2012 Pheasant Hunting Program
Thanks to the continued support of pheasant hunters from Maine and elsewhere, MDIFW, in cooperation with several dedicated Fish and Game Clubs, will stock 2450 pheasants at 24 sites in York and Cumberland Counties. This program would not exist without the many generous landowners that agree to provide release sites and share their property with pheasant hunters every fall. We do lose sites as land is sold or developed, but outreach to new landowners often leads to new release sites. This year there is a new site in Windham and the return of a couple favorites in Gorham that will provide good pheasant hunting opportunities.
Pheasants are not native to the United States but have been successfully introduced in several states and have thrived in many environments such as Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, and the Dakotas as well as others. Pheasants have not established a viable breeding population in Maine due to several mortality factors, most notably, predation, occasional harsh winters and a scarcity of standing grain crops for winter forage. It is likely that some stocked birds overwinter at several sites, but evidence of reproduction in the wild in Maine is scarce.
Pheasants are a particularly good game bird to hunt with dogs because despite the fact that they prefer to run from predators including hunters, they will at times hold tight. When they eventually explode from heavy cover with their unique cackle and a thunderous wing beat they can startle unprepared hunters and dogs. Many a bird has escaped without a shot being fired while the hunter recovers his or her composure. They are also a good bird to start young hunters on because they will eventually hold and can be a larger and more predictable target for new shooters than the fast and erratic flying woodcock or partridge.
Hunters must purchase a pheasant permit in addition to their regular hunting license and are permitted two birds a day, of either sex. The permits will cost $19 again this year but a rise in program costs and a desire to improve hunt quality through additional stocking may dictate a rise in the near future. Of the $19, $17 goes to the program and $2 goes to the vendor who sells the permits. The stamps are available on-line or from the normal license vendors. With prices at local shooting preserves exceeding $30 per pheasant released (not necessarily harvested!) the pheasant permit is considered a very good value for the hunter.
The pheasant program is funded through proceeds from the sale of the pheasant stamp. Hunters can help promote the pheasant hunting in Maine by talking up the program with their friends and encouraging them to buy a permit. Participation and support from the partnering Fish & Game Clubs is vital. Special thanks to members of Windham/Gorham Rod and Gun Club, Kezar Falls Rod and Gun Club, South Berwick Rod and Gun Club and York Fish and Game Club. Two of these clubs raised state birds from 7 wk. old chicks, while the remaining birds were purchased as adults.
This year, stocking will take place on the following Sundays; September 30, October 7 and October 21. See updated list of release sites. Most sites will receive about 40 birds at each stocking. Those sites in the Parsonsfield area and the Berwicks will be stocked with fewer birds, but more frequently. Look for the yellow “pheasant release site” signs and as part of our efforts to respect the landowner, observe the green “no vehicles beyond this point” signs.
Dog trainers are discouraged from training their dogs at the release sites after they are stocked on Sundays to avoid scattering the birds off the sites. For additional information, see the MDIFW website at www.maine.gov/ifw.
Have a good, safe season
Regional Wildlife Biologist
358 Shaker Rd.
Gray, ME 04039
Phone: 207-657-2345 x 110
Claras Farm, Brunswick, River Road, Just west of I-295 overpass
Rust Farm, Gorham, Dow Road. 4/10 mile west of Route 25
Hall Farm, Windham, William Knight Road, off Route 202. Access via steep dirt road next to corn field or Falmouth Road
Beever Property, Gorham, Off Harding Bridge Road
Whitney Property, Gray
Long Hill Road.
Swett Rd., Powerline, Windham
Across from Lachance Brick Company, Rt. 237.
Poleline Site, Gorham
Mosher Brook, Rt. 237.
Meserve Farm, Dayton
Ahearn Farm, Dayton
Rt. 5, 1 mile west of intersection with Rt. 35.
Sherman Farm, Dayton/Lyman
Longview Plain Farm, Ken Moulton Property, 1069 Longview Plains Farm Road
South side Rt. 22 in Buxton.
Scarborough Marsh Wildlife Management Area, Scarborough
* Non-toxic shot only
Manson Libby Road. Access via Industrial Park.
Bragdon Pit Farms, Wells
Bills Lane (off Bragdon Road).
Blackberry Hill Area, Berwick
About .3 mile north of RR tracks.
Garrison House Field, York
York River overlook. Rt. 91.
Major McIntire Field, York
End of Major McIntire Road off Scotland Bridge Road.
Patterson Farm, Saco
Rt. 5. Across road from golf course.
Pikes Field, Cornish Intervale
Dirt Road (off Rt. 5). May drive to fields and park on edge of fields.
Hick's Parcel, Vernon Walker WMA, Newfield
Airport Field, East Baldwin
Dennett Road Poleline, in South Berwick