The opening of the application period for its cooperative Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program to enhance opportunities for pheasant hunting in New York has begun.
The program provides pheasant hunting opportunities through a partnership amongst Department of Environmental Conservation, sportsmen and sportswomen, 4-H youth and landowners who are interested in rearing and releasing pheasants.
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 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.
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 for applications and additional information. The office covering Chautauqua County can be contacted at 372-0645 or 182 East Union, Suite 3, Allegany, N.Y. 14706-1328
In 2012, DEC distributed 42,408 day-old pheasant chicks to qualified 4-H and sportsmen applicants. Applications must be filed with a DEC regional wildlife manager by March 15.