Increased Pheasant Stocking Pa 2022


This year, Pennsylvania’s Game Commission is upping pheasant stocking levels in order to rejuvenate Pennsylvania’s long-standing bird hunting tradition. They hope that increased interest in put-and-take hunting will translate to land acquisition and habitat restoration efforts that allow wild pheasants to make a comeback.

The agency operates four Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas where it releases trapped ring-necked pheasants with the intention of rebuilding huntable populations that can sustain themselves over time. Pheasants tend to prefer farmland with grass fields, brushy sloughs, and woodland edges, as well as overgrown drainage ditches for their nesting.


The ring-necked pheasant is an iconic game bird beloved by hunters across the country. The Game Commission’s stocking program for these birds aims to provide hunting opportunities and sustain sustainable wild populations. Most hunting takes place on state game lands; however, the Game Commission also stocks birds on private lands as part of their public access program.

The Game Commission’s Pheasant Stocking Program is an innovative partnership between them and sportsmen’s clubs. Each January, sportsmen’s clubs can apply to receive chicks for raising for “put and take” hunting on public lands near them. The Game Commission then subsidizes these costs so as to encourage participation by local sportsmen’s clubs in its pheasant stocking program.

During its regular fall season, the Game Commission concentrates its pheasant stocking efforts on State Game Lands, select state parks, and federal lands, as well as county property registered with its public access program. Their regional offices publish a publication called “A Guide to Pheasant Releases and More,” identifying suitable State Game Lands along with county properties enrolled in this public access program as relevant sites.

Many states have seen severe declines in wild pheasant populations as a result of changes to farmland landscape, necessitating annual supplement stocking to preserve hunting opportunities and assist with their recovery. The Game Commission continues its efforts to regrow its numbers; over 220,000 ring-necked pheasants will be raised and released this season alone!

Pheasants are highly productive birds, which helps compensate for factors that impede wild populations, like habitat loss. Unfortunately, however, pheasant populations do not quickly recover after significant losses; to ensure the sustainability of an intact population of pheasants, it is necessary to provide enough food and shelter.

As part of its effort to assist hunters in locating suitable pheasant habitats, the Game Commission has created an interactive map that features most lands scheduled to be stocked this year. You can access it by visiting the pheasant stocking maps page and clicking on your location’s icon; information regarding stocked birds, as well as hunting opportunities, will also be displayed here.


Pennsylvania’s ring-necked pheasant season brings plenty of excitement, from dogs zigzagging through cover and birds flushing with an exhilarating cackle to fast-paced hunts requiring intense focus to an abundance of birds to hunt as Game Commission officials continue their work to rebuild Pennsylvania’s pheasant program. This year, there are even more birds available to chase, thanks to Game Commission efforts aimed at expanding it further.

The Game Commission plans to stock 237,700 pheasants across the state during nine stocking intervals beginning Oct. 20, which represents approximately 5 percent more pheasants than last year. Of that total number, about 173,550 will be males, while 57,500 will be females.

As part of their effort to resurrect the pheasant program, the Game Commission is teaming up with sportsmen’s clubs in an effort to raise pheasants for public “put-and-take” hunting on public lands. Each January, they enroll in their Pheasant Chick Program with the Game Commission, providing facilities, feed, and other essential support until their pheasants are ready for release into the wild.

Each pheasant for this program comes from one of two Game Commission farms in Lycoming and Armstrong counties before being distributed throughout Pennsylvania for use in public hunting areas, according to Mark Roe, Game Commission senior wildlife biologist.

The Game Commission raises its pheasants by hand at Loyalsock and Southwest game farm locations as well as private land that participates in its public access program. Most are distributed among State Game Lands, while some are also released at state parks or federal lands according to their public access program enrollment status, according to the Game Commission.

This year, the Game Commission is releasing more female pheasants than in previous years to allow hunters to shoot the birds with feathered backs. Furthermore, lifting the protection of hens in Wildlife Management Units 5B (Lancaster County) and 4C will add extra excitement as Lancaster County hunters haven’t had access to harvest hens for several years.

The Game Commission hopes the additional pheasants will generate greater interest in hunting and help support an eventual return of wild pheasants to our environment. However, such a comeback remains far off and will require government conservation programs to create habitat at the landscape level rather than simply redistributing pen-raised birds to existing hunting areas.


Pennsylvania has had a pheasant stocking program for more than 100 years. Every year, the Game Commission propagates ring-necked pheasants at two farms for distribution on State Game Lands as well as select state parks and federal lands open to hunting. On average, this annual program costs roughly $3.5 million from hunters’ stamp fees – which must be purchased to hunt these birds legally.

Pheasant season will open Oct. 23 and run through Feb. 27 this fall, when the Game Commission will release 237,700 male pheasants – 73% are males, which will mainly be distributed during the first half of the season.

Stocking typically involves releasing between 16,000 and 20,000 birds at nine intervals during fall stocking season, each region receiving its allocation based on habitat availability and hunting pressure.

A variety of stockings take place prior to the opening day of the regular season, with three final socks occurring later in the season. Additionally, The Game Commission operates a “Wild Pheasant Recovery Area” program, in which wild pheasants are released in areas where they will find food and shelter.

Pheasant hunters can gain more information on the forthcoming season by consulting the Game Commission’s Pheasant Stocking Map. It displays all releases, preseason or otherwise, with daily stocking numbers broken out for each Wildlife Management Unit.

There is also the Game Commission’s Pheasant Chick Program. Each January, sportsmen’s clubs can apply to this program, which helps cover costs associated with raising and releasing pheasants to public land for hunting or training of dogs. Once approved by the Game Commission, clubs receive chicks to raise and release onto public lands for public hunting or dog training purposes.

Pheasant-raising programs are expensive, so the Game Commission has had to scale them back due to budgetary restrictions. Gregg says the investment is worthwhile, given that they promote family recreation. Pheasant hunting is also part of the culture in California and can attract young hunters into hunting pheasants.


The ring-necked pheasant was once one of the nation’s most beloved game birds, and Pennsylvania hunters can still find plenty for upland hunting or table fare. Unfortunately, wild numbers of this game bird are low today, so additional stocking may be required in order to sustain it as an attractive game bird species.

For the 2022 Pheasant Season, The Pennsylvania Game Commission will stock 16,000 birds across the state for hunters to hunt from Oct 22 to Nov 12, December 12-23, and Feb 27. In addition to hunting, state game lands and property are registered with the Pennsylvania Hunter Access Program.

While the Game Commission strives to improve wild pheasant habitat, each year, a significant number of wild pheasants are lost due to agricultural practices and harsh winters. Our stocking program helps maintain viable rough pheasant numbers and contributes to an essential part of annual harvest totals.

This year, the Game Commission is providing 15,000 pheasants (8,640 males and 6,490 females) for junior pheasant season running Oct 8-15. Additionally, several thousand will be released during regular season hunting or later during winter, depending on habitat availability and hunter interest in each county.

Every hunter requires a valid pheasant permit from the Pennsylvania Game Commission and can buy one online, by phone, or at an authorized issuing agent in Pennsylvania. Newcomers to hunting can also benefit from an introductory guide provided free by them.

Pheasant hunting is an enjoyable social activity that provides exercise as well as delicious meals to add to any table. Hunters of all ages can enjoy pheasant hunting, and it requires minimal equipment – making it accessible even to young hunters! The Game Commission’s Pheasant Release Program can help introduce newcomers into this rewarding pastime, drawing more hunters into this sport – and may lead to land acquisition and habitat improvement projects in Pennsylvania, which would restore former glory when it comes to pheasant hunting glory. A new generation of Pheasant Hunters may also increase public engagement with wildlife conservation – an integral part of Pennsylvania’s heritage!