Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winter Pheasant Releases Underway Statewide in PA

Stocking in some areas will be delayed by avian cholera outbreak affecting 2,400 birds.

          Friday December 20th marked the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s last scheduled pheasant stockings of the season, but some lands that were scheduled to be stocked will wait a few weeks longer for their pheasants. 

          An outbreak of avian cholera was detected in a pen last week at the Game Commission’s Loyalsock Game Farm, and about 2,400 pheasants that were to be released Friday now won’t be released until their medical treatments have concluded.

That means hunters in several areas will have to wait a bit longer for the final stocking of the year.

          All stockings to be postponed are in Wildlife Management Units where either-sex pheasant hunting regulations are in place. Affected counties, by region, include:

          Northcentral Region: Clearfield County; Southcentral Region: Cumberland and Franklin counties; Northeast Region: Carbon and Monroe counties; and Southeast Region: Berks, Bucks, Chester, Lehigh and Montgomery counties. 

Avian cholera is a bacterial infection that is contagious among birds and can affect other animals, but typically presents no human health risk. 

          The birds that will be released at a delayed date are undergoing antibiotic treatment that will last 10 to 14 days. They then must be given seven days to withdraw from the medicines before being released.

          The birds will be released at a date to be announced in the future.

          These 2,400 pheasants from the Loyalsock Game Farm represent only a portion of those that had been scheduled for release Friday.

          Nearly 9,000 pheasants remain scheduled for release this week. The Game Commission’s game farms have been having an above-average production year. The goal of releasing 200,000 pheasants has been surpassed, and more than 209,000 have been released so far this year.

          For more information on pheasant stocking, visit the Game Commission’s website, The “Pheasant” page can be found can be found in the “Small Game” under the “Hunting” tab. Click on “Pheasant Allocation” to see a schedule broken down by region. Regional schedules can also be accessed through this page.

Late-season pheasant hunting opened statewide Dec. 16. Only males may be harvested in some WMUs, while other WMUs are open to males or females. For local regulations, consult the 2013-14 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest. The upcoming winter-season release is designed to release excess hens into WMUs that have either-sex hunting areas.

          Pheasant season is closed on Christmas Day, but otherwise runs until Feb. 22

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