posted on March 24, 2014 21:34
Last year the Pennsylvania Game Commission learned that states like South Dakota and North Dakota would not be able to supply them with wild pheasants due to their own population concerns.
South Dakota is facing a decline in pheasant populations of up to 68% and commissions have been set up in order to tackle the habitat loss that is partly blamed for this sharp decline.
For Pennsylvania pheasant hunting, this has meant there have been no pheasant transfers to the wild pheasant recovery areas for three years in a row. This has been a huge blow in their dedicated efforts to establish a self-sustaining, wild population of pheasants – the New Year must have certainly looked glum for the commission and pheasant populations.
However, news which should brighten the day for the commission has come in from Montana. A Native American tribe have given the commission the go-ahead to trap 300 wild pheasants for transfer and release into pheasant recovery areas.
The timetable for the trap and transfer has not been scheduled as yet, and there have been no decisions on which recovery areas will have the birds.
There are four potential recovery areas in the state: Franklin County, Hegin-Gratz in Dauphin and Schuylkill Counties, Somerset County and Central Susquehanna in Columbia, Montour and Northumberland Counties – which was the first state recovery area in 2007.
Franklin County site has so far not received any birds since its selection as a recovery area, whereas all the other areas have done so.
Each of the recovery areas was selected for the habitat and the potential to support wild pheasant populations. Recent news also suggested that hen pheasant densities in the recovery areas have been approaching or exceeded the target levels previously set.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission only use trapped and transferred wild pheasants in their recovery program because they presume there to be a greater survival rate than for those introduced from farmed populations. The state also prohibits the release of farmed birds into the recovery areas, as well as pheasant hunting and training of dogs.
What do you think of the news? Do farmed birds have a lower survival rate?