Pheasant hunting inequities outlined
TribLIVE Sports Videos
All pheasant hunting opportunities aren't created equal.
Hunters, if given the choice, prefer to shoot pheasant roosters to hens, said Bob Boyd, the Pennsylvania Game Commission's wildlife services division chief and the man in charge of its pheasant propagation program.
“That's a no brainer,” he said.
Yet, their chances to do that are better in some places than others.
The commission has a goal of raising 200,000 pheasants for stocking each year. This year, it's going to have about 220,000 to release, Boyd said.
Those birds are born at a male-to-female ratio of one-to-one. But, Boyd said, when it comes time to release them, they aren't distributed equally.
Currently, in six wildlife management units, hunters can shoot only cockbirds. Consequently, 100 percent of those stocked are roosters.
In the state's other 17 units, where either-sex hunting is legal — representing 73 percent of Pennsylvania's land mass and 65 percent of hunters — only 35 percent of the birds stocked are roosters.
That requires moving birds around, adds expense to the stocking program, causes additional mortality and is perceived by some as being unfair, Boyd said. The commission could avoid all that by changing the rules to allow for statewide either-sex hunting, which would give hunters a 60-40 mix of roosters to hens in all units, he added.
“Maybe it's time we think a little more seriously about this either-sex option, with the exception of the wild pheasant recovery areas,” Boyd said.
Hunters are somewhat split on the idea.
According to a recent commission survey, 58 percent of pheasant hunters overall support the idea of either-sex pheasant hunting in areas without wild birds.
There's more support for that in areas that already have either-sex hunting than in areas without it, though. Sixty-two percent of hunters support it in the former, compared to 48 percent in the latter.
Count commissioner Jay Delaney among those opposed to the idea.
He said the board debated the idea of going to statewide either-sex hunting “extensively” last year. It rejected it, to protect any wild birds on the landscape, he noted. He hasn't changed his mind.
“I personally wouldn't support that,” Delaney said.
Boyd said that, if staff were to propose a change, it might be during the agency's January meeting, when preliminary seasons and bag limits for 2015-16 will be outlined.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Some species overlooked more than ever by Pennsylvania hunters, anglers
- Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission looks to create premium trout fishing opportunities
- Outdoors notebook: Take steps to avoid ticks
- Outdoors notebook: Local college anglers reach FLW conference championship
- Walleye stocking effort takes a hit in Pennsylvania
- Fishing report: Fishing picking up with better weather