The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is holding a public information gathering meeting in Laramie to discuss the game bird farm program and funding for the two department-operated pheasant farms. The purpose of the meeting is to gather input and understand sportspersons' desires, expectations and willingness to maintain and fund the department’s game bird farm program and hunting of department raised pheasants.

The meeting in Laramie will take place at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 6. The meeting will be held at the Game and Fish Department Office located at 528 S. Adams Street.

Meetings will also be held in Torrington (November 3), Cheyenne (November 4), and Wheatland (November 5),

The department operates two pheasant rearing facilities: one near Yoder and one near Sheridan.  Approximately 28,000 pheasants are raised annually at these two facilities. The pheasants are released at numerous locations in central, eastern, and the Bighorn Basin of Wyoming during the fall pheasant hunting season.

Scott Edberg, Deputy Chief of the Wildlife Division says, “The intent of these meetings and the survey is to provide sportspersons an opportunity to offer their thoughts on the future of the game bird farm program, including looking at additional funding mechanisms to help offset the increasing costs of raising pheasants. We haven’t taken this type of public input since 1995. The department will provide the findings of the survey and additional public input at the January 2015 Wyoming Game and Fish Commission meeting for review as it pertains to maintaining and funding the game bird farm program.”

According to Bird Farm Superintendent Steve Shafer, the two bird farms cost the state a total of about $650,000. This figure includes the cost to incubate and hatch the birds, feed them, release them and maintain the facility.

Schafer says that the farms bring money into hunting areas through hunters during the season. In addition, the bird farms themselves provide tourism opportunities.

Wyoming does not have a strong wild pheasant population. As such, pheasant hunting areas are stocked with birds for the hunt. Schafer says that these areas provide young hunters with an entry level hunting experience. In addition, many experienced hunters enjoy bird hunting.

In addition to the public information gathering meetings,  input on this issue  will be collected via an online survey. The survey will be open for public input until Nov. 20, 2014 and can be found at www.wgfd.wyo.gov.

The State of Wyoming supports the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Anyone requiring auxiliary aids, regarding this Public Notice, should contact the Laramie Region Game and Fish Office at: (307) 745-4046. Every effort will be made for reasonable accommodations.