by Bob Frye
All pheasant hunting opportunities aren't created equal.
Hunters, if given the choice, prefer to shoot pheasant roosters to hens, said Bob Boyd, the Pennsylvania Game Commission's wildlife services division chief and the man in charge of its pheasant propagation program.
“That's a no brainer,” he said.
Yet, their chances to do that are better in some places than others.
The commission has a goal of raising 200,000 pheasants for stocking each year. This year, it's going to have about 220,000 to release, Boyd said.
Those birds are born at a male-to-female ratio of one-to-one. But, Boyd said, when it comes time to release them, they aren't distributed equally.
Currently, in six wildlife management units, hunters can shoot only cockbirds. Consequently, 100 percent of those stocked are roosters.
That requires moving birds around, adds expense to the stocking program, causes additional mortality and is perceived by some as being unfair, Boyd said. The commission could avoid all that by changing the rules to allow for statewide either-sex hunting, which would give hunters a 60-40 mix of roosters to hens in all units, he added.