September 23, 2012

DEC announces 2012 release of pheasants

ALBANY — Approximately 30,000 adult pheasants will be released on lands open to public hunting for the upcoming fall pheasant hunting season, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced in a press release.

The pheasant hunting season begins Oct. 1 in northern and eastern portions of New York, Oct. 20 in central and western portions, and Nov. 1 on Long Island.

For the sixth consecutive year, junior hunters (12 to 15 years old) have the opportunity to hunt pheasants the weekend prior to the regular pheasant hunting season.

In western New York, the youth pheasant hunt weekend is Oct. 13 and 14. In northern and eastern New York, the youth pheasant hunt weekend is Sept. 29 and 30, and on Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk counties) it is Oct. 27 and 28. 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. A 2011-12 hunting license is required to hunt during September, and a 2012-13 license is required starting Oct. 1.

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.

The Day-old Pheasant Chick Program provides additional opportunities for pheasant hunters. This program was developed in the early 1900s to provide 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.

The birds are raised to adulthood and released on lands open to public hunting before the season opens. This year, more than 42,000 pheasant chicks were distributed statewide as part of this program. 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.

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