The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

Sports

October 30, 2013

Outdoor activities now at their peak

MEDINA —

Waterfowl season opened this past Saturday, and you could hear the booming of shotguns over on the state and federal refuges. Conditions were less than perfect, with the high winds and rain making shooting more difficult, but it sounded like the boys were getting plenty of action.

 

The pheasant season started the Saturday before and there were a good number of hunters out looking for the beautiful Ring-necked Pheasant. The boisterous cackle and wild flush of this bird often unnerves the hunter so much that in many cases it causes him to miss the shot!

 

At one time this bird was the king of the upland game birds, as there was an abundant supply of them. Everyone hunted them, even those without bird dogs.

 

Many of us started learning our hunting and shooting skills on pheasants, but around the end of the 1960s the bird began to decline from our fields. Modern farming practices and the protection of winged raptors, especially the Red-tailed Hawk, were some of the big contributing factors.

 

These birds were not native to this country but originally came from Asia. Today those that still hunt this magnificent game bird are searching for birds that have been raised at the Reynolds Game Farm in Ithaca. Over 30,000 adult pheasants are released, from this game farm, across the State onto DEC-managed public hunting areas. Approximately 60,000 day-old chicks are also hatched there to be distributed to cooperators (such as 4-H youths) that raise the birds until they are a couple of months old and then release them into places where the public can eventually hunt them that fall.

 

At one time, the state was in control of seven such game farms, to raise pheasants for hunting and to help supplement their population. This included our local White Game Farm in Basom. All are now closed except the Reynolds farm, with our local game farm being closed in 1999 in order to save the state money.

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