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Thread: Releasing pheasants DURING the shooting season

  1. #1

    Releasing pheasants DURING the shooting season

    I read that codes of good practice advise against it, and know many guns (including myself) would walk from a shoot where if they thought it was happening - but is it illegal to release pheasants or partridge during a shooting season to 'top-up' bird numbers?

    If not, why is it not (more) common? It seems likely to greatly increase relative return rates, and if the only objection is that it is unnatural, then it could equally be argued that expecting a 300+ bird day is equally unnatural. For corporate 'guns' who simply want to treat a driven day as a squawking simualted clay day, perhaps the ethical objections of mid season release could be outweighed by the economic and (from my perspective) the environmental benefits of releasing fewer birds but getting a similar return.

    Obviously, for people who want to shoot wild(ish) birds, it's an anathema and fair enough, but these guns are often not the ones wanting the 300+ days.

    Just some random thoughts stimulated by a weekend walking around Exmoor

  2. #2
    Keeping adult pheasants until mid-season sounds expensive.
    I have heard of a shoot catching up from a new drive that wasn't working out, and moving them to a good established drive on the other end of the estate. I would think it would be prudent to release them into a pen after dark.

  3. #3
    Topping up by releasing birds would only be acceptable if it was done well before the shoot.
    It is a specific offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to release captive
    birds for immediate shooting .......

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by badbob View Post
    It is a specific offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to release captive
    birds for immediate shooting .......
    A bit akin to live trap shooting.

  5. #5
    I read the WCA as prohibiting live trap shooting, where a box is opened and the birds flushed into the air to be shot (don't some countries do similar with pheasants - launching them off towers in the tree tops?). But this would not seem to cover, say, placing birds into a pen the night or a couple of days before the shoot, or doing what some American shoots do where a 'trophy' bird is selected from a pen by the hunter, and released onto a reserve in the morning to be tracked and shot. Unethical and immoral - maybe, but illegal - I'm not sure.

  6. #6
    I was told in parts of spain/portugal if u pay for a 30 bird day they give u a crate with 30 birds in it and 'flush' them for u

    In the US some of the HPR FT are ran that way, from wot i can gather ran aggainst the clock and dogs have to work there beat as quick as possible and all birds shot. They put a set number of dizzied birds out in the same place for each dog so all 'fair' and every dog has the same chance. A very different way of shooting and working ur dog, thank god not done over here
    Think they do the tower thing in america too as well as on the contient

    The problem will be keeping any ammount of game birds in pens and in good nick, plus when u release them will be like releasing ex layers and they will just wander off the ground.
    I have heard of it going on with reds, think would be far more difficult with pheasants.

    While it may be unnatural now in our vermin rich environment some of those old wild bird shoots were shooting some truely massive bags back in the day. But they would not be shooting as often, some big commercieal boys are shooting 100+ days a season.
    Woud not give any new birds much time to settle in

  7. #7
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    Countryboy,
    Don't believe everything you hear. Throwing birds off a tower???? In America?? Never herd of such. Sounds more like a European thing. Not the UK, more like Spain or Italy. From what I have seen and read, pen reared birds die withing days or weeks of being released. They are either shot, get eaten, starve, or die of shock/exposure. Don't believe it, why do you have to stock them every year? The state here stocks some pheasants and they have a special hunt for them in September. Why September? Because in October it starts to rain a lot and the birds mostly die of exposure. I would think that stocking during the season would be the only way to go. What would be wrong with releasing the birds on Monday afternoon and begin hunting them on Tuesday or Wednesday? By the way, and this was something I was surprised by, the number 1 reason for pheasant mortality in areas where it freezes is suffocation. While the birds are sleeping and a snow fall begins, the birds nostrils get covered in snow and it freezes causing the bird to suffocate. Perhaps you all knew that, I didn't. I always thought they starved after the freeze. Check this out, all wild birds. Pheasant Hunting Unimaginable numbers of wild birds. Never hunted there but I have driven through there, the amount of birds you see is simply amazing.

  8. #8
    SD Regular willie_gunn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A Guy Out West View Post
    Countryboy,
    Don't believe everything you hear. Throwing birds off a tower???? In America?? Never herd of such. Sounds more like a European thing. Not the UK, more like Spain or Italy.
    When I lived in Dallas in the late 1980's we visited a hunting ranch where pheasant were taken in a crate in the back of a pick up to the top of a hill. The guns stood at the bottom.

    It happens.
    Last edited by willie_gunn; 16-03-2016 at 04:31.
    O wad some Power the giftie gie us to see oursels as ithers see us!

  9. #9
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    Willie,
    It happens with jerks. I assure you that that is not an accepted practice here. Nor is it even talked about, out of shame likely. I have never heard of it until reading it on this site today. I have also heard of people getting dogs and cats out of humane shelters and then shooting them just for fun. It may happen but it is not done by your average American. I lived in Dallas in the late 80s too. By the way, did you know Texas has some fantastic wild pheasant hunting? Out in the panhandle. Excellent.
    Last edited by A Guy Out West; 16-03-2016 at 05:19.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by A Guy Out West View Post
    Countryboy,
    Don't believe everything you hear. Throwing birds off a tower???? In America?? Never herd of such. Sounds more like a European thing. Not the UK, more like Spain or Italy. From what I have seen and read, pen reared birds die withing days or weeks of being released. They are either shot, get eaten, starve, or die of shock/exposure. Don't believe it, why do you have to stock them every year? The state here stocks some pheasants and they have a special hunt for them in September. Why September? Because in October it starts to rain a lot and the birds mostly die of exposure. I would think that stocking during the season would be the only way to go. What would be wrong with releasing the birds on Monday afternoon and begin hunting them on Tuesday or Wednesday? By the way, and this was something I was surprised by, the number 1 reason for pheasant mortality in areas where it freezes is suffocation. While the birds are sleeping and a snow fall begins, the birds nostrils get covered in snow and it freezes causing the bird to suffocate. Perhaps you all knew that, I didn't. I always thought they starved after the freeze. Check this out, all wild birds. Pheasant Hunting Unimaginable numbers of wild birds. Never hunted there but I have driven through there, the amount of birds you see is simply amazing.
    ohcachobe Florida
    mates head man on a large ranch that do quail partridge and pheasant the later from very high towers .not been but my stalking pals been twice .birds go up tower released every bird is high ..shoot with 28 and 410s birds are then caught up over the next few days ready for the next shoot day not everyone's cup of tea but hey .superb ranch with wildhog and whitetail and various ground vermin .
    Norma

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