Pennsylvania Game Commission Northwest Region Director Keith Harbaugh today announced that agency employees are releasing ring-necked pheasants throughout the 10-county region this week in preparation for the season opener on Saturday, Oct. 22.
"The Game Commission releases birds as close to the opening day of the season as manpower and equipment will permit," Harbaugh said. "By doing so, harvest rates by hunters can be maximized; providing a better return of birds to the hunter's bag. There will be 13,620 pheasants released throughout the season.
Flooding at two of the agency's game farms during Tropical Storm Lee resulted in the loss of nearly 31,000 birds. This unfortunate loss resulted in a 25 percent reduction in the number of birds that were released for the youth-only hunt and a 30 percent reduction in the overall stocking schedule. No birds will be available for release for the late season Dec. 12-23 and Dec. 26-Feb. 4.
Hunters are reminded that pheasant harvest is restricted by sex in the various Wildlife Management Units (WMU). Please check the seasons and corresponding WMUs on page 21 of the 2011-12 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations. WMU maps can be found on pages 40-43 of the Digest or refer to the Game Commission's website at www.pgc.state.pa.us (choose "Wildlife" on the top of the homepage, then click on the "Habitat Management" and select the "Wildlife Management Units" of interest). Pheasants are stocked on State Game Lands and other lands open to public hunting with suitable pheasant habitat.
Opening day of the regular pheasant season begins Saturday, Oct. 22, and concludes on Saturday, Nov. 26. The late season pheasant hunting dates are Dec. 12-23, and Dec. 26-Feb.4. Over the course of the season, 73,390 pheasants will be released throughout Pennsylvania.