Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 10

Twenty-four junior hunters were randomly selected among applicants to take part in the first
hunt within the Central Susquehanna WPRA. The hunters headed afield alongside several volunteer mentors. Not only did pheasants flush from the cover, but some heavy-antlered bucks
and even a bear. Colby Starr, of Mercersburg, pictured at far right alongside his father Tim Starr
and dog handler John Sempowski, of Mercersburg, had the first wild pheasant in the hunt.

and the quality of the birds they raised
and released.
Most hunters couldn't tell the difference between a wild pheasant and
one released by the agency. Eventually,
though, wild pheasants were gone.
Many researchers believe decades
of propagated pheasants saturating the
landscape eroded the genetic diversity of
Pennsylvania's remaining wild pheasants.
There's still much to learn from this possibility, but there's no doubt the release of
propagated birds has kept this important
sporting tradition alive and allowed for
many new hunters to experience a taste
of the good old days.

RETURN TO THE WILD
Although propagation has played a
key role throughout much of the pheasant's history here, hunters always have
supported maintaining wild pheasants.
That preference compelled Scott
Klinger, Game Commission game bird
10

biologist, and Carl Riegner, retired Propagation Division chief, to outline a new
approach to wild-pheasant restoration.
The Wild Pheasant Recovery Area
(WPRA) program's strength came
through private landowners working
closely with Pheasants Forever and Game
Commission biologists to restore suitable
pheasant habitat to several select areas.
Much of the habitat was established
or set aside through the Conservation
Reserve Enhancement Program, a U.S.
Department of Agriculture program
designed to protect water, soil and wildlife
resources.
Pheasants Forever worked with key
landowners to provide secure nesting
and winter cover for pheasants. Then,
wild ringnecks from South Dakota and
Montana were trapped and transported
to Pennsylvania.
Once here, biologists radio-collared
and released the birds in WPRAs.
Where habitat was restored, the trans-



Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - 4
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2018 - Cover4
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