I sincerely hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, shared with family and perhaps some closest friends Ö itís what this special season is all about, even though itís sometimes difficult to realize, what with so many negative things swirling about the news these days.
One of the items that has concerned many avid sportsmen and women, as well as avid outdoors people, was the governorís decision to totally do away with the stateís pheasant program. Especially bothersome because he made it as an executive decision, which meant neither the legislature nor statewide sportsmen or groups had any say in the matter whatsoever. His reasoning was the pheasant is an exotic imported species whose program cost to rear and stock was being eliminated as part of the budget cutting measure.
Unfortunately for the governor, that shirt didnít wash well, since the entire program was and has been totally funded by sportsmen dollars through annual income from license sales deposited in the dedicated Conservation Fund. The program has also been heavily subsidized, both physically and economically, by volunteers, and the ďsavingsĒ at best might be $300,000, a drop in the bucket compared to the total NYSDEC budget of about $1.5B
Pheasants have been a part of our ecosystem for more than a century, but changes in agriculture, extensive land development replacing habitat, and other factors have seen the numbers able to survive and reproduce in the wilds diminish. However, they still do in areas more intune with their needs, such as the lower Hudson Valley, Long Island and western New York. The cock pheasant is also one of the most beautiful game birds in the world. To see one is a real treat and probably a sight we may never see again outside of private preserves.