Group collaboration leads to return of a pilot program in 2023
Following the efforts of a small group of dedicated pheasant hunting enthusiasts, and with strong support from the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, the Conestogo Pheasant Club (CPC) is pleased to announce that discussions with the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) have resulted in the launch of a pilot hunt this fall at the Conestogo Lake Conservation Area.
The original pheasant program managed by the GRCA ran successfully for 45 years before being cancelled in 2021 as part of an overall operational review of their programs. The cancellation was unexpected and a significant blow to the upland game hunting community. In response, a small group of hunters presented to the GRCA Board of Directors at a meeting in January 2022, and was successful in their request to develop a self-funded, volunteer-run pheasant program in Area 3 of the Conservation Area. Regular meetings with GRCA staff eventually led the signed licence agreement for a three-year pilot project.
The Conestogo Pheasant Club was established as the formal licensee in the agreement. The CPC is an affiliate club of the OFAH; run by volunteers, not-for-profit, and all members will have the opportunity to provide input to ensure a successful program. Club executive will develop a constitution and bylaws to be approved by all members. Club executive members are currently arranging the logistics of the hunt, including procurement of pheasants, building a social media presence and working on the various processes related to membership applications and payments.
All CPC members must have a valid OFAH membership, which was a stipulation of the GRCA to allow this program to exist due to insurance purposes. In its first year, the CPC is aiming for 80 memberships, and plans to expand to 100 members for the second and third years of the pilot project.
“The CPC’s goal is to provide an accessible, high quality, and inclusive hunting experience to pheasant hunting enthusiasts in southern Ontario,” says club president, Mario Coniglio.
For the hunt this fall, 1,000 pheasants will be released, and the hunting season will be open from September 25 through November 27, 2023. This year hunting will only be allowed with the purchase of a season permit, but the CPC will examine the feasibility of daily passes starting in 2024.
Applications for Club memberships will be available starting on June 1, 2023 and will be sold on a first-come-first-served basis. For more information, join the Facebook group “Conestogo Pheasant Club” and visit https://www.conestogopheasantclub.ca/.
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