nearly 48,000 pheasant chicks were distributed statewide as part of this program.

The Young Pheasant Release Program was developed in 1992 with assistance from organized hunters. In this program, seven- to 10-week-old pheasants are distributed to cooperating groups and landowners for release at pre-approved sites from June through August. The cooperators provide a release pen and make food and water available for two weeks following the pheasants' release, allowing the birds to become acclimated to their new surroundings. Approximately 13,000 young pheasants were released on more than 320 sites this year. A list of these sites is available from DEC regional wildlife offices.

Boundaries for pheasant hunting zones conform to Wildlife Management Units used for management of other upland wildlife. Wildlife Management Unit boundary descriptions can be found at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/8302.html. (http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/8302.html.) In addition to knowing these unit boundary descriptions, hunters should review the 2010-2011 New York Hunting & Trapping guide for complete regulations and other important information before going afield. Hunters who plan to use private lands should ask permission from the landowner.