Pheasant Hunting Release Program
A Provincial Pheasant Release Program for put-and-take hunting was initiated in 1932. In 2014, ACA took over the role of funding and administering the program. Release sites from previous years were used in 2014, and a new site was initiated near Edmonton (Camrose area). The 49 release sites are roughly grouped into six geographic areas: Medicine Hat (18 sites), Brooks (8 sites), Lethbridge (17 sites), Strathmore (2 sites), Stettler (3 sites) and Camrose (1 site). We released at two types of sites varying by frequency and number of birds released each week: 1) 14 sites have multiple releases each week with approximately 100 to 400 birds released depending on the specific site, and 2) 35 sites have only one release each week with approximately 25 birds per site per week.
In 2014/15, roughly 75% of birds were released on 30% of the sites, with the remaining 25% of birds distributed between the other 35 sites. In the past, the location of release sites has been influenced by the location of the Brooks Pheasant Hatchery as well as the distribution of wild pheasants. With closure of the hatchery, we brought in all birds from MacFarlane Pheasants in Wisconsin. We distributed 17,080 male pheasants in fall 2014 for put-and-take hunting. To improve awareness of the program and involvement by hunters, we created a map of the release sites and posted it on our website, along with detailed directions to the sites. Seven Alberta Fish & Game Association clubs provided volunteers to help release birds at select sites, and ACA staff and contractors completed releases when volunteers were not available. We increased the number of pheasants released for put-and-take hunting by 7% from 2013. Feedback from hunters has been very positive and encouraging.
Bob Byers, Bob Williams, Camrose Fish & Game Association, Cardston Fish & Game Association, Coulee Game Birds (Harold Fukuda), Dirt Willy Game Bird Farm and Hatchery (Rick Wood-Samman), Ed and Angela Look, Fort Macleod Fish & Game Association, Lethbridge Fish & Game Association, Medicine Hat Fish & Game Association, Picture Butte Fish & Game Association, Steve Potter, Strathmore Fish & Game Association
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