The state Department of Environmental Conservation is now accepting applications to participate in its annual Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program.
The program allows people to raise and care for pheasant chicks prior to their release during hunting season.
The goal is to enhance opportunities for pheasant hunting in the state, according to a DEC statement released Thursday morning.
The Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program began in the early 1900s. Through the program, day-old chicks are available at no cost to participants who are able to provide a brooding facility, a covered outdoor rearing pen and an adequate release site.
Approved applicants will receive the day-old chicks in April, May or June.
The chicks require daily care to monitor their health. The pheasants may be released beginning when they are 8 weeks old, but no later than Dec. 1, 2014, DEC officials stated.
The chicks obtained through the Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program cannot be released on private shooting preserves. All release sites must be approved in advance by DEC and must be open for public pheasant hunting opportunities.
Individuals interested in these programs should contact their DEC regional office located at Stony Brook University.
Applications for the program must be filed by March 15.