Attention: Final pheasant releases November 19th.
We’re releasing the last of the pheasants this week. Get out there and enjoy the weekend. And when you come home having successfully harvested your limit, check out harvestyourown.ca for some amazing pheasant recipes.
This upcoming fall will be the third season that Alberta Conservation Association (ACA) is administering the Provincial Pheasant Release Program.
ACA plans to release 26,000 pheasants on over 41 sites between September and November in 2016. Buffalo, Bigelow, Hopewell, Daysland, South Plain Lake (all located in WMU 200s) and Whitetail North (WMU 522) will be ready to hunt on September 15. The southern release sites' (WMU 100s) season starts October 15. We will provide further updates closer to that time.
To ensure an ethical hunt, we do not reveal release times or specific dates.
A friendly reminder
There is no need to ask permission to access most of the pheasant release sites run by ACA; however, there are a few sites in southern Alberta located on private land where the landowner needs to be informed prior to access.
Most of our release sites are surrounded by private land. Be respectful and remember to ask permission from the landowner before chasing a pheasant onto someone’s private property.
Pheasants and clean water
Perhaps the most important component of this program is engaging landowners, counties and other conservation groups about existing habitat issues and the solutions that are available that support pheasant survival. The permanent cover, shrub and cattail patches and healthy riparian areas that are essential for pheasants, also improve water quality in our watersheds—providing benefits for a multitude of other wildlife in Alberta.
ACA provides opportunities for veteran pheasant hunters and beginners alike. Supporting work that enhances pheasant habitat depends on continued participation by all.
Message from the President
Last year, almost 9,000 people took to the fields and grasslands of Alberta to hunt for pheasants, and many took advantage of the pheasant release program and the 41 release sites located around the province. While the vast majority of pheasant hunters were respectful, there were a few that seemed unsure of the etiquette and ethics involved.
Pheasant release sites have been established to provide an increased hunting opportunity, not an increased shooting opportunity. That means that even though birds have been released on the site we cannot guarantee that you will get your limit of birds, or even see your limit of birds. Just like in every other kind of hunting, there is the possibility that you will go home empty-handed. Obviously this is not the greatest outcome from a day of hunting but it should never be considered a "wasted day"; you were still out hunting!
ACA will not provide the schedule as to when the birds will be released, and this year we will make a greater effort to vary the day and time that the truck arrives at various sites so that people do not "hunt the release truck." Shooting birds as they are released from a truck is at the very least, unsporting and many would say, unethical. If you are on-site when the release truck arrives, please refrain from shooting until the truck is gone. This gives the birds a couple minutes to figure out where they are and ensures there is no risk to the release-truck driver.
I am very happy to receive feedback about the release sites and any constructive criticism that may help improve things as we move forward. Please do not hesitate to contact me.
We will be releasing 26,000 roosters this fall. Good luck, shoot straight and enjoy this hunting season.
Todd Zimmerling, M.Sc., PhD., P.Biol.
President and CEO