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For Release: Thursday, February 6, 2014

DEC Accepting Applications for Pheasant Release Program

The application period is now open for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) cooperative Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program, the DEC announced today. As part of Governor Cuomo's NY is Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, the program enhances opportunities for pheasant hunting in New York State through a partnership between DEC and the sporting community, 4-H youths and landowners interested in rearing and releasing pheasants. In 2013, DEC distributed 41,500 day-old pheasant chicks to qualified 4-H and sportsmen applicants.

The Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program began in the early 1900s. In the early days, pheasant eggs and chicks were distributed to farmers and rural youth. Today, day-old chicks are available at no cost to participants who 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. 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.

Daily care is necessary to monitor the health of the birds and to ensure that 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 December 1. Individuals interested in these programs should contact their nearest DEC regional office (please refer to offices listed below) for applications and additional information.

Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational activities for in-state and out-of-state sportsmen and sportswomen and to boost tourism opportunities throughout the state. This initiative includes the streamlining of hunting and fishing licensing and reducing license fees, improved access for fishing at various sites across the state, and increasing hunting opportunities in various regions. In support of this initiative, Governor Cuomo this year has proposed the creation of 50 new land access projects, which will 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 gone untapped until now. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the Governor's budget includes $4 million to repair the state's fish hatcheries.

Applications for the Pheasant Release Program must be filed with a DEC regional wildlife manager by March 15, 2014 (see contact information below). A "Pheasant Rearing Guide" and additional information on the Day-Old Chick Program is available on the DEC website.

R1 - Nassau and Suffolk counties:
SUNY at Stony Brook
50 Circle Road
Stony Brook, NY 11790
(631) 444-0310

R3 - Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties:
21 South Putt Corners Rd.
New Paltz, NY 12561
(845) 256-3098

R4 - Albany, Columbia, Delaware, Greene, Montgomery, Otsego, Rensselaer, Schenectady and Schoharie counties:
65561 State Hwy 10, Suite 1
Stamford, NY 12167
(607) 652-7367

R5 - Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties:
1115 Route 86, PO Box 296
Ray Brook, NY 12977
(518) 897-1291

R6 - Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida and St. Lawrence counties:
317 Washington Street
Watertown, NY 13601
(315) 785-2263

R7 - Broome, Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga, Oswego, Tioga and Tompkins counties:
1285 Fisher Ave.
Cortland, NY 13045
(607) 753-3095 x 247

R8 - Chemung, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne and Yates counties:
6274 East Avon-Lima Rd.
Avon, NY 14414
(585) 226-5380

R9 - Allegany, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Erie, Niagara and Wyoming counties:
182 East Union, Suite 3
Allegany, NY 14706-1328
(716) 372-0645

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