Pheasant Releases to Enhance Hunting Opportunities

Upland game bird hunting is a long-standing tradition in Alberta. Following the introduction of the ring-necked pheasant in the early 1900s, wild populations became established in select areas of southern Alberta. To accommodate the high demand for hunting opportunities, the Government of Alberta started a hatchery in 1945 and created the Provincial Pheasant Release Program, which saw thousands of hatchery-raised pheasants released onto the landscape each fall. The hatchery was eventually privatized due to government cutbacks and closed in 2013. Alberta Conservation Association (ACA) took over the release program in 2014, with the overall goal of providing greater hunting opportunity for Albertans.

We developed a web page that shows a map with directions to release sites and expanded the number of sites to 41, from Lac Cardinal near Peace River in the northwest to several sites south and east of Medicine Hat. We continue to partner with five Fish & Game clubs in southern Alberta who play key roles in the weekly release of pheasants at 22 sites from Medicine Hat to Cardston.

We also partnered with several local growers within Alberta who raised male pheasants for release at several of our sites. MacFarlane Pheasants continues to be our main supplier of adult birds for release; they deliver birds multiple times per week at 17 sites, as well as supplying some of the birds for the Peace River area. The more northern sites initiate releases September 1 for nine weeks, while those further south correspond with the later opening day for pheasants beginning October 15.

We continue to receive strong support from those participating in this hunting opportunity. These release sites are an excellent opportunity to introduce someone new to upland hunting, and a nice addition to the opportunities for wild hunts on a variety of game birds throughout the province.


Capital Power, Cardston Fish & Game Association, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Fort Macleod Fish & Game Association, Government of Alberta, Lethbridge Fish & Game Association, MacFarlane Pheasants, Medicine Hat Fish & Game Association, Peace River Fish & Game Association, Picture Butte Fish & Game Association

Annual Summaries

Title Year Category
Pheasant Hunting Release Program 2014-2015 2
Pheasant Release Program 2015-2016 2
Pheasant Release Program 2016-2017 2
Pheasant Release Program 2017-2018 2
Pheasant Release Program 2018-2019 2
Pheasant Release Program 2019-2020 2
Pheasant Release Program 2020-2021 2
Pheasant Releases to Enhance Hunting Opportunities 2021-2022 2
Pheasant Releases To Enhance Hunting Opportunities 2022-2023 2