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The Washingtonvill-Turboville area has seen a good recovery in the number of wild pheasants. This leads to the hope that after 40 years, hunting can resume in the area.

The rise in numbers of wild pheasants began seven years ago when the Pennsylvania Game Commission and Pheasant Forever representatives laid out a plan for the Central Susquehanna Wild Pheasant Recovery Area in Columbia, Montour and Northumberland counties.

According to the latest update from biologist Colleen DeLong, there could be just a two year wait until hunting can resume in this recovery area.

It hasn’t always been good news for pheasant conservation in the area. The project to increase numbers lost permission to use a trapping site and this has led to only one release on the Hegin-Gratz reserve this year. However, this could be turned round in the near future, as a new trapping site has been located on a Crow Reservation. This new site has already yielded 49 hens and nine roosters.

The weather has been a particular problem this year with the release of wild pheasants in the reserves. The harsh winter caused significant amounts of snow to freeze solid and eventually turn to slick, ice-covered fields. This has meant that any birds released would suffer from a lack of nesting ground and their survival would hang in the balance.

The harsh winter also meant that the annual flushing surveys were postponed and eventually cancelled; meaning population numbers could not be accurately obtained. Those who organize these flushing surveys now say all they can hope for is a good turnout next year and to hope the weather doesn’t interfere again.

Despite these setbacks, it is estimated now that the 10 birds per square mile target, has been exceeded in the Central Susquehanna and Hegins-Gratz reservation areas.

Is this hope for the South Dakota pheasant populations? Can the numbers recover like they have in Pennsylvania?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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