HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Game
Commission has slated 101,800 ring-necked pheasants for release on public
lands throughout the Commonwealth for the upcoming small game hunting
"Based on the agency's budget cuts first implemented in the 2004-05
fiscal year and carried forward since, we reduced our pheasant propagation
program by 50 percent," said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive
director. "Reducing the pheasant propagation program has saved the agency
nearly $1.1 million over the three fiscal years. Without a hunting license
fee increase, we expect to continue producing at the 100,000-bird level.
"Despite the overall reductions, this year our game farm staff had an
excellent production season. They have worked hard with limited resources
to achieve the goal to have 100,000 birds available for stocking this fall,
as well as providing an additional 1,800 birds to offer to sportsmen's
clubs who signed up to sponsor mentored youth pheasant hunts on Oct. 7."
Carl F. Riegner, chief of the agency's Propagation Division, reminds us
that early this spring Roe reinstated an allocation of birds to be offered
to sportsmen clubs and other organizations to conduct mentored youth hunts.
These birds would normally come from the county allotment in which the hunt
is conducted. However, since we had such a great production season the
agency has been able to provide the 1,800 birds as extra without reducing
the county allotment for the regular season releases. The region staff will
begin the stocking season Oct. 5, when the agency will release 15,000 birds
(7,420 males and 7,580 females) for the youth pheasant hunt scheduled for
Oct. 7-13. A listing of stocking locations for the youth hunt can be found
on pages 26-28 of the "2006-07 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting and Trapping
Regulations," which is provided to each license buyer.
Opening day of the general pheasant hunting season is Oct. 21, and
closes on Nov. 25. Preseason releases will consist of 50 percent of the
fall allocation, and will be stocked in each region beginning Oct. 18
followed by the first in-season stocking consisting of 25 percent. The
second in-season stocking will be held the week of Nov. 6 consisting of
another 25 percent. Only male pheasants are legal game in Wildlife
Management Units (WMUs) 2A, 2B, 2C, 4C, 4E, 5A, 5B, 5C and 5D. Male and
female pheasants are legal game in all other WMUs.
During the regular fall season, the agency focuses pheasant stocking on
State Game Lands and select state parks and federal lands. However, in some
areas where habitat conditions on public lands are marginal, birds may be
stocked on properties signed in the Game Commission public access program.
Game Commission regional offices have an updated publication titled "A
Guide To Pheasant Releases And More," which identifies State Game Lands,
and those state parks and federal lands with suitable habitat that receive
pheasant stockings. The publication, posted on the Game Commission's
website (http://www.pgc.state.pa.us), can be viewed by selecting on
"Hunting" in the left-hand column, clicking on the photograph of the
pheasant and then choosing "Pheasant Management Program."
A regional breakdown for the regular season stocking is as follows:
Northwest Region, 5,260 males and 10,330 females; Southwest Region, 17,430
males and 5,550 females; Northcentral Region, 2,710 males and 5,160
females; Southcentral Region, 6,280 males and 3,880 females; Northeast
Region, 5,660 males and 3,010 females; and Southeast Region, 14,960 males.
Regional allocations are based on the amount of suitable pheasant habitat
open to public hunting and pheasant hunting pressure.
To offer hunters better information about the stocking schedule, the
Game Commission has posted on its website charts for each of its six
regions outlining the number of birds to be stocked in each county, the
public properties slated to be stocked and a two- to three-day window in
which stockings will take place within the counties. To view the charts, go
to the Game Commission's website (http://www.pgc.state.pa.us), select
"Hunting" in the left-hand column, clicking on the photograph of the
pheasant and then choose "Pheasant Allocation" and click on the map for the
county or region of interest.
"As financial considerations have forced us to reduce the number of
pheasants we are stocking, it was decided that we should provide hunters
with additional information to assist them in deciding when and where to
hunt those pheasants stocked," Roe said. He reminded hunters that, two
years ago, the agency enacted a regulation aimed at improving safety for
agency employees and vehicles involved in pheasant stocking.
"Each year, when Game Commission personnel are releasing pheasants from
the stocking trucks, employees and trucks are shot at by unsuspecting
hunters in the field. To prevent this, the agency approved a regulation
that prohibits hunters from discharging a firearm within 150 yards of a
Game Commission vehicle releasing pheasants.
"As we provide better information about when and where stockings will
be conducted, we remind hunters that they have an obligation to ensure that
no stocking trucks or personnel are in the vicinity."
This year, the late season is scheduled for Dec. 11-23 and Dec. 26-Feb.
3, for Wildlife Management Units 1A, 1B, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D,
4A, 4B and 4D. Male and female pheasants are legal game in these WMUs. All
other WMUs are closed during these dates. Although small game season comes
back in following the close of deer, we are holding an allocation of 4,770
hen pheasants to be stocked Dec. 21.
"We are holding these birds to be released as close as possible to the
holiday season so youth can take advantage of going afield during their
school break and some business close down for the holidays as well,"
For details on the pheasant seasons, please see pages 25-28 of the
"2006- 2007 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations."
For more information about the 23 clubs who sponsored mentored youth
pheasant hunts, go to the Game Commission's website
(http://www.pgc.state.pa.us), select on "Hunting" in the left-hand column,
then click on the photograph of the pheasant and then choose "Youth
Pheasant Hunt Listing." Additional information on the youth pheasant
season, which runs Oct. 7-13, is available in News Release #107-06, issued
on Sept. 7.
To augment the Game Commission's pheasant stocking program, Roe noted
that each January sportsmen's clubs are invited to enroll in the agency's
"Pheasant Chick Program." As part of the program, clubs are required to
erect appropriate facilities, purchase feed and cover other expenses, and
then they can receive pheasant chicks to raise and release for hunting and
dog training purposes on lands open to public hunting in their local
community. Riegner adds, "This is a wonderful opportunity for sportsmen to
get kids involved in raising pheasants and to learn more about wildlife and
habitat requirements. Kids can be involved in raising the birds, assist in
developing habitat in their community, and help release the pheasants into
the wild." Our game farm superintendents can assist sportsmen's clubs by
providing technical advice and training to get a facility started.
"We are striving to live within our current revenues," Roe said. "Now,
more than ever, we need sportsmen's clubs to help us in many aspects,
including raising pheasants."
Created in 1895 as an independent state agency, the Game Commission is
responsible for conserving and managing all wild birds and mammals in the
Commonwealth, establishing hunting seasons and bag limits, enforcing
hunting and trapping laws, and managing habitat on the 1.4 million acres of
State Game Lands it has purchased over the years with hunting and furtaking
license dollars to safeguard wildlife habitat. The agency also conducts
numerous wildlife conservation programs for schools, civic organizations
and sportsmen's clubs.
The Game Commission does not receive any general state taxpayer dollars
for its annual operating budget. The agency is funded by license sales
revenues; the state's share of the federal Pittman-Robertson program, which
is an excise tax collected through the sale of sporting arms and
ammunition; and monies from the sale of oil, gas, coal, timber and minerals
derived from State Game Lands.
SOURCE Pennsylvania Game Commission