An outbreak of an avian disease at a Game Commission farm forced a postponement of the stocking of thousands of ring-necked pheasants.
Avian cholera is a bacterial infection that is contagious among birds, but typically presents no health risk to humans or non-avian pets. It cannot be contracted by human consumption of pheasant meat.
The outbreak was detected in a pen at Loyalsock Game Farm in Lycoming County among some 2,400 birds that were to be released in Wildlife Management Units where male and female pheasant hunting is permitted. The Game Commission reported nearly 9,000 uninfected pheasants were released as scheduled in Clearfield, Cumberland, Franklin, Carbon, Monroe, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Lehigh and Montgomery counties.
The stocking planned for Dec. 20 was postponed so the infected birds could receive treatment by a veterinarian. Antibiotics were expected to be administered for 10 to 14 days, followed by a week of withdrawal from the medication.
No word on when the stockings will take place. The commission’s ring-neck pheasant management plan calls for 200,000 birds to be stocked each year. In 2013, more than 209,000 pheasants were stocked across the state.
Late-season pheasant hunting is open through Feb. 22. Check regulations for WMUs were male-female or rooster-only hunting is permitted.
In 2001, veteran angler and guide Matt Supinski stirred up the waters with the release of “Steelhead Dreams: The Theory, Method, Science and Madness of Great Lakes Steelhead Fly Fishing.” This month he’s on the road with a PowerPoint presentation and signing tour promoting his new release, “Selectivity: The Theory and Method of Fly Fishing for Fussy Trout, Salmon and Steelhead” (Stackpole/Headwaters). Meet him 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 11 at International Angler in Robinson (412-788-8088).