Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas Continue For 2010-11
HARRISBURG, PA –-(AmmoLand.com)- The Board of Game Commissioners today gave preliminary approval to a continue a major change in pheasant hunting designed to be a major step toward re-establishing wild pheasant populations in Pennsylvania.
The agency’s Ring-necked Pheasant Management Plan calls for restoring self-sustaining and hunt-able populations of wild pheasants in suitable habitats called “Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas” (WPRAs). In 2009, the Board created three such areas, defined as the Pike Run, Somerset and Central Susquehanna WPRAs. The agency is releasing wild-trapped pheasants into these areas, with a goal of achieving a density of 10 hen pheasants per square mile.
To give these wild pheasants the best opportunity to establish naturally reproducing populations, the Board has continued its ban on releasing of any artificially propagated pheasants – including Game Commission raised pheasants –within these WPRAs. Also, to limit disturbances to nesting hen pheasants, dog training of any manner will continue to be prohibited in these WPRAs from the end of small game season in early February through July 31 each year.
“Working with major partners, such as Pheasants Forever, the California University of Pennsylvania and local landowners, we already have a jump-start on creating WPRAs,” said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. “These groups have invested in creating the necessary pheasant habitat in three areas of the state. To make the best use of the agency’s resources, and with the support of these partners, we are going to identify these areas as the first WPRAs in the state.
“While we hope to identify more, the Game Commission will continue to raise and release pheasants on public lands with suitable pheasant habitat each fall. And, should we receive additional revenues, we plan to increase our pheasant production level to 250,000 birds, as noted in the Ring-necked Pheasant Management Plan.”
For the 2010-11 seasons, the WPRAs continue to be defined as follows:
(1) Pike Run WPRA: The portion of Washington County, WMU 2A, bounded on the east by the Monongahela River, on the north by I-70, on the west by PA Rt. 917 to Swagler Rd. to Spring Valley Rd. to PA Rt. 2015 to Lone Pine Rd. to the intersection with Tenmile Creek in West Zollarsville, and bounded on the south by Tenmile Creek.
(2) Somerset WPRA: That portion of Somerset County, WMU 2C, bounded on the western side starting at the intersection of Coleman Station Rd. and Stutzmantown Rd. proceeding south on Coleman Station Rd., crossing SR 31, to Brotherton Rd., continuing south to Round Hill Rd., then east onto Wills Church Rd., then to Archery Rd. The boundary then follows Berlin Plank Rd. (US Rt. 219) south into the town of Berlin where it joins the Mason Dixon Hwy. (US Rt. 219) proceeding south to Pine Hill Rd. to Walker School Rd. then east on Maple Valley Rd., to Sawmill Rd. to the Cumberland Hwy. (SR 160). The boundary then follows the Cumberland Hwy. (SR 160) south to Salco Rd. and then proceeds north on Salco Rd. to Huckleberry Hwy. (SR 160) in the town of Berlin. The boundary follows Huckleberry Hwy. (SR 160) north, crossing SR 31, to the intersection of Roxbury Rd., then north to Shanksville Rd. The boundary then proceeds north to Stutzmantown Rd., then west to the beginning at the intersection of Coleman Station Rd.
(3) Central Susquehanna WPRA: Portions of WMU 4E in Northumberland, Montour, Columbia and Lycoming counties from the West Branch of the Susquehanna River south to the intersection with PA Rt. 642 and the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in Milton. The southern boundary is defined by PA Rt. 642 east from Milton to Mausdale, then north on PA Rt. 642 to just south of Jerseytown, proceeding east on Eyersgrove Rd. to Eyers Grove at PA Rt.42. Proceeding south on PA Rt. 42 to Mordansville, northeast of Mordansville along Robbins Rd. (Rt. 600) to Mordansville Rd. (Rt. 541), south on Millertown Rd. (Rt. 4011), then continuing east to follow Mount Pleasant Rd. (Rt. 4020) and Mount Pleasant St. (PA Rt. 4034) to Orangeville at the southeast corner of the WPRA. PA Rt. 487 lines the eastern boundary from Orangeville north to Maple Grove/intersection with PA Rt. 254. The northern boundary begins with PA Rt. 254 west of Maple Grove to the intersection with Winters Rd. (Rt. 459) proceeding west to the intersection with Austin Trail (PA Rt. 4039). Continuing west on Owl Rd. (Rt. 599), north and west on Reese Rd. (Rt. 578), and north and west on Trivelpiece Rd. (Rt. 576). Eagle Rd. (PA Rt. 4037) then continues northwest to the intersection with Whitehorse Rd./Whitehorse Pike (Rt. 661) heading west to just south of Sereno, and then south on PA Rt. 42 to Millville. From Millville, proceeding southwest on PA Rt. 254 to Jerseytown. Then northwest on PA Rt. 44, north on Swartz Rd., west on Shultz Rd., north on Ants Hill Rd., west on Wolf Hollow Rd., then north on Katy’s Church Rd. Crossing into Lycoming County and proceeding northwest on G Wagner Rd., west on Ridge Rd., crossing into Montour County, southwest on County Line Rd., south on Muncy Exchange Rd. (PA Rt. 1003), west on Hickory Rd. (PA Rt. 1008), west on Mingle Rd. (Rt. 433), west on Hickory Rd. (PA Rt. 1008) for the second time, and proceeding north on Gearhart Hollow Rd. (Rt. 441). Continuing west on Showers Rd. (PA Rt. 1010), crossing into Northumberland County, proceeding north and west on Pugmore Lane, north on Hockley Hill Rd. (PA Rt. 1011), west on Miller Rd. (Rt. 653), continuing southwest on Balliet Rd. (Rt. 664). Proceeding northwest and west on Schmidt Rd. (Rt. 564). continuing north on Susquehanna Trail (PA Rt. 1007), continuing west on Hughes Rd. (Rt. 655), crossing under I-180, proceeding south on Crawford Rd. (Rt. 507) to PA Rt. 54. Proceeding northwest on PA Rt. 54 to the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.
A native of Asia, pheasants were brought to North America back in the mid 1700s, but these early attempts to introduce pheasants to the continent were unsuccessful. It wasn’t until 1881, in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, that pheasants first became established.
During the early 1890s, Pennsylvania citizens purchased pheasants from English gamekeepers and released them in Lehigh and Northampton counties. For several decades, many other small releases were made across the Commonwealth to establish pheasants for sport hunting.
In the early 1900s, the Game Commission set aside a special appropriation of funds to purchase and propagate game. Pheasant eggs were purchased and given to agency refuge keepers, sportsmen’s organizations and private individuals interested in raising pheasants. The first stocking of pheasants by the Game Commission occurred by 1915.
Habitat loss, from urban/suburban sprawl to changes in agricultural practices, had an impact on Pennsylvania’s naturally-reproducing pheasant populations. Additionally, budget constraints forced the Game Commission, in 2005, to reduce its annual pheasant stocking allocation from 200,000 to 100,000.
For more information on pheasants and the history of the agency’s pheasant management plan and propagation program, visit the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us), select “Hunting” then click on the photograph of the pheasant.