The organizing committee of Goodwater’s Bird Doggin’ Classic released pheasant roosters and Hungarian partridges just ahead of its annual fundraiser hunt and supper, in the hopes of increasing the local game bird population around southeast Saskatchewan.
The bird release saw 410 pheasant roosters and 210 Hungarian partridges released on Oct. 15, and the Bird Doggin’ Classic was held Oct. 18 and 19.
The committee earlier released birds in September, and this release brought the total up to 1,200 pheasants, with a mixture of hens and roosters, said Lionel Wanner of the Bird Doggin’ Classic committee, adding they were brought in from McFarlane Farms in Wisconsin, who supplied the birds for the past number of years.
The birds released most recently went into the countryside at Torquay, Goodwater, Bromhead, Neptune, Midale, Radville and Osage.
“Only about 20 per cent of the birds are harvested at the hunt. Only roosters are released right now, and in March we bring in about 400 hens and another 60 roosters. Hopefully we’ll get some hens nesting and get a natural population going that way,” said Wanner, adding all birds that are released are banded so that they can keep track if they get harvested.
On Oct. 19, there was a steak supper at the Goodwater Rink with shrimp brought in from Florida, along with some pheasant, with a live and silent auction and a cabaret. The committee also provided a shuttle service so that no one who was drinking would be driving home afterwards.
The proceeds from the supper, the hunt tickets and the auctions will all go towards the continuing supply and release of game birds in the future, said Wanner.
The efforts at repopulating game birds seem to be working, as last year one of the roosters had been banded three years before.
“That shows some of the birds are surviving and the coyotes didn’t get them all,” said Wanner.