Wisconsin state game farm pheasant releases a good thing

Wisconsin’s upland game hunters depend on annual pheasant stocking by the DNR’s game farm to supplement wild bird numbers. (Photo by Jerry Davis)

In most cases, put-and-take fish and wildlife management doesn’t make a lot of sense and may not be necessary or even a good thing.

The raising and releasing of ring-necked pheasants is one exception, I believe. There may be other species that rank with the pheasant, but none come to mind.

Wisconsin’s DNR is showcasing its new pheasant hatchery buildings later this month. Lots of money, staff and work goes into raising and releasing 75,000 birds each year.

Even with the new facility, production is not likely to change much.

It seems, however, this segment of wildlife management is a good thing – and maybe even necessary – here in Wisconsin.

Pheasant habitat for wild birds is not abundant. That isn’t likely to change long-term.

There are precious few upland game-bird opportunities for hunter and dog. Ruffed grouse? Yes, but mostly in northern Wisconsin. As for other types of grouses, it’s virtually nil. A few sharptails once in a while, but no prairie chicken hunting or spruce grouse, either.

Mourning doves, crows, quail, Hungarian partridge and that’s about it. And most wing shooters don’t go there, either.

Good habitat for released birds to be hunted is available on public land. Many times these public areas are not dangerously crowded.

These put-and-take pheasants go to good use. They’re eaten. They’re prized. Dogs and hunters get exercise and training for out-of-state hunts.

The managers at Poynette Game Farm have branched out and are likely to expand, change a bit, or at least continue their recent and successful holiday pheasant hunt.

Keep it going.

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, Wisconsin – Jerry Davis

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