Pennsylvania has been without any truly wild pheasant for several years. With a hunter's only option to see a pheasant was in areas that were stocked. This will finally come to an end this fall. Wild birds will be hunted in limited numbers inside WPRA (Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas) this year.
Up until now, pheasants in these areas were not permitted to be hunted. Instead they were allowed to use again to start breeding in these managed areas, that were being tailored to pheasant ideal habits. 2017 will mark the first year these pheasants will be able to be hunting with a very limited number of youth hunt permits being granted in a random drawing. Forty-eight total permits will be given out this year.
For more information about this special youth hunt, click here.
"Most of Pennsylvania experienced a very mild winter in 2016-17". This was our second year in a row with only one or two significant snow events within the range of our WRPAs, and abnormally warm temperatures, during the winter months. These events were short, and most birds had easy access to the ground without snow or ice buildup.
The 2017 spring in Pennsylvania brought consistent mixes of rain and sun as well as warm temperatures early on. This has allowed for a phenomenal growing season to date which should provide excellent cover and food for both broods and adults as they head into the fall and winter.
Within our Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas we have seen a steady loss of habitat, which means Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) acres. We're currently in the process of analyzing population estimates, but looking at raw data from flushing surveys and spring crowing counts, we have some WPRAs that show strong wild populations, while others have seen declines. As a biologist you always have to have an optimistic outlook though." - Tom Keller, Wildlife Biologist with the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
Starting this year, there will be a $26.90 pheasant hunting permit to help defray the costs of the pheasant propagation programs throughout Pennsylvania. Junior hunters are exempt from needing this hunting permit.
Photo Credit: Steven Earley