NEW YORK (WWTI) — New Yorkers can now apply for the State’s pheasant release program.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has opened applications for its cooperative Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program, which allows individuals to raise and release pheasant in New York State.

According to DEC Commissioner Seggos, this program helps bolster fall hunting opportunities and is provided through a partnership with hunters, 4-H youth and New York landowners.

“Pheasant hunting has a long history in New York and remains popular among hunters,” Commissioner Seggos said in a press release. “The Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program is a great way to experience the outdoors and raise pheasants while providing hunters with the opportunity to learn about animal husbandry.”

Last year, the DEC distributed over 34,500 day-old pheasant chicks to applicants in New York State. This Day-Old Chick Program also has a long history as it first began in the early 1900s when pheasant eggs and chicks were distributed to farmers and rural youth.

Currently, the program provides day-old at no cost to participants who can provide a brooding facility, covered outdoor rearing pen and an adequate release site.

Approved participants will receive their chicks in April, May or June. Participants are banned from releasing chicks obtained from this program on private shooting preserves. All release sites must be approved in advance by the DEC.

The DEC requires applicants to provide daily care to the growing chicks, monitor the birds’ health and ensure the chicks have food and water. Pheasants can be released as soon as they are eight weeks old and must be released by December 1, 2022.

Applicants for the Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program must be submitted by March 25, 2022.