Prior to the release, it has been three years since the state had introduced wild pheasants into any of the state’s Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas, which hopes to restore the state’s wild ring-necked pheasant population to the point they can be hunted.
In addition to the 58 Montana pheasants which have been released, about 10 more are slated to be shipped to Pennsylvania and released in the Franklin County WPRA in the coming days.
The Franklin County WPRA was established in 2011, and was initially slated to receive wild pheasants in early 2012. The WPRA is located in the southwestern part of Franklin County and centers roughly on the borough of Mercersburg. U.S. Route 30 forms the WPRA’s northern border, and the WPRA runs south to the Mason-Dixon Line.
The Franklin County WPRA is among four that have been established in Pennsylvania. Pheasants previously have been released into the Central Susquehanna WPRA, which is located in parts of Northumberland, Montour, Columbia and Lycoming counties; the Somerset WPRA in Somerset County; and the Hegins-Gratz Valley WPRA in Schuylkill and Dauphin counties.
Only trapped-and-transferred wild pheasants are introduced into a WPRA, given their heightened chances for survival in the wild, compared to propagated birds.
There is no open season for taking pheasants in any Wild Pheasant Recovery Area, and releases of propagated pheasants also are prohibited there. Training dogs and hunting small game other than woodchucks, waterfowl and crows are prohibited within a WPRA from the first Sunday in February to July 31.
The Game Commission seeks the public’s help in making WPRAs more successful. Pheasant success within any WPRA relies on the availability of adequate nesting and wintering habitat, and privately held land accounts for most of the acreage within the WPRAs. Those who are interested in creating or enhancing pheasant habitat on land they own can contact the Game Commission’s WPRA biologist Colleen DeLong at 570-380-0833, or contact their local Pheasants Forever chapter.
The public also can help to monitor the success of WPRAs by calling the Game Commission if they see pheasants – especially hens or chicks – within a WPRA, or calling the phone number on leg bands of any dead pheasants they might find within a WPRA.
People also are asked to leave pheasant nests within WPRAs undisturbed and to avoid mowing grassy or brushy habitat there.
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