DEC Accepting Applications for Pheasant Release Program
Applications Due by March 25
The opening of the application period for the cooperative Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program to enhance opportunities for pheasant hunting in New York has begun, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. The program provides pheasant hunting opportunities through a partnership among DEC, hunters, 4-H youth groups, and landowners interested in rearing and releasing pheasants.
The Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program began in the early 1900s and is funded through the State Conservation Fund, which is supported by license fees paid by hunters, trappers, and anglers.
Pheasant eggs and chicks were distributed to farmers and rural youth in the program’s early days. Today, day-old chicks are available at no cost to participants that are able to 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.
Daily care is necessary to monitor the health of the birds and to ensure there is adequate feed and water for the rapidly growing chicks. The pheasants may be released beginning when they are eight weeks old and no later than Dec. 1. Individuals interested in these programs should contact their nearest DEC regional office (please refer to offices listed below) for applications and additional information.
In 2017, DEC distributed more than 34,500 day-old pheasant chicks to qualified 4-H and sportsmen and sportswomen applicants. Applications must be filed with a DEC regional wildlife manager by March 25, 2018 (see contact information below). A “Pheasant Rearing Guide” and applications are available on DEC’s website.