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Pheasant Stocking Program Continues

Legislators indicated satisfaction with current Fish and Game's pheasant stocking program when this year's results were presented to them in a meeting October 24. The bulk of the $200,000 spent on the program goes to stocking more than 14,000 roosters on Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) across southern Idaho during the hunting season. The number of rooster pheasants planted this fall more than doubles last year's WMA program and releases will occur twice a week in most places. In another portion of the legislature-mandated program, game farm and wild pheasants have been planted in Madison County, Minidoka County and at C.J. Strike WMA in Owyhee County during the spring prior to nesting. Results this year were mixed. Survival of game farm hens over 90 days to six months of monitoring ranged from zero to 11 percent at all three sites. Consequently, only a few broods were produced by the surviving hens. Wild hen survival ranged from 56 percent in Minidoka County to 60 percent in Madison County. At C.J. Strike where about 200 predators were removed prior to the game farm pheasant release, about 20 fall roosters were produced at a cost of about $300 per bird. Next year, the WMA put-and-take rooster program will be continued at about the same level as this fall. About 2,000 game farm pheasants and 200 wild pheasants will be planted at C.J. Strike WMA, in Minidoka County and at Mud Lake WMA and predators will be controlled there to see if survival can be improved.