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Pheasant foster families sought for newborn release program

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HUDSON VALLEY, NY – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is once again on the hunt for homes for newborn pheasants until they can finally be released back into the wild .

Due to the nature of the program, however, not all newborns are guaranteed happy forever.

Applications are now open for the DEC’s Cooperative Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program, which allows people to participate in raising and releasing pheasants to “enhance fall hunting opportunities”, a announced New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos. The program is a partnership with hunters, 4-H youth and interested landowners.

“Pheasant hunting has a long history in New York City and remains popular among hunters,” Commissioner Seggos said. “The Day-old Pheasant Chick Program is a great way to experience the outdoors and raise pheasants while providing hunters with the opportunity to learn about breeding.”

The Day-Old Pheasant Chick program began in the early 1900s when the state Department of Conservation (a precursor to the DEC) distributed pheasant eggs and chicks to farmers and rural youth. The tradition continues to this day.

Day-old chicks are available free of charge to participants who can provide a brooding facility, a covered outdoor rearing pen and an adequate release site. Successful applicants will receive day-old chicks in April, May or June.

No chicks obtained through the day-old pheasant chick program may be released into private game preserves and all release sites must be approved in advance by the DEC and be open to hunting opportunities. public pheasant.

Applicants are required to provide daily care for fast-growing chicks, monitor bird health, and ensure chicks have sufficient feed and water. Pheasants can be released from the age of eight weeks and must be released no later than December 1.

The program is funded by the state Conservation Fund from license fees paid by hunters, trappers and anglers.

In 2021, DEC distributed over 34,500 day-old pheasant chicks to qualified applicants.

While the program may be part of a long-standing tradition, this year the DEC moved to an online application process.

The app is on the Day-old Pheasant Chick Program webpageas well as a “Pheasant Breeding Guide (PDF)”.

Applications must be submitted by March 25. For questions about the program or eligibility, email [email protected] or call 607-273-2768.