The State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has adopted a new plan for wild and state-propagated ring-necked pheasants for the next decade. The plan incorporates information gathered by DEC biologists and input from sportsmen with the goal of fostering and continuing the tradition of pheasant hunting in NY for years to come.
NY’s wild pheasant population has declined by more than 90% since peaks in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Numerous factors contributed to the decline, but the main causes are loss of fallow grasslands for nesting and brood-rearing, a decline in grain farming, and expanding commercial and residential development. Most of the pheasants hunted in NY come from the state’s pheasant programs. More than 100,000 pheasants are hatched for fall stocking. The new plan includes:
- Establishing an area in western NY to concentrate efforts for wild pheasant management. By using available resources, the state hope to determine if increasing wild pheasant populations is possible under current biological, social, and fiscal conditions.
- Extending pheasant hunting seasons in most areas of the state to provide greater hunting opportunities.
- Reducing the size of the cock-only hunting area in western NY to reflect changing habitat and land use.
- Discontinuing the Young Pheasant Release Program (YPRP) after 2010, while continuing the Cooperative Day-old Pheasant Chick Program.
- Increasing adult pheasant production from 25,000 to 30,000 birds annually beginning in 2011.
- Discontinuing the supply of adult birds for field trials.
- Establishing one or more pheasant hunting areas for people with disabilities.