The Pennsylvania Game Commission is finalizing a study to assess harvest rates of ring-necked pheasants raised on game farms, then released to provide hunting opportunities in Pennsylvania.
Game Commission wildlife biometrician Josh Johnson said about 5,500 pheasants were banded before release on public lands last fall.
It’s crucial for the success of this study that hunters report leg band information from harvested birds, or even from those found dead from other causes, by March 31, 2016, by calling the toll-free number on the band. After March 31, 2016, the toll-free number will be closed and reward redemption will expire.
Johnson said he’s pleased with the reporting response so far, as more than 2,000 bands have been reported.
“We thank all the dedicated hunters who have taken the time to report their pheasant bands. Reporting bands provides important information that will be used to assess future stocking strategies, and it shows support for the pheasant stocking program,” he said.
A similar study on pheasant harvest rates was conducted in the fall of 1998. That study found about 50 percent of pheasants stocked by the Game Commission were harvested.
Since then, however, many changes to pheasant-stocking strategies have been implemented. These changes aim for higher harvest rates, but harvest rates have not been evaluated since the changes took place.
Results from this current study will shed further light to redefine the pheasant-stocking program.
A report summarizing the analyzed data from the leg bands should be available this fall.