Pheasant hunters in this part of Pennsylvania will find fewer targets in the days to come.
Winter stocking in many counties will be delayed by an outbreak of avian cholera that has affected 2,400 birds, reports the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
Affected counties include Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Lehigh, Montgomery and Monroe.
For most of the state, the game commission’s last scheduled pheasant stockings of the season will be done Friday. But hunters hoping to bag a recently-stocked pheasant in the above counties will have to wait a few weeks longer.
The avian cholera was detected in a pen last week at the game commission’s Loyalsock Game Farm, and about 2,400 pheasants that were to be released Friday won’t be released until their medical treatments have concluded.
Avian cholera is a bacterial infection that is contagious among birds and can affect other animals, but typically presents no human health risk.
The birds not being released Friday are undergoing antibiotic treatment that will last 10 to 14 days. They then must be given seven days to withdraw from the medicines before being released at a date to be announced.
The disease also is delaying the final release of pheasants in Clearfield, Cumberland and Franklin counties.
The 2,400 pheasants from the Loyalsock Game Farm represent only a portion of those scheduled for release Friday.
Nearly 9,000 pheasants will be released. The commission’s game farms have been having an above-average production year. The goal of releasing 200,000 pheasants has been surpassed. More than 209,000 have been released so far this year.
For more information on pheasant stocking, visit the game commission’s website,. The “Pheasant” page can be found can be found in the “Small Game” under the “Hunting” tab. Click on “Pheasant Allocation” to see a schedule broken down by region.
Late-season pheasant hunting opened statewide Monday. It continues until Feb. 22, but is closed Christmas Day.