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For Release: Tuesday, September 18, 2012

DEC Announces Release of Pheasants for 2012 Hunting Season

Pheasant Raising 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 (DEC) announced today. The pheasant hunting season begins on October 1 in northern and eastern portions of New York, October 20 in central and western portions, and November 1 on Long Island.

For the sixth consecutive year, junior hunters (12-15 years old) have the opportunity to hunt pheasants the weekend prior to the regular pheasant hunting season. In western New York, the youth pheasant hunt weekend is October 13-14. In northern and eastern New York, the youth pheasant hunt weekend is September 29-30, and on Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk counties) it is October 27-28. Pheasants will be released on a number of select release sites (PDF) (42 KB) across the state to provide ample youth hunting opportunities. All current pheasant rules and regulations remain in effect during the youth hunt. Please note that a 2011-12 hunting license is required to hunt during September, and a 2012-13 license is required starting October 1.

The majority of birds will be released on state-owned wildlife management areas and cooperative hunting areas prior to and during the fall hunting season. All release sites for pheasants provided by state-funded programs are open to public hunting. A list of statewide adult pheasant release sites and sites receiving birds for the youth pheasant hunt weekends can be found on DEC's website.

The Day-old Pheasant Chick Program provides additional opportunities for pheasant hunters. This 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, over 42,000 pheasant chicks were distributed statewide as part of this program. Anyone interested in raising and releasing pheasants to expand next year's hunting opportunities should 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 the DEC website. In addition to knowing these unit boundary descriptions, hunters should review the 2012-2013 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.

For more information, visit the DEC website:

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