Bird Farm Program Is Popular With Hunters
More than 1,400 people from across the state gave their thoughts on the future of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s game bird farm program. In 2014, Game and Fish welcomed all public comments, holding 17 public meetings across the state and conducting a survey of hunters and the general public. This was to understand opinions about the opportunities the two game bird farms and the stocking of pheasants provide to bird hunters. In particular, Game and Fish wanted to understand the public’s thoughts on funding for this program.
The survey results showed an overwhelming majority of hunters are in favor of the Game and Fish operated bird farms and the pheasant hunting resulting from stocking birds in areas open to the public.
“We know how special pheasant hunting is for thousands of people in Wyoming. It is a great way to introduce kids and other people to hunting as well as providing some excellent table fare,” said Game and Fish Director Scott Talbott. “As we work with our Commission to be fiscally responsible, we wanted to hear from the public about the program and to see if there is support for having the special management permit better cover the cost of the game bird farm program. Right now it does not.”
In 2014, Game and Fish released more than 32,000 pheasants from the game bird farms. The total cost to Game and Fish for this program is about $580,000 per year. The cost to hunters is a special pheasant management stamp of $12.50 and a bird hunting license. These are required to hunt Game and Fish raised pheasants. Most hunters are then allowed to harvest as many birds, within legal bag limits, as they want in a season. Revenue from hunters only covers about 30 percent of the costs of the game bird farms and the stocking.
Game and Fish received 1,488 responses to its survey with 94 percent saying they support Game and Fish’s game bird farm program, while 77 percent stated that the released pheasants significantly contributes to their pheasant hunting opportunity in Wyoming.
In response to bird farm operating costs, 92 percent said they were willing to pay more than the current $12.50 special pheasant management stamp fee to help defray the expense of operating the farms and 89 percent were opposed to closing either of the bird farms.
Wyoming Game and Fish has been operating bird farms since the 1930s. There are two employees working year round at each of the farms. Pheasants are stocked periodically during the pheasant season on Game and Fish Wildlife Habitat Management Areas, Walk-in Areas and certain state lands where public pheasant hunting access is available.