New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos has announced that the DEC is accepting applications for sponsored pheasant hunts.

The program enables interest groups to obtain pheasants for use in sponsored hunts to engage more people with the outdoors, especially youth, women, novices, veterans, and people with disabilities. Applications to participate in the program are due Sept. 1.

“Sponsored pheasant hunts are a perfect opportunity for experienced hunters to introduce novices to New York’s longstanding tradition of pheasant hunting,” Commissioner Seggos said. “Participants are taught important skills, hunting safety, and ethics, and have a memorable experience outdoors thanks to the time and commitment of the volunteers who put these great hunts together.”

Sponsored hunts are free, non-competitive events coordinated by a group, club, individual, or organization. Dedicated local sportsmen and sportswomen share their expertise with beginning hunters in a supportive environment. This program gives individuals the chance to embark on a lifelong pursuit of hunting and outdoor enjoyment.

In addition to the pheasants reared for fall stocking throughout New York State, staff at DEC’s Reynolds Game Farm raise 2,000 pheasants each year for sponsored hunts across the state. DEC provides up to 50 game-farm-raised pheasants to each sponsoring organization free of charge for these hunts.

Chairman of the New York State Conservation Fund Advisory Board, Jason Kemper said, “New York’s Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program has a rich history and tradition of introducing young people to wildlife management practices and to the sport of hunting. As one of DEC’s successful fish and wildlife programs, the Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program provides participants with a unique opportunity and educational experience to pheasant hunt and a possible continued future interest in the sport.”

Volunteers are key to this program’s success. If an individual or a group would like to sponsor a hunt, please contact the DEC regional office for an application (a list of DEC regional offices is provided below). Program requirements and an application may also be downloaded from DEC’s website. All applications must be received by a regional wildlife office no later than Sept. 1. Successful applicants will be notified via phone. If an application is approved, the applicant will be required to make arrangements with staff at the Reynolds Game Farm, located in Ithaca, Tompkins County, to coordinate a delivery time, date, and location.

R8 - Chemung, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne and Yates counties:

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Avon, NY 14414

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R9 - Allegany, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Erie, Niagara and Wyoming counties:

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Allegany, NY 14706-1328

(716) 372-0645