HARRISBURG, Pa. — The 2,400 pheasants placed under quarantine following detection of avian cholera at a Pennsylvania game farm will not be released for late-season hunting.
Arrangements are being made to humanely dispose of the affected flock at the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Loyalsock Game Farm.
Avian cholera is an infectious bacterial disease affecting domestic and wild birds, and is the most significant infectious disease of wild waterfowl in North America.
As noted in the Wildlife Disease Reference Library available at the Game Commission’s website, an avian cholera outbreak in Pennsylvania’s wild bird populations has never been documented. Avian cholera is diagnosed annually at about a dozen poultry and game-bird production facilities in the commonwealth, but this is the first occurrence at a Game Commission game farm in nearly a decade.
Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe said the decision was not made lightly.
The commission raises pheasants for the sole purpose of releasing them, and providing a valued small-game hunting opportunity for hunters, Roe said.
Propagation is a significant investment, funded in large part by revenues from the sale of hunting and furtaker licenses, he said. And it’s frustrating when that end product can’t be given back to hunters, he said.
“In this case, however, we felt we had to cut our losses and minimize the risk to wildlife populations,” Roe said.