4-H Raise and Release

Did you know Alberta was once famous for pheasant hunting? The birds thrived across the prairie.

Until they didn’t. With changing farming practices, pheasants slowly lost the remnant patches of grass, wetlands, and shrub-lined edges they so heavily rely on.

The good news? Since pheasants are so adaptable, and with some attention to field-edge areas, they can thrive again. Today the biggest game-changers in the future of pheasants are youth. 4-H clubs and Boy Scout groups, as well as schools, Fish & Game clubs and landowners, are taking action with the raise and release program.

How does raise and release work?

  • Participants receive day-old pheasant chicks and raise them to the age of 14 weeks.
  • The pheasants are released at 14 weeks.
  • In southern Alberta, the female pheasants are released into suitable habitat with the hope that some will live out the year to raise chicks of their own.
  • In the north, where potential for survival is more remote, participants raise roosters to create recreational hunting opportunities.

As the project grows, so does the number of pheasants! We’ve gone from 1,525 pheasants (in 2014) to 17,940 pheasant chicks (2017) successfully raised and released into quality habitat.

How does ACA help?

ACA biologists guide participants and teach them what habitat resources will help their pheasants make it in the real world. They learn about balancing the needs of pheasants with modern farming practices.

How can I help?

This project costs $158,247.

To help offset costs for youth to continue raise and release pheasants, donate now.


  • 4-H Alberta
  • Calgary Fish & Game Association
  • Dennis and Cheryl Meyer
  • Lethbridge Fish & Game Association
  • MacFarlane Pheasants
  • Southern Alberta Bow Hunters Association
  • Wheatland Conservation & Wildlife Association