No group of pheasant hunters in the U.S. can come up with a one-and-a-half-day bag of 1,450 pheasants as did Ambassador Briggs and his party in Czechoslovakia. For along with the bag limit it is an unhappy fact of outdoor life that, while the number of hunters is ever increasing, pheasant habitat is diminishing. As a result, time-pressed sportsmen are turning to the public shooting preserve. Here pheasants and other game birds are raised to be released in natural cover. At an average of $5 a bird, the hunter may shoot as many birds as local regulations permit. Most preserves guarantee a certain number of fair shots. Some guarantee the bag. Nearly all offer guides, dogs, shells, and even guns for the unequipped. Their seasons are long. Consequently, preserves are booming; today there are more than 500 preserves in the United States. They have their critics, those who believe that the only true sport is hunting wild birds, but, undeniably, public preserves are helping to fulfill many a man's deep desire for the thrill of hunting. Herewith, for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED readers, is a list of excellent preserves accessible to some of our major urban areas, where anybody with the price can shoot his limit. Others can be located through the Sportsmen's Service Bureau, 250 E. 43 Street, New York 17.
PROVIDENCE. Peace Dale Shooting Preserve, Peace Dale, R.I. 31 miles from Providence. Edward Frisella, owner. Phone: Stirling 3-7137. 250 acres. Open Sept. 1 to April 15. A state license is required. Dogs, guides and guns. $5.50 a pheasant.
HARTFORD, Conn. Mohegan Game Farm, Shelton, Conn. 45 miles south of Hartford, using Exit 51 on Merritt Parkway. George Boehm, owner. Phone: Amherst 8-9158. 800 acres. Open Sept. 15 to March 15. No state license is required. Dogs, guides and guns. $5 a pheasant, 5 daily limit.
NEW YORK. Suffolk Lodge Game Preserve, Brookhaven, N.Y. 70 miles from New York on south shore of Long Island seven miles east of Patchogue. Kenneth B. Hard, owner. Phone Bellport 7-0244. 1,300 acres. Dogs, guides and guns. Open Sept. 1 to Feb. 28. No state license required. $65 for a 10-pheasant shoot (10 fair shots guaranteed), or on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday $40 for a five-pheasant shoot. Extra birds $5 each.
PITTSBURGH. Seley Farms, RD 1, Atlantic, Pa. 70 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, 40 miles south of Erie, 80 miles east of Cleveland. Edward N. Lawson, manager. Phone: Sheakleyville 2453. 1,006 acres. Open Oct. 1 to March 1. There is no Sunday hunting, and a state license is required. Dogs and guides. $20 a day minimum for two cocks and two hens. $25 for 4 cocks. Extra cocks $4.50, hens $3.40.
BALTIMORE. Harford Pheasant Farm, Dublin, Md. 35 miles northeast of Baltimore off Routes 1 and 135. Pierce Bates, manager. Phone: Gladstone 7-2335. 500 acres. Open Oct. 1 to March 31. There is no Sunday hunting, and a state license is required. Dogs, guides and guns. $20 a day for two cocks and two hens. Extra cocks $4.50, hens $3.50.
RICHMOND. Hidden Acres Game Preserve, Trevilians, Va. 50 miles from Richmond off Route 33. Walter G. Smith, manager. Phone: Louisa 270W-1. 425 acres. Open Oct. 1 to March 31. Dogs and guides. There is no Sunday hunting, and a state license is required. Season membership $100 for 20 pheasants or $5 a bird.
LOUISVILLE. Preston Highway Shooting Preserve, 4604 Hillside Drive, Louisville, Ky. 14 miles from downtown Louisville. Mrs. G. W. Taylor, manager. Phone: Emerson 8-1009. 1,000 acres. Open Oct. 1 to March 31. A state license is required. Dogs, guides and guns. $20 a day for four birds.
TOPEKA, Kans. Green Acres Controlled Shooting Area, Hoyt, Kans. 10 miles north of Topeka on Route 75. John A. Costelow, owner. Phone: Hoyt 535. 1,200 acres. Open Oct. 15 to Feb. 15. A state license is required. Dogs and guides. $6.25 a pheasant.
CHICAGO. Gooley's Game Farm, Elgin, Ill. 40 miles from Chicago on Route 20 to McLean Blvd., 4 miles west on Rowes Road. Robert W. Gooley, owner. Phone Sherwood 2-3293. 1,200 acres. Open Oct. 15 to March 15. A state license is required. Dogs and guides. $10 minimum for two pheasants, extra birds $5.