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dave12341234

raising pheasants?

25 posts in this topic

Hey, to all you northern mn/wi pheasant hunters out there. Do you think pheasants are making a comeback up here. I know of people that raise pheasants and release them up here, and im thinking of doing it myself. Everyone I’ve talked to has had nothing but succsess. They always see them roaming around in there yards and back 40’s. I wonder if the state or government is doing any kind of a program for this situation?

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If I remember correctly it is illegal to release pen raise game birds. Has something to do with disease getting into the wild population.

Check with the DNR.

Mike

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What about all the game preserves in the state? I know a few people that buy birds and release them on they're own land for hunting.

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mike,if you go through a program you wouldnt need a license.

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I stand corrected. I asked the DNR about it. Here is their response.

"It would not be illegal to purchase pheasant chicks and than release the birds. A game farm license would only be required if you kept some birds over the winter. You should keep you receipt indicating when and where the birds(chicks) were purchased.

good luck

jim"

Mike

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I belong to a group called Pope county pheasant restoration and we cost share with our members to release birds and it has good results. We do both day olds and 12 week old birds.

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Here is what pheasants forever has to say about it.

Pheasant Stocking

Pheasant Stocking: An ineffective management tool

In the past 50 years, conflicting views have fueled debate over the effectiveness of stocking pen-reared pheasants to increase wild ring-necked pheasant populations. Most often, sportsmen have been on one side of this debate, wildlife biologists the other. This frustrates professional wildlife managers because stocking of pen-raised birds is not an efficient means to increase wild bird populations. Developing and enhancing habitat, on the other hand, has proven to help increase ring-necked numbers.

By definition, "stocking" is the release of pen-reared pheasants into habitat where wild birds already are present. "Introductions" or "transplants" are different. These refer to the release of birds into areas where birds are not generally present, using management that has been studied very thoroughly.

Pheasant in a FieldWhat follows are answers to the most commonly asked questions about stocking. This information is the product of research conducted by many states and countries. It also represents conclusions of thousands of landowners who have tried stocking without success.

What kind of survival rate can be expected from pheasants stocked in the summer or fall at 8-14 weeks of age?

On average, only 60 percent will survive the initial week of release. After one month, roughly 25 percent will remain. Over-winter survival has been documented as high as 10 percent but seldom exceeds 5 percent of birds released.

That being the case, shouldn't we close the hunting season to protect the newly-stocked birds?

For the most part, hunting has little to do with poor survival. Predators take the real toll, accounting for more than 90 percent of all deaths. The reason: pen-reared birds never had a chance to learn predator avoidance behavior. Starvation can also be a problem. Some newly-released pheasants take up to three weeks to develop optimal foraging patters essential to survival in the wild.

If predators are the problem, shouldn't we eliminate more of them?

Reducing predator populations to levels where pheasant numbers can rise would involve astronomical costs. In addition, many predators are federally protected and cannot be harmed. Some pheasants will always be lost to predators, but well-designed habitat can reduce predation by up to 80 percent.

If over-winter survival is so poor, why not wait until spring to release breeder hens?

Mortality is still very high, and roughly 40 to 70 percent of the hens will perish before attempting to nest. Also, high mortality rates continue even after nests are initiated or eggs successfully hatched, resulting in dismally low production. Average production of spring-released hens ranges from 5 to 40 chicks per 100 hens released. Thus, released hens are not productive enough to replace their own losses.

In our area, survival must be higher. I see birds near the release site all the time. Can't survival be different in different areas?

There often will be a few that make it, but studies have shown they are unable to maintain a population. This is why local stocking programs continue year after year. Ultimately we must ask ourselves why there is a need to repeat stocking efforts on an annual basis if survival is as high as often claimed.

Okay, maybe the survival rate isn't very good, but isn't minimal survival better than none at all?

Not necessarily. We're concerned about a self-sustaining population that we won't have to continually supplement with pen-raised birds. In order to remain at a constant level, wild pheasant populations must have a production rate of roughly four chicks (surviving to 10 weeks) per hen. With production rates of less than one chick per hen, a population would decline rapidly (see Figure 1).

If stocking initially established pheasants in my state, why wouldn't it work now?

When pheasants were first introduced, the landscape was far different from the one we have today. Farming techniques were primitive, field sizes smaller and crops more diversified. These habitat conditions created a situation ideally suited for the introduction of a farmland species like the ring-necked pheasant.

How much does it cost to raise a pen-reared pheasant?

Anywhere from $3 to $15 a bird, depending on when they are released. If you think about it in terms of the cost for either surviving hens or roosters harvested, the figures are especially discouraging. Again, these figures assume maximum production (see Table 1).

Even if I'm not doing much good by releasing birds, what's the real harm?

Though not proven, there is cause for concern. Genetic dilution may be occurring. Even with minimal survival, the release of thousands of pen-raised birds over many years may be diminishing the "wildness" of the wild stock. Another concern is that, by releasing hundreds of birds in a given area, predators may start keying on pheasants. This may result in wild birds incurring higher predation. Finally, there is the potential of disease transmission from released birds to the wild flock.

That being the case, why are so many clubs and several state agencies still stocking pheasants?

State agencies stock pheasants to provide additional hunting opportunities for their residents. In most cases there is a great deal of pressure from sportsmen's groups to continue these programs, despite their cost and potential problems. Sportsmen's clubs continue to stock because it is easy and gives members a sense of accomplishment. Many individuals misunderstand or don't believe the facts associated with releasing pen-reared birds.

What if I just want to put a few more birds in the bag?

Simple enough. Release the birds as close to the time you want to hunt as possible. To do otherwise is a waste of money. Pen-raised birds do provide shooting opportunities and a chance to keep your dog in shape. Just keep in mind that these birds are not going to produce a wild self-sustaining population in your area.

Is there hope for areas with severely depressed pheasant populations?

Yes. Start by understanding pheasant habitat needs. What kinds of areas do pheasants nest in? What are optimal covers in which they survive harsh winters? How can these areas be created and preserved? The answers can be learned from your local wildlife professionals. Consider becoming a Pheasants Forever member. Informative and educational articles on these and other subjects are part of every Pheasants Forever magazine. If you are serious about improving local habitat conditions, consider joining or forming a local chapter.

If local habit conditions are substantially improved, where are the pheasants going to come from?

Because of their high productivity, "wild" pheasants in the area can quickly populate newly-created habitats. In unpopulated areas of suitable habitat, transplanting wild birds of their offspring (F1 generation) appears to be the best solution. Even releases of F1 stock, however, have yielded some success. The first step should be an investigation of factors that have limited pheasant populations in the past, i.e., lack of winter habitat or increased pesticide use.

Where can I obtain wild or F1 generation pheasants?

Release programs of this nature are undertaken by some state wildlife agencies after suitable release areas have been identified. Agencies have the sole authority to trap wild birds or trade for them with other states. Involvement by private groups or individuals most often takes the form of donated manpower or money to help finance such operations.

Okay, at least I know where to start, but can we realistically hope to see abundant wild pheasants again?

Yes. During the past 50 years there has been a colossal amount of money spent on supplemental stocking programs by state and local governments, sportsmen's groups and private individuals. If these dollars would have been invested in habitat restoration, hundreds of species of wildlife in addition to pheasants would have been benefited. Here's the bottom line: when habitat conditions improve, wild pheasant populations will increase in response to that habitat.

Need more information about enhancing pheasant populations?

Try the Pheasants Forever Essential Habitat Guide — a handy reference on all kinds of pheasant cover, including shelterbelts, food plots and nesting cover. And, be sure to check with your local Pheasants Forever chapter, where you will find cost sharing, planting assistance, or just advice from a friendly chapter volunteer.

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good point, but i would just plan on increasing the population by releasing 25 around my house, and hopefully they stick around.

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Fox bait.

Spend your money putting together some habitat to attract wildlife. If you build it they will come.

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i live in northern northern wisconsin, i highly doubt pheasant will come.

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I saw a Babe Winkelman a couple years ago where he showed what he was doing on the land he lives on. It was pretty impressive, he put in a lot of time on habitat improvement, ie digging ponds, increasing brushy cover, planting large plots of corn which were never picked, specifically for pheasants, deer, and grouse. He lives in northern MN where there are no pheasants, but he started stocking his own (I don't remember if they were wild or pen raised). In a few years, he had a healthy, self-sustaining pheasant population in an area of the state where they normally aren't found. I think the point is that if you build the habitat where there normally aren't birds, then introduce a few of your own, you may see some good results.

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I agree with Tom, habitat has to be there. I've raised pheasants a few times and have never seen one last more then a couple months. Fox, coyotes, and cats take care of them pretty quick.

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It is really tough with raised birds, they just can't adapt or know survival keys. The habitat statement was the best advise. then see what it would take to get some wild adult birds. It can be done, put them in the habitat and pray for the best. may feel like reinventing the wheel, but really your only hope unless you just intend on releasing ang shooting them.

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One can raise the birds and then release them for a hunt a few days later and that works fairly well. Most often if not always, pen raised birds do not make it to the next seasons mating period. Its a great thing to do but just does not work very well when one takes the wild out of the bird.

I use to breed and raise thousands of birds a year and would let some go for dog training and it worked but they didnt fly to well. One needs to have huge flight pens while they are in captivity or they just run when released.

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I also tried releasing pen raised birds in the same area as Babe Winkelman and had little success until one year I kept all my hens and a couple of roosters till spring. When they started laying eggs I released them and that spring while cutting hay I had lots of little birds hiding in the hay. The hens were still a little tame but those chicks were wild and now I have a good dozen or so in the cattails for two winters now. Makes for good entertainment while sitting in the deer stand.

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I think WingNut has things tightened down and is on the mark. I will suggest that mild winters have helped a lot with any birds further north than the 'normal' range. But I still will push the habitat end of things. The original poster responded that he was in northern WI and it wasn't likely that wild birds would find it no matter what he did. My sort of smart a-- mental response was 'then go grouse hunting' but that wouldn't have added much. So, try building the habitat and the try and get some birds to nest in the spring and see what happens.

I'm working on a project now that involves trying to increase chick survival by assuring a good source of bugs for the first 8-12 weeks of their life. All that I've read about it makes it sound very promising. The concept is to basically plow up some ground about 12 feet wide and make sure it stays moist for those 8-12 weeks. The bugs keep hatching and the chicks get a good start. The other thing was to make sure that the cover they do have isn't so dense that they can't get through it. I'm a city boy and haven't gotten that figured out yet, but I suspect that it means plant native prarie type seed.

Good luck to those who try. Join Pheasants Forever and you'll get a ton of learning in each and every magazine issue.

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I was surprised at the number of pheasants I saw yesterday in the fields off 169 just south of Onamia. Many birds out eating in the fields. Probably at least 4-5 different fields that must have had around 25 birds.

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This time of year, with as little traffic as this forum sees, I will agree with 311.

The last couple years I have seen a very good increase of bird up this way. I drive a dump truck and haul dirt and such mostly in the spring. Being as high in the air as I am and given the back roads I travel, spring time before the fields sprout up, I have starting seeing large numbers of birds gathering in fields. Also on my own property, rooster cackles are way up compared to 3-4 years ago and that is year round.

I think the birds are making a huge come back in this area and even grouse hunting I have seen way more pheasants than years back.

Also I stopped by the north end of Lake Fremont in Zimm town to see the freeze out carp, northern and bull head situation. There is a ton of dead fish all around and I seen a group of roosters feasting on the remains. Also there are a ton of tracks all around.

I have noticed more so in low/swap area birds running around this winter, than field areas.

Good luck..

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 Originally Posted By: shackbash
There is a ton of dead fish all around and I seen a group of roosters feasting on the remains. Also there are a ton of tracks all around.

Good luck..

Sounds a little fishy, I had no idea they will eat fish???

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I never thought about it until I seen it.

The north end where the freeze out occurred, is a little slue area with cat tails and fields to the north. I drove by a couple Sat. mornings ago early, right after sun rise and seen I

it then.

I guess Fremont is open by the DNR to unlimited fishing (so the sign says) and guys have been out in that slue cutting open spear holes and spearing and bow fishing for the carp. They have been piling up mounds of bull heads, carp and northern, with out taking them (what a waste). If your drive on the north end (small minimum mat. road) to the culvert from the big lake to the small swap area (I heard that there are springs in this area so every living fish in Fremont flocked threw culvert to this area for oxygen and got trapped). This occurred before our last long deep freeze and I guess carp where so stacked up in the little area, they froze right into ice. It is a trip; I would go out and take a look if you are in the area. Now we got that snow (5-6") most is buried, but I am sure you will tracks and the pile of northern, carp and bull heads right on south aide of culvert. Just dust off snow with your boot and you will find the fish and look around for tracks.

I will add I did not see any picking apart fish, just gather around one of the bull head piles on the north end of the slue.

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a friend of mine claims that if you let a banty hen hatch out and raise the chicks in the yard, she will teach them survival skills as they tend to wander into the woods and fields with their chicks.

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A couple years ago, my son and I raised some chickens for a couple years (about 8 or so). We made a nice 16x16 fenced in area, with a good sized coop. What we ended up doing was just letting them run free around the yard and woods and leaving pen open. My son would feed them and the hens would lay eggs in the hen house, but they ran free and lucky mingled with other animals (dogs, coyotes) and lived a long time. The thing about it is they almost became wild on their own. They would take off in the woods for days and once and awhile, you could find them scratching around in the woods and leaves for bugs, grubs and what not. They almost where like wild turkeys. After awhile, we would only have to feed them when they came around, but sure enough one by one they would die from cause’s and such.

So the theory could be a good one.

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Pheasants Forever has some really helpful people on their Habitat Teams, if you are a member, contact them and they can get you some real, studied tips on what options you have to produce HEAVEN on your property!!! Good Luck

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I used to buy day olds from the Princeton Pheasant farm put them in a small cardboard box with a banty hen (12 to a hen) for a couple days with chick starter food and water. The hen adopts them as her own, turn them loose and let them free range. This is best done in late June as they can find bugs etc to eat. The banty hen teaches them to roost, avoid predators and to find food. My German Shorthair pointer would just watch them (he even adopted the banty hens and they slept with him until the chicks developed feathers). One day the banty hens would look at the chicks and decide it was time for them to find their own food and chase them off. The pheasants stayed near and survived. I still have some coming back and eating at the bird feeder. My kids still remember the pheasants chicks growing up and swear they can tell which is which.

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