DEM stocking pheasants for hunting season

A DEM spokesperson says the program is rooted in family traditions, and the state has been stocking pheasants since the 1950s.

By: Tim Studebaker

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is once again stocking pheasants in some of the state’s management areas for the fall and winter hunting season.

Michael Healey is a spokesperson for the DEM.  Healey says, “The State of Rhode Island has been stocking pheasants to provide opportunities for hunters, and that goes back to the 1950s.”

Healey says in other states, a separate agency handles fish and wildlife. But, in Rhode Island, that responsibility is left up to the DEM.

Healey says, “Fish and wildlife… that entails a lot of things.  And part of it is providing opportunities for access to hunters and anglers.”

The DEM points to a long tradition of hunting in Rhode Island.

Healey says, “In many, many cases, it’s a family tradition and custom that’s gone on for generations, people spending time with people they care about and people they love out in the wild.”

While the pheasant used to be a native species in Rhode Island, changing farming practices and landscapes over the years forced them out.  The state stocks the bird to allow for those hunting traditions to continue.

Healey says, “We contract with farms that raise pheasants, one in Rhode Island and one in Pennsylvania.  We will be releasing 6,000 of them between now and the end of this year, the end of December.”

Pheasant hunting season runs from mid October to the end of February.  Hunters must have a Rhode Island hunting license and a game bird permit, and there are daily bag limits.  According to the state, hunters and anglers contribute more than $235-million to Rhode Island’s economy.

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Categories: News, Rhode Island