Hunters #getoutside to enjoy final days of G&F pheasants
#getoutside, a series focusing on our County 10 outdoor lifestyle, is brought to you by Wind River Outdoor Company in Lander.
(Fremont County, Wyo.) – Though pheasant hunting season is winding down, Game & Fish will be releasing one more flock of pen-raised pheasants today at Ocean Lake and Sand Mesa. After that, hunters may continue to hunt male only (rooster) pheasants through the month of December.
Lander local Karl Brauneis enjoyed a pheasant hunt earlier this week near Ocean Lake, and quickly got his limit. Brauneis hunted with local Game and Fish Biologist Daryl Lutz and his dog Abby. For Karl, hunting is a passion and spiritual experience.
“Hunting with a good bird dog can make all the difference,” said Karl. “They tell you everything. You just keep your safety on and follow the dog. I believe certain animals work with us in stewardship. Most importantly, dogs and horses. Cowboying with horses and dogs or hunting with dogs takes it all to a new level. Working together in a bond with an animal gives joy to those who realize the gift.”
Game & Fish release pen-raised pheasants from the Sheridan Bird Farm annually throughout the month of November near Ocean Lake and Sand Mesa. Of the pheasants released, 40-45% are typically males and the remaining 55-60% are females. Any pheasant may be taken on the Sand Mesa and Ocean Lake WHMAs during the release period.
This weekend will be the final weekend hunters can shoot any pheasant. Starting Monday, Dec. 5 hunters may only shoot male pheasants. Greg Anderson Wildlife Biologist for Lander Game & Fish said since most pen-raised pheasants don’t typically survive in the wild, people may hunt either male or female during the release period. He said after that time, it’s important to leave the wild hens so they can reproduce and remain in the population.
An average of over 3,700 pheasant have been released on the Sand Mesa and Ocean Lake WHMAs annually since 1996. However, 2011 was an exception because of fewer birds available statewide and the need for brood stock at the Downar Bird Farm near Yoder.
For hunters planning ahead to next year, the Game & Fish Office in Lander offers a calendar of release dates (and cancellations if needed) on their website.
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