Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt (R,C,I-Greenwood Lake) is partnering with the state Department of Environmental Conservation to promote two cooperative programs for replenishing pheasant populations in the state: the Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program and the Young Pheasant Release Program. Both programs are offered to sports groups, 4-H youth, and landowners who are interested in rearing and releasing pheasants.
“The tradition of pheasant hunting is an example of keeping our rural traditions alive without hurting the environment,” said the Assemblywoman, who is an ardent environmental advocate. “The restocking programs are funded through hunting licenses and fees and provides for the release of tens of thousands of new birds into the wild each year.”
Assemblywoman Rabbitt recently hosted local outdoor sports groups in Albany as part of the first Annual Sportsmen and Outdoor Recreation Legislative Awareness Day, created, in part, to raise awareness for this responsible program, part of an industry which contributes over $6 billion to the state’s economy each year. Although the state’s pheasant programs are funded through hunter licenses and fees, the governor proposed swiping funds from the program to help close last year’s budget gap. Assemblywoman Rabbitt was among those who opposed the swiping of these funds and her efforts helped save the pheasant restocking program.
Last year, the DEC distributed 50,293 day-old pheasant chicks and 13,880 young pheasants to qualified applicants through the two programs. All birds were released into the wild on lands open to the public. There is no cost for qualified applicants to receive the birds, but all release sites must be approved by the DEC in advance and applicants must be prepared to care for the birds, including proper holding pens, food and water, for time periods of between two and eight weeks or more, depending on age of chicks, time of year and program participation, at their own cost.
Assemblywoman Rabbitt stated, “This program is the perfect opportunity for our children to learn about environmental stewardship and the time and care it takes to rear healthy animals. I strongly encourage our local 4-H and sports clubs to consider applying for either program to help further environmental education and ensure healthy populations of pheasants in our state.”
Those interested in applying for either program should contact the DEC’s local office in New Paltz for more information and applications before the March 15, 2010 deadline. This regional office serves Orange and Rockland counties, as well as other counties in the Hudson Valley. You can reach the office by calling (845) 256-3098 or by writing to 21 South Putt Corners Road, New Paltz, NY 12561.