This year the Wisconsin DNR has decided to try to release a few leftover pheasants from the Poynette Game Farm close to Dec. 25 for a pre-Christmas hunt in a few selected southern Wisconsin public areas.
Winter weather, snow, ice and wind may put a blanket on this idea, but even so, it has some appeal and should continue to be talked about in the future. Start a family tradition by providing the possibility of getting Christmas dinner the morning of, or a day before, the bird is placed in the oven.
One of the reasons the DNR stops stocking pheasants in early December is for fear of having large trucks and trailers on icy roads. Getting close to the field habitat is another reason. Winter also prevents game farm personnel from spreading the birds out to meet late-season hunting demands now that the season has been extended into January.
Another holiday hunt, of sorts, that could be discussed is wild turkeys for Thanksgiving dinner. In southern Wisconsin, the season is open until Jan. 7 this year, so why not consider giving deer hunters an opportunity to shoot a bird with legal implements during the nine-day season? Maybe even with the use of the deer license to encourage those who do not hunt turkeys in the fall to give it a try.
Special seasons like these, and the holiday deer hunt, provided the populations could stand the pressure, could be tied into a tradition or holiday and might be exciting for some marginal or beginning hunters.