Pheasant program has rich history in Pennsylvania

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HARRISBURG, Pa. — In 1929, the Pennsylvania Game Commission began the propagation of pheasants on an extensive scale with the establishment of two game farms.

Over the next six decades, to offset the increasing demand for pheasants from hunters, three other farms were placed into operation, and the day-old pheasant chick program was implemented and made available to sportsmen’s organizations, 4-H clubs, farmers, and other cooperators for rearing and releasing on areas open to public hunting.

In 1959, the number of pheasant chicks distributed to cooperators reached 229,685, an all-time high, in addition to the more than 88,500 pheasants raised and released by the agency at its four game farms.

Unfortunately, cooperator participation has dwindled significantly over the last few decades. In recent years, only a dozen or so clubs have participated, raising and releasing 3,000-4,000 birds.

Since 1890s

During the early 1890s, Pennsylvania citizens purchased pheasants from English gamekeepers and released them in Lehigh and Northampton counties.

In the early 1900s, the game commission set aside a special appropriation of funds to purchase and propagate game.

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