Pennsylvania might require pheasant permit
Hunting pheasants in Pennsylvania soon might require purchasing a pheasant permit in addition to a general hunting license.
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners on Tuesday preliminarily approved creating a pheasant permit that would be required for all hunters who pursue or harvest pheasants.
The permit would cost $25 for adults, based on the proposal. It would not cost junior hunters anything to continue to hunt pheasants.
The proposed pheasant permit is expected to come up for a final vote at the board’s March meeting.
While Pennsylvania once was home to a robust wild pheasant population, in recent decades, pheasant hunting has relied entirely upon the stocking of farm-raised birds.
The Game Commission annually has raised and released about 200,000 pheasants for release on state game lands and other properties where public hunting is permitted. While the program has been popular with hunters, it has been costing the agency about $4.7 million a year. And without a permit, there’s no funding mechanism in place to help sustain it.
Meanwhile, fees for general hunting and furtaker licenses haven’t been adjusted for inflation since 1998, leaving the Game Commission in recent years to make difficult financial decisions, including budget reductions to the pheasant program.
In December, the agency announced it would close two of its four pheasant farms – a move that is expected to reduce annual program costs by about $1.7 million. Additionally, Game Commission staff project a pheasant permit will generate about $1.5 million a year in new revenue.
By making the program more self-sufficient, creation of a pheasant permit helps to ensure the future of pheasant hunting in Pennsylvania, the commissioners said.