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Sportsman organizations that have approved propagation facilities are being given the opportunity to contribute to the local pheasant stocks in Pennsylvania. The clubs can raise chicks from a day old as part of a free program ran by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

The Game Commission has started extensive farming of pheasants since 1929. It began with just two game farms but over the next six decades three other farms were made operational to help offset the decline in pheasant populations, and during the 1980s the day-old pheasant chick program was implemented.

Sportsmen organizations, 4-H clubs and farmers can all apply to take part and all the pheasants that are reared in the program must be released on public hunting grounds.

The program has seen some positive results. In 1959, the number of pheasant chicks distributed to participants reached just under 230,000. This was in addition to the 89,000 raised by the agency. However, since the 1960s there has been a dwindling number of participants.

Recently, the number of participants has only been a dozen. This has meant that a maximum of 5,000 birds have been released.

To compensate, the Game Commission raised 200,000 pheasants since 2012. This however still leaves a shortfall.

Wayne Laroche, the director of the Game Commission Bureau of Wildlife Management has recently stated that clubs who participate enter into an agreement with the commission. There is no way to determine gender with any of the young pheasants as they are boxed at a day old. Though it is believed that it should be roughly a fifty-fifty split.

Participates are also limited on the number of pheasants they can be provided with based on their facilities. Though the agency will provide clubs that are taking part with plans for a brooder building, covered pen and advice for rearing the pheasants until they are suitable for release on the public hunting grounds.

Have you participated in a similar program? What were the best moments?

Let us know in the comments below.

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