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DEC Accepting Applications for Pheasant Release Program
New York Ag Connection - 01/24/2020

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced that applications are available for DEC's cooperative Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program. The program provides pheasant hunting opportunities through a partnership among DEC, hunters, 4-H youth, and interested landowners.

"For more than a century, volunteers have been raising pheasant chicks and releasing pheasants to enhance New York's fall hunting opportunities," Commissioner Seggos said. "Raising chicks continues to be a great way to learn about animal husbandry and wildlife management."

The Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program began in the early 1900s. At that time, the state Conservation Department (which became DEC) distributed pheasant eggs and chicks to farmers and rural youth, and DEC continues that tradition to this day. Day-old chicks are available at no cost to participants who can provide a brooding facility, a covered outdoor rearing pen, and an adequate release site. Approved applicants will receive the day-old chicks in April, May, or June. No chicks obtained through the Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program can be released on private shooting preserves and all release sites must be approved in advance by DEC and must be open for public pheasant hunting opportunities. The program is funded through the State Conservation Fund from license fees paid by hunters, trappers, and anglers.

Applicants must provide daily care to the rapidly growing chicks, monitor the birds' health and ensure they have adequate feed and water. The pheasants may be released beginning when they are eight weeks old and must be released no later than Dec. 1. Individuals interested in these programs should contact their nearest DEC regional office (listed below) for applications and additional information.

In 2019, DEC distributed more than 31,500 day-old pheasant chicks to qualified applicants. Applications must be filed with a DEC regional wildlife manager by March 25. A "Pheasant Rearing Guide" and applications are available on the DEC website.

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