Why aren't there many pheasant farms around Jerome? There used to be? What happened? We need to reopen some.
The bottom line is, releasing pen-raised pheasants does not help the wild population. Game farm pheasants are too distant from their wild relatives to survive - they don’t have the survival skills that wild birds have to avoid traffic, find food, and hide from predators. The Department studied this very subject and found releasing game-farm pheasants did not survive long enough to reproduce in sufficient numbers to make a difference. The most efficient use of pen-reared birds is releasing them before the gun during the hunting season. It all boils down to not enough adequate habitat to even support wild birds like the numbers we had in Idaho during the 60’s, 70’s, and early 80’s. Farming practices have changed and not enough idle ground is available for secure nesting from hay swathers, burning of ditches, and predators. Pheasants need habitat 365 days a year and no less. Releasing pen-raised birds into an already limited environment will not bring back the birds. Money spent on habitat is a long-term solution but needs to be widespread as is done in the mid-West where pheasant numbers reached an all-time high in 2009, surpassing even the golden years of the 60’s.