Game Commission and Pheasants Forever invite junior hunters to pursue wild birds once again.
For the second year in a row, 48 junior hunters will have the chance this fall to harvest wild pheasant roosters in Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission today announced the application process for the second annual Central Susquehanna Wild Pheasant Recovery Area (WPRA) youth hunt.
Junior hunters between the ages of 12 and 16 are eligible to apply, and each applicant must obtain a 2018-19 Pennsylvania junior hunting or combination license, as well as a free 2018-19 junior pheasant permit, prior to applying. Applications must be filled out online and submitted by the close of business on Friday, Aug. 3.
Applicants will be selected at random during a Aug. 17 drawing, and those who are selected for permits will be notified by Aug. 24.
Youth hunters will be assigned one Saturday hunt date, either the morning of Nov. 3 or Nov. 10, and each hunter will be assigned a “hunt mentor” to ensure safety and guide the permittee. The Game Commission encourages each permittee to be accompanied by an adult parent or guardian so the experience can be shared. Following the hunt, permittees and their guests are invited to attend a free luncheon provided by Pheasants Forever.
Applications, can be found at https://pgcdatacollection.pa.gov/PheasantYouthHuntApplication.
Pennsylvania’s pheasant hunting tradition started in the early 20th century with the introduction of Asian ring-necked pheasants, which acclimated rapidly in the Commonwealth’s agricultural areas, becoming one of the state’s most popular small-game species.
Wild pheasant populations continued to grow through the 1960s and peaked in the early 1970s. However, changing agricultural practices, land development, and re-forestation led to a decline of wild pheasants throughout the state and, by the end of the 20th century, it was unknown if viable wild populations still existed.
The Game Commission continued to raise and release game-farm pheasants, but hunters still longed for the glory days of hunting wild birds. The agency searched for solutions, including investigating whether a wild breeding population of pheasants could be restored.
The WPRA program was a key objective within the 2008-2017 Ring-necked Pheasant Management Plan for Pennsylvania and looked to identify four potential habitat areas of at least 10,000 acres where wild pheasants from western states could be stocked once suitable habitat was developed. The primary goal of the program was to restore habitat suitable to pheasants and other farmland wildlife to support a self-sustaining and huntable ring-necked pheasant populations.
This effort was initiated by the formation of a partnership between the Game Commission, Pheasants Forever, and dedicated landowners within proposed management and release sites. Of the four Pennsylvania WPRAs, the Central Susquehanna WPRA, located in Northumberland, Montour, and Columbia counties, experienced the most significant wild pheasant population increase since the initial release of 992 wild-trapped birds from South Dakota and Montana.