Pheasant programs bolster hunting opportunities
Approximately 30,000 adult pheasants will be released on lands open to public hunting for the upcoming fall pheasant hunting season, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced today. The pheasant hunting season begins Oct. 1 in northern and eastern portions of New York, Oct. 18 in central and western portions, and Nov. 1 on Long Island.
"The day-old pheasant chick program provides additional opportunities for pheasant hunters," said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. "Pheasant hunting opportunities have also been augmented by private landowners who have opened their land to public hunting. DEC is grateful for their help in providing a high-quality hunting experience for New York's sportsmen and sportswomen."
Since 2007, DEC has offered a special youth-only season to provide junior hunters (12-15 years old) the opportunity to hunt pheasants the weekend prior to the regular pheasant hunting season. In Western New York, the youth pheasant hunt weekend is Oct. 11-12. In northern and eastern New York, the youth pheasant hunt weekend is Sept. 27-28, and on Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk counties) it is Oct. 25-26.
Pheasants will be released on a number of selected release sites across the state to provide ample hunting opportunities for junior hunters. All current pheasant hunting rules and regulations remain in effect during the youth hunt. Please note that, due to new legislation that changed the start of the license year from Oct. 1 to Sept. 1, either a 2013-14 hunting license or a 2014-15 hunting license can be used to hunt during September this year. A 2014-15 license is required starting Oct. 1.
All release sites for pheasants provided by state-funded programs are open to public hunting. Pheasants will be released on state-owned lands prior to and during the fall hunting season, and, thanks to a partnership with New York City Department of Environmental Protection, at a number of sites on New York City Watershed lands. A list of statewide pheasant release sites and sites receiving birds for the youth-only pheasant hunt weekends can be found on DEC's website at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9349.html.
The program was developed in the early 1900s to provide day-old pheasant chicks to cooperating 4-H groups and sportsmen and sportswomen. The chicks are distributed to program participants in May and June, and cooperators incur all costs associated with rearing the birds, including feed, water, utilities and facility construction. The birds are raised to adulthood and released on lands open to public hunting before the season opens. This year, about 40,000 pheasant chicks were distributed statewide as part of this program. For more information about DEC's day-old pheasant rearing program, see: day-old pheasant chick program: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7271.html. Those interested in raising and releasing pheasants to expand next year's hunting opportunities can contact DEC's Reynolds Game Farm at 607-273-2768.
Boundaries for pheasant hunting zones conform to wildlife management units used for management of other upland wildlife. Wildlife management unit boundary descriptions can be found on DEC's website. In addition to knowing these unit boundary descriptions, hunters should review the 2014-15 New York Hunting & Trapping Guide for complete regulations and other important information before going afield. Hunters who plan to use private lands should ask permission from the landowner.
In support of the "NY Open for Fishing and Hunting" initiative, this year's budget includes $6 million in "NY Works" funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have not reached their full potential. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state's fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York state.
For information on below, visit DEC's website:
•Pheasant propagation program: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/49071.html
•2014-15 hunting and trapping regulations guide: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/37136.html