Since 2014 the Stettler Pheasant Festival has been operating as both a hunting opportunity and a conservation effort in the region.
What started off as a half-day hunt has now grown into a three-day event complete with learning sessions, a banquet and full or half-day hunting groups for both seasoned or or beginner hunters.
The 2022 hunt took place from Oct. 14-16 on rural property in Stettler County at a cost of $285 for each half-day.
According to the Pheasant Festival website, the fee includes eight pheasants per hunter released just prior to the start of the hunt, with the maximum of four hunters in each area.
Funds from the pheasant festival are used to purchase and release 300 pheasant hens and a number of roosters into Stettler County to help increase the population of Chinese Ring-Necked Pheasants in the region.
Originally starting off as a joint project between the Stettler Regional Board of Trade and Community Development, Canadian Badlands Tourism, in recent years the festival has spun off into its own entity.
The 2022 edition of the Stettler Pheasant Festival had 300 hunters in attendance, with over 2,000 roosters sold and 300 hens released after the event.
In addition to the beginners hunt this year, the festival was also able to hold a first-responders hunt as well.
The 2023 edition of the Pheasant Festival will be the 10th anniversary of the event, and the committee has some special activities planned according to member Lorraine Hankins. The 2023 edition will take place Oct. 13-15, 2023.