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News Articles

20
Pennsylvania Game Commission: Fall Pheasant Stocking Plans Announced


Stocking more than 12 percent higher than planned; 18,000 birds for youth hunt restored

HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Game Commission
has slated 112,430 ring-necked pheasants for release on public lands
throughout the Commonwealth for the upcoming small game hunting seasons, an
increase from the original 100,000 birds planned due to cost-cutting efforts
put in place beginning in the 2004-05 fiscal year.
"Based on agency's budget cuts in the 2004-05 and 2005-06 fiscal years, we
reduced our pheasant propagation program by 50 percent," said Vern Ross, Game
Commission executive director. "Reducing the pheasant propagation program
saved the agency nearly $650,000 over the two fiscal years. Without a hunting
license fee increase, we expect to continue producing at the 100,000-bird
level for 2006-07. At the reduced level, the agency will realize a savings of
nearly $1.1 million over the three fiscal years.
"Despite the overall reductions, this year our game farm staff had an
excellent production season with virtually no weather-related problems. This
has resulted in a more than 12 percent increase above the 100,000-bird
production quota for stocking this fall."
Ross announced that the increased success rate in production has enabled
the agency to provide additional birds for the small game season, as well as
restore the stocking allocation to 18,000 birds -- up from the initial 15,000
birds -- for the fourth annual Youth Pheasant Hunt, which is scheduled for
Oct. 8-14.
Ross reminded hunters that each year, beginning in January, hunting clubs
are able to assist the agency in raising pheasants, especially during the
agency's lean-fiscal times, by enrolling in the "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.
"We are striving to live within our current revenues," Ross said. "Now,
more than ever, we need sportsmen's clubs to help us in many aspects,
including raising pheasants."
Ross also noted that, because of limited financial resources and staff
shortages, the annual public tours of the agency's game farms have been
cancelled for this year and the foreseeable future.
Carl F. Riegner, chief of the agency's Propagation Division, said that
region staff will begin the stocking season Oct. 6, when the agency will
release 18,000 birds (8,780 males and 9,220 females) for the youth pheasant
hunt scheduled for Oct 8-14. A listing of stocking locations for the youth
hunt can be found on pages 26-28 of the 2005-06 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting
and Trapping Regulations, which is provided to each license buyer.
Opening day of the general pheasant hunting season is Oct. 22, and closes
on Nov. 26. Pheasants will be stocked for three consecutive weeks in each
region starting Oct. 19, prior to the opening day. Preseason releases will
consist of 50 percent of the fall allocation, and the two in-season releases
will be 25 percent each. 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.
Last year, the agency enacted a regulation aimed at improving safety for
agency employees and vehicles involved in pheasant stocking.
"Each year, when land management personnel are releasing pheasants from
the stocking trucks, employees and trucks are shot at by unsuspecting hunters
in the field," Ross said. "To prevent this, the agency approved a regulation
to prohibit hunters from discharging a firearm within 150 yards of a Game
Commission vehicle releasing pheasants. We ask that all hunters abide by this
new regulation."
During the regular fall season, pheasants will be stocked on State Game
Lands and select state parks and federal lands. 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
also is posted on the Game Commission's website (http://www.pgc.state.pa.us), and can
be viewed by clicking on "Hunting & Trapping," then choosing "PGC's Pheasant
Program."
A regional breakdown for the youth and regular season stocking is as
follows: Northwest Region, 6, 570 males and 15,080 females; Southwest Region,
20,470 males and 7,600 females; Northcentral Region, 3,540 males and 8,880
females; Southcentral Region, 8,060 males and 7,920 females; Northeast Region,
6,870 males and 6,360 females; and Southeast Region 20,420 males and 660
females. Regional allocations are based on the amount of suitable pheasant
habitat open to public hunting and pheasant hunting pressure.
This year, the late season is scheduled for Dec. 12-23 and Dec. 26-Feb. 4,
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. Also, there will be no late-season hen
stockings this year.
For details on the pheasant seasons, please see pages 25-28 of the 2005-
2006 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting & Trapping Regulations.
For a complete listing of pheasant stockings planned for each county,
visit the Game Commission's website (http://www.pgc.state.pa.us) and click on
"Hunting & Trapping," and choose "2005 Pheasant Stockings by County."
While the agency was able to restore the youth pheasant hunt allocation to
18,000, clubs hosting mentored youth pheasant hunts had to purchase birds on
their own this year.
"Given the cutbacks, we were unable to provide the 2,000 birds for
mentored youth pheasant hunts as we did in the past," Ross said. "As a
result, we only received information for five club-sponsored mentored youth
pheasant hunts to post on our website.
"However, we know that a number of clubs have purchased birds from private
breeders and again plan to host hunts this year. The youth pheasant hunt,
including the mentoring component, has been very successful."
Working with the Pennsylvania State Chapter of Pheasants Forever, the Game
Commission's Youth Pheasant Hunt Committee prepared a "Mentored Youth Pheasant
Hunt Planning Guide" to enable groups to develop and sponsor a mentored youth
pheasant hunt program.
Under the youth pheasant hunt, which runs concurrently with the youth
squirrel hunt from Oct. 8-14, participants are not required to purchase a
junior hunting license, but they must have passed a Hunter-Trapper Education
course. Also, as with all junior hunters, those 12 and 13 years old must be
accompanied by a parent, guardian or other family member 18 years or older,
and those 14 and 15 years old must be accompanied by a person 18 years or
older.
"On behalf of the Game Commission, I would like to extend my sincere
thanks and praise to the members of these clubs for sponsoring a mentored
youth pheasant hunt, and for all that they do to preserve and pass along our
state's rich and proud hunting heritage to a new generation," Ross said.
Following is a county listing of the clubs that have requested that their
mentored youth pheasant hunt be posted on the agency's website:

BEDFORD/FULTON: The Bedford/Fulton Chapter of Pheasants Forever.
BERKS: The Pheasants Forever Local Chapter #576.
CLEARFIELD: Pennsylvania Wildlife Habitat Unlimited.
PIKE: The Promised Land Sportsman Association.
WASHINGTON: The Washington County Sportsmen and Conservation League.

Other recent Game Commission initiatives to promote youth hunting
opportunities include: a youth spring gobbler season established in 2004; a
youth squirrel hunt created in 1996 and expanded in 2004; a waterfowl hunt
initiated in 1996 and expanded in 2005; special antlerless deer harvesting
opportunities opened in 1998, and expanded in 2000; and youth field days
implemented in the early 1990s.
Also, as part of the license fee increase approved in 1998, the General
Assembly created a junior combination license that packages regular license
privileges with archery, flintlock and furtaking opportunities for $9,
compared to the regular junior license price of $6.



SOURCE Pennsylvania Game Commission
Web Site: http://www.pgc.state.pa.us

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