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FWP Announces January 15 Is Deadline For Pheasant Release Applications

Applications are being accepted for the 2024 pheasant release program through Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Upland Game Bird Enhancement Program (UGBEP). As part of the program, pen-raised birds are released in areas suitable for ring-necked pheasants with the intent to enhance wild pheasant populations. Landowners interested in releasing pen-reared pheasants have until Jan. 15 to submit an application.



Projects must comprise at least 100 contiguous acres of land and contain a combination of suitable habitat components, including cover and food, that pheasants need to survive.  Suitable habitat includes a combination of small grains, idle grasses and forbs, such as lands enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, and effective winter cover, including shrubby or riparian habitats adjacent to food sources.


Eligible UGBEP pheasant releases take place on agricultural lands east of the Continental Divide except in Fergus, Richland and Roosevelt counties due to requirements of Administrative Rules of Montana. Lands enrolled in the UGBEP pheasant release program must allow free public access to hunt upland game birds during the season the releases take place.



Applicants will be notified in late March of their enrollment status and the number of pheasants pre-authorized for release. Applicants are responsible for obtaining pheasants for release either by raising birds on their own or by purchasing the from National Poultry Improvement Program certified stock. Hunting preserves, lands that host a commercial hunting enterprise, and lands where hunting rights are leased or paid for are not eligible. Approved applicants will be reimbursed at a rate established in March. 


UGBEP releases will take place between Aug. 1 and Sept. 15. 


For more information and to download an application form, visit FWP’s UGBEP webpage and click on “Pheasant and Turkey Releases.” Those interested in applying can also contact Debbie Hohler, UGBEP coordinator, at 406-444-5674 or by e-mail to dhohler@mt.gov.



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