A 45-year-old pheasant hunt that was cancelled in 2021 will return to Conestogo Lake Conservation Area (CLCA) this fall.
The hunt is a three-year pilot program. Made possible by the efforts of a dedicated group of pheasant hunting enthusiasts, with support from the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH).
The hunt was revived after a small group of hunters met with the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) board of directors in January 2022 to present a proposal to develop a self-funded, volunteer-run, pheasant program in Area 3 of the CLCA. The result was the pilot project and the formation of the Conestogo Pheasant Club (CPC).
The CPC is a volunteer, not-for-profit, OFAH affiliate club. Its role is to arrange hunt logistics. Including procurement of pheasants, build a social media presence, and manage membership applications and payments. The CPC hopes to have 80 members in its first year and 100 in the subsequent two. Only OFAH members can join the CPC, due to the federation’s membership insurance.
Club president Mario Coniglio said the GRCA sold 125 permits in the year prior to the hunt’s cancellation. But noted that the CPC executive thought it would be prudent to scale back membership to a manageable size for their inaugural season. This is also appropriate since the hunt is now confined to a smaller portion of the former hunt area.
CPC membership applications, which cost $280 for the season, will be available on June 1 and sold on a first-come-first-served basis. For more information, join the Conestogo Pheasant Club Facebook group or visit www.conestogopheasantclub.ca.
The hunt will run from Sept. 25 to Nov. 27. and 1,000 pheasants will be released. This year, only season permit holders will be permitted to hunt. But the CPC is examining the feasibility of daily permits for subsequent years.
“The CPC’s goal is to provide an accessible, high quality, and inclusive hunting experience to pheasant hunting enthusiasts in southern Ontario,” said Coniglio.