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09

Klamath Falls is going to get a population boost this hunting season with another year of commercially raised pheasants being released into the wild courtesy of Unlimited Pheasants. The birds will have been raised as chicks for a five or six week period before they are let loose into the wild according to the group.

Unlimited Pheasants has been involved in the restoration of the birds into the wild in the area. Part of their efforts is the raising and releasing of commercial birds. The birds are released in the groups own property and on other private property.

The experiment started last year and some have hailed it as a success. According to those monitoring the situation, 10% of those who were released as part of last year’s program have matured with many of them contributing to the population this year by hatching their own chicks.

While last year was the first major release, there have been pheasant releases in other years. The first commercially raised pheasants were let loose by the group in 1976 and since then 50,000 pheasants have been part of the program.

However, other states and groups have questioned this approach stating that commercially raised pheasants have a smaller chance of surviving the winter as they don’t have the skills to seek shelter or avoid predators. Yet some argue that it is at least adding to the population when times are tough and that when we have a limited population and hunters still want to partake in the sport, something has to be done to support the population.

It isn’t just in the local area that pheasant populations have decreased. Over the last 10 years prior to 2013, South Dakota saw a 78% decrease in the pheasant population and other states are recording similar losses. Luckily the weather over the past two winters has been fortunate and this has allowed for some gains in many areas. But for the pheasants to return to their golden age, they need to have more years of good weather and lots more protection.

Do you think commercially raised pheasants are a good idea? Have you partaken in a similar scheme?

Let us know in the comments below.


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