LAHORE: The Punjab Wildlife and Parks Department have decided to hold a three-day hunt for pheasants in the picturesque valley of Kallar Kahar from February 7.
National and international hunters are expected to participate in the competition.
The Punjab Honorary Game Warden Badar Munir on Monday said that as many as 40 bird shooters have registered for the event so far, adding that shooters from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), Islamabad and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) are expected to participate in the event.
He added that groups comprising five hunters each will be formed while each of them will be given five turns to shoot the birds.
Some 25 birds will be freed and the hunters, standing adjacent to each other in a line, will test their aim.
The registration fee for the event, Munir said, has been fixed at Rs18,770 including all taxes.
Responding to the objections raised by wildlife conservationists about hunting pheasants, Munir explained that these are not wild pheasants. Instead, he said that there are around a thousand surplus pheasants in the Punjab Wildlife Breeding Centre and that as many as 500 birds are left even after pairing for breeding.
The official asserted that wildlife parks and zoos near the centre do not have sufficient room to cage these birds. Hence, the event was being organised to make room.
Munir said that pairs are caged and left for mating from February to March after which they start laying eggs by April.
He explained that the use of leftover pheasants for hunting is in complete accordance with the local and international laws. Furthermore, he said that it promotes hunting as a sport besides generating healthy revenue for the department.
Explaining the rules and regulations for hunting, the official said that a hunter must hold a hunting and arms licence. Moreover, he said that each hunter can shoot down a maximum of five birds. The official further said that single, double and padded guns will be allowed for shooting. He hoped that the activity will discourage illegal hunting.
A pair of young pheasants ready for breeding is available in the market in up to Rs2,500 but the wildlife department is charging Rs3,000 per bird.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 4th, 2020.