Ahead of season opener, pheasant stocking impacted by COVID-19

Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 2:40 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - As we move through fall, more hunting opportunities continue to open across the state, which include pheasant hunting this weekend.

In just a few days, thousands of pheasant hunters will flock to public hunting grounds for the start of the 2020 season.

Success this year though, could be a little tougher to come by because hunters will encounter fewer birds in the fields.

“Unfortunately, our pheasant state game farm, due to Covid restrictions, had to cut back on production this year,” says Jeff Pritzl, DNR District Wildlife Supervisor.

The reason is less manpower.

“Staffing at our state game farm due to social distancing meant a smaller suite of employees, so that means smaller numbers of birds going out on the properties and some of our real small properties that we used to put birds on won’t be getting birds this year,” says Pritzl.

Across the state, Pritzl says pheasant stocking is down by a third this year.

“Statewide basis we’ve raised and will be releasing 50,000 pheasants, and that was the norm for a long time, the last two years we had raised 75,000, so we’re back to the 50,000 level this year,” says Pritzl.

Despite staffing challenges tied to the coronavirus, Pritzl says there are still plenty of opportunities to hunt and harvest pheasants.

“Relative to the changes that have been made, and the production levels that have still been maintained, it’s been a credit to the programs,” says Pritzl.

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