Wisconsin stocking fewer DNR-raised pheasants in 2020
Instead of the 75,000 ring-necked pheasants being stocked on public hunting grounds beginning mid-October as seen in recent years, 50,000 will be released throughout the season, which ends in early January.
Kelly Maguire, DNR manager at the Poynette Game Farm, said the decision was based on being able to raise some birds, but reducing the number as a precaution to the COVID-19 pandemic, and being able to toe the line with state restrictions for safety of employees and the general public.
In addition to fewer birds available for stocking, the day-old chick program of providing birds for conservation clubs to raise and release was cancelled for 2020.
How the reductions will be handled is being worked out during the upcoming weeks. The impact on the holiday release pilot program on selected properties is also being discussed.
No decisions have been made on those stockings, and staff and wildlife biologists will be discussing what is best for the program this year and in the future and whether releasing a small number of birds, say 10 per trip, on some properties provides a reasonable benefit.
This pheasant stocking plan makes sense to continue at some level this fall, rather than cut the program entirely and then return to something closer to full scale in 2021.