Attempts to bring wild pheasants to Pennsylvania this year aren’t going so well.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission received permission from the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks to trap 300 wild pheasants there. The goal was to release them on some of this state’s state’s wild pheasant recovery areas.
The weather’s not been cooperating, though.
It takes cold, snowy weather to lure wild pheasants to traps, Scott Klinger, a biologist with the commission. But the weather in South Dakota has been so unusually mild that no birds have been caught so far, he said.
There’s still hope, though, he added. The commission will continue pursuing birds through the end of February.
In the meantime, the commission has learned a little bit about the wild pheasants it’s stocked over the last few years, he said. Specifically, they’re homebodies.
Tracking released birds using telemetry equipment has shown that females typically travel no more than 0.5 miles from their release site, and males no more than 0.7 miles.
“What we’re seeing is, if birds are put in good habitat, they do not go far,” Klinger said.
That’s fine as far as creating clusters of wild birds goes, he said. But the state’s pheasant management plan calls for creating huntable populations.
“And that means we need to have more than those good clusters,” Klinger said.