The Department of Environmental Conservation will accept pheasant release program applications until March 15.
The department’s Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program aims to enhance pheasant hunting in New York.
The program provides pheasant hunting opportunities through a partnership amongst DEC, 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 (please refer to offices listed below) for applications and additional information.
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, 2013 - see contact information below.