The DEC has announced that applications are now available for  DEC's cooperative Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program, which allows people to take part in raising and releasing pheasants to enhance hunting opportunities.

The Department of Environmental Conservation Basil Seggos said:

For more than a century, volunteers have been working with DEC to successfully raise and release pheasant chicks to bolster hunting opportunities in New York State. The Day-OId Pheasant Chick Program is a great way to learn about animal husbandry and wildlife management

The program began in the early 1900s, which at that point the Conservation Department distributed the pheasant eggs and chicks to farmers and rural youth, and the DEC continues that tradition today. The chicks are available at no cost to participants, as long as they can provide a brooding facility, covered outdoor rearing pen, and an adequate release site.

Applicants are required to provide daily care to the fast-growing chicks, monitor their health, and ensure they are fed and provide water. The pheasants may be released when they are eight weeks old and must be released no later than December 1, 2021. The birds can not be released on shooting preserves and all release sites must be approved by the DEC in advance and be open for public pheasant hunting opportunities.

In 2020, the DEC released more than 31,500 day-old pheasant chicks to qualified applicants. A Pheasant Rearing Guide is available on the DEC's website. You can also stop by your local DEC Office for more information regarding the pheasant release program.

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