Pa. pheasant hunters have chance to hunt more than 23,000 newly-released birds next week

STAFF REPORT
Statewide, more than 23,000 pheasants will be stocked on Dec. 22 and Dec. 23.

Pennsylvania’s pheasant hunters have one last opportunity this season to hunt newly-released birds.

According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the seventh-and-final pheasant releases of 2020 are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 22 and Dec. 23. More than 10% of the pheasants allocated for release in 2020 are stocked during these late-season releases. Statewide, more than 23,000 pheasants will be stocked for the late season.

“These pheasant releases just before Christmas provide incentive for hunters to get outdoors at a time of year when they might have an extra day or two off to spend in solitude or safely with friends and family,” said Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans in a news release. “On some tracts, the birds to be released will provide hunting opportunity through the end of the season; some pheasants always make it through. It’s part of why small-game hunters look forward to winter so much.”

Pheasant hunting presently is open statewide. Pheasants may be hunted on the days of the releases, as well as on Dec. 24. All hunting is closed on Christmas, but the season reopens on Dec. 26 and runs through Feb. 27. There is no Sunday hunting for the remainder of the 2020-21 season, other than for foxes, coyotes and crows during open seasons.

Except for senior lifetime license-buyers who bought their lifetime hunting or combination licenses prior to May 13, 2017, all hunters pursuing pheasants need a pheasant permit in addition to their general license. For adults and nonexempted senior hunters, the permit costs $26.90. For junior hunters and mentored permit holders under 17, the permit is free.

Both male and female pheasants now can be harvested statewide, except for within the state’s two Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas, where pheasant hunting is closed, except as authorized by Game Commission executive order.

A hunter’s daily limit of pheasants is two, and the possession limit is six.

All pheasant hunters, at all times, must wear a minimum of 250 square inches of fluorescent orange on the head, chest and back combined, with orange visible from 360 degrees. Shotguns used when hunting pheasants must be 10 gauge or less, with a capacity of no more than three shells in the chamber and magazine combined.

Pheasant hunters who encounter Game Commission pheasant-stocking trucks are reminded that also a safety zone is established around the release site. It’s unlawful to discharge a firearm within 150 yards of a Game Commission vehicle if its occupants are releasing pheasants.

Statewide in 2020, more than 218,000 pheasants were allocated for release.

To learn more about pheasant releases and the tracts on which pheasants are stocked, visit the interactive stocking map and pheasant-allocation breakdowns at www.pgc.pa.gov.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission provided the information for this story.