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Pheasant limits

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I saw on the news tonight that they are going to have hunting and trapping discussion groups in the near future. One of the meetings is in Glenwood. A topic that will be raised and opinions asked for is raising the rooster limit to 3 birds. A question like this will evoke strong feelings amongst bird hunters. The reason behind the question seemed to be that some hunters only had a few weekends of the season to hunt and they thought they should get an opportunity for a few more birds due to their limited time frame. Biologically speaking they claim as long as you have about a 15-20 % carry over of roosters, thats all you need for breeding. Not quite as many long tails the next year though. I plan on going to the meeting to hear what the DNR has to say and also what others thoughts are.

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At the Pheasants Forever state convention a month ago, there was discussion on this and Kurt Haroldson (DNR pheasant guru) was asked about the effects. He said there would be none. Because roosters are polygamous, you only need a carryover ratio of about 1:15 and you can't hunt them to below this level. So, in a nutshell, there is no biological reason for not upping the limits. The biggest sticking point is hunter satisfaction. It seems that if the limit is 2 and you shoot 2, then you have "limited out" and hunter satisfaction is high. If the limit is 3 and you shoot 2, then hunter satisfaction is not high. It seems utterly ridiculous to me, but apparently that is true. I am all for raising the limit.

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Raising the limit to 3 in Minnesota will probably have no long term effect on the pheasant population or the amount of birds taken in a given season, but you can bet it will have an effect on late season birds that are available. The distrubution of those birds by hunter and time of the season will be altered. I once read that up to 50% of the birds harvested are taken within the 1st week of the season. Raising the limit to 3 may bring that number to say 65%. Then end result may in fact be that no more birds are taken during the entire season... just more on the front side and less by the late season hunters. A good compromise would be to raise the limit to 3 after the 1st 14 days of the season. Then the juvenile birds who are learning the ropes have a chance to get through the initial onslaught providing opportunities to late season hunters. That's my take on the proposal... I know after a season like last year, many guys made statements like "we limited in 2 hours... we could've shot twice as many birds"... or "we were still flushing roosters on the way back to the truck after we limited on the backside of the property". Wisconsin has a similar approach allowing 1 rooster the 1st two weekends and then 2 after that. It spreads out the harvest and opportunities.

Good Luck!

Ken

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Anyone think that if they raised it to three it would have any effect in people traveling to the Dakota's? I already know people that don't go there any more becasue they say. "Why drive all the way out there for one extra bird and spend another $100 on a license when the hunting in the western part of Mn. the last couple of yrs. has been phenominal? " Just wondering peoples thoughts. I know I huned out west once this past fall and the three of us shot our limit in the first half hr. and didn't even get a chance to finish hunting the field. Same thing happened the next day. I felt like I was hunting SD . Granted this was private land ,but the number of birds was unbelieveable.

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During the past few years we have been fortunate to have good hunting. This has been represented by the increase in pheasant hunters each of the last few years. I know that during a bad year the same guy who says we should raise the limits will be the first guy crying about no birds. I think we just made a change a few years ago to a longer season, now we want higher limits. Why not make it leagal to road hunt too. What about an earlier start, some thing like 6am so you can shoot them off the road. Personally I don't care about limiting out. It's not that I don't like to, but I am out there more for the dog work than a freezer full of pheasant. I don't need to justify a good year by # of birds but rather by my dogs perfomance. These are just the thoughts of someone who hunts 2-3 days a week, sometimes more, all season long.

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The only significant change in Minnesota habitat in the last few years that has substantially increased the pheasent population has been the mild winters. Im old enough to know that this can easily change, and might well yet change this winter. I believe its better to error on the side of a pheasent reserve and carryover to ensure a survival percentage. A distinction between Minnesota and Dakota hunting is also a good idea I believe. For those who want a "freezer full", hunting preserves are always a good option.

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Springerman I agree with what you said. I would hate to see the limits increase then have a tough winter on the birds and end up like a few years ago when you had to walk for 2 days to get a bird. I'm not totally against uping the limits but I would like to see them wait another 2 years or so to let the population go up and get really well established.

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I tend to fall in the category that is fine with the limit at two for several of the reasons mentioned. I think 3 are fine in the dakotas because they simply have that much more habitat.

I do have a question though for those that are more in the know about the biology of pheasants. I had heard at one time that in rough winters, rooster pheasants will deter a hen from getting to a food source as a way of protecting the food source for his own survival. That in effect weakens the hen and increases the chances of not surviving a winter and not producing a clutch.

Is there any truth to this or is it just justification for liberalizing seasons and limits?

ccarlson

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The Dnr wants to raise the limit to three for one reason and one reason only. $$$$$$$$$$$. These hearings are just to make us feel like we have a say. Their biological reasons that state there is no reason not raise the limit is hogwash! I'd like to see the studies they've done on how many hens a rooster can breed. Are these wild birds or are they studying pen raised birds? Even if a rooster can breed 15 hens, will he have the opportunity to breed all the hens in a local area? I'd just as soon see some extra roosters around to make sure the majority of hens get bred. There is no reason to raise the limit to 3 birds. It's all about money. Why don't we just raise it to four or five so it's a complete slaughter. One bad winter and were back to square one.

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I have heard the same thing, it makes sense, the strongest and biggest survive. Roosters are bigger, heavier, equipped with spurs for raking, I don't think it would be very hard for a rooster to chase a hen off a food source.

The tough winter scenario and not shooting as many roosters in the fall doesn't quite equate, you simply cannot save roosters for the next year, the average life span is less than two years. Severe weather does not ask gender when it strikes and kills, it is indiscriminate.

I like Labs4me's idea, a two bird limit until say the 1st of November, then bring it to three. Spread out the resource over the course of the season.

For the sportsman who doesn't agree with an increase in the bird limit, they still have a personal choice to stop at one or two. I also tend to agree that it is more about the dog work than anything else. Would I shoot three birds if the limit is raised?, probably, on some days.

I hunted just about every weekend last season, I think I missed one. I got out once or twice during the week. Granted these were not all day hunts, a few hours each day, maybe a 30-45 minute walk after work. Majority of the time on public ground. A few great trips on private. I think there were a hand full of times I could have shot my third bird. Many trips were one or none.

It will be an interesting discussion.

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I personally don't see any reason to raise it to three. Shooting an extra bird for me doesn't make a better hunt. Maybe more time in the field does, but I can dictate that by not shooting the first two birds I see if its a problem. I do like Labs' compromise though if we are going to change anything. Wait until Nov 1 or at the very least until after MEA when there are a million people out for four straight days because the teachers and kids needed some extra vacation time. There won't be diddly squat left for birds if they all can shoot three a day for four straight days. Us working stiffs won't have anything left.

One other thing though, a bad winter will wipe them out whether we have a two or three bird limit. We are at mother nature's whim on that regardless.

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There is no extra money in it for the DNR, so that theory is out the window. If you want the studies, ask Kurt Haroldson for them. They did a big study along the IA/MN border and the result was shooting roosters has NO effect on the number of roosters the following season. I saw the study and I looked hard at the math and it holds up. The average lifetime of a pheasant is 9 months. The fact of the matter is, there is no BIOLOGICAL reason to NOT do this. Hunter satisfaction is the big one here. I like the idea of waiting for a couple of weeks as well. In fact, that idea was presented as well. Bottom line, you cant stockpile roosters, you might as well shoot them. Or I might as well shoot them. Yeah, I like the latter idea better!

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I'd like to know where ideas like this get hatched?? I don't know of any hunters that are clambering for a three bird limit!!

Long time MN pheasant hunters know that we're one bad winter storm away from being lucky to get one rooster! Enjoy this prosperity while it lasts!

I say leave the limit to two throughout the season, spread the harvest out for 2 1/2 months rather than see them get slaughtered the first two weeks.

Which is more satisfying, bagging three birds on Oct 16 or one bird on Dec 16?? I'd say the one bird on Dec 16, after you've walked for three hours.

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Quote:

Wait until Nov 1 or at the very least until after MEA when there are a million people out for four straight days because the teachers and kids needed some extra vacation time. There won't be diddly squat left for birds if they all can shoot three a day for four straight days. Us working stiffs won't have anything left.


confused.gif

The teachers I know get less than a few days vacation time. If they have a doctors appointment, or have a sick child, they get a subsitute, and they don't get paid. In return for getting their summers off, they often don't get hired back the following year, or have to work seasonal jobs besides to make ends meet.

If they hunt only 4 days a year, think what they must say about you hunting all the others?

Be careful about class warfare when it comes to hunting/fishing regs. We're all we've got, and divisive behavior helps no one.

I do agree with the nature's whim comment. Perhaps adjust each season depending upon population?

Joel

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Quote:

In return for getting their summers off


This quote says it all, pretty hard to feel sorry for teachers not getting hunting time in the fall. Thats 90 days, I have to try and make my 21 days stretch for vacation all year long. Same with pay, they only work 3/4 of the year, add another 1/4 to their salary and it wouldn't be so bad.

Quote:

Be careful about class warfare when it comes to hunting/fishing regs. We're all we've got, and divisive behavior helps no one.


I do agree with you there, hunters need to stick together.

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Quote:

The Dnr wants to raise the limit to three for one reason and one reason only. $$$$$$$$$$$.


Couldnt agree more with ya Koonie, This is no different than the DNR issuing out 3-5 deer tags were the herd can simply not take it in this neck of the woods. You watch they will raise it to 3 birds and we'll get a couple of real minnesota winters and be back to square 1. All about the ol'mighty dollar boys!!!

Quote:

There is no extra money in it for the DNR, so that theory is out the window.


That is ridiculous, with high populations of pheasant and higher limits there's no dought that the DNR will sell a pile more lisences. There's a lot of so called "fair wheather hunter's out there that jump in and out of the sport of pheasant hunting and duck's too when the population rises and crashes, or limits change.

Jusy my opinion anyway wink.gif

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I'd like to see the limit stay at two birds. With a three bird limit public land would be picked clean a whole lot earlier in the season.

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I don't understand why a change?

If a change were to happen I agree with Labs, but I'll stick to my guns and say keep it at 2.

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How do you figure there is no extra money in it. If they raise the limit there will undoubtedly be more people getting into pheasant hunting, thus more license sales and more money for the dnr.

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There may be no boilogical reason not to do it but is there a biological reason to do it??

I maybe over did it in my first post but I'm kinda getting sick of the more is better thing. Seems like it's never enough for some people.

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....."Shooting roosters has no effect on the number of roosters the following season" Why have limits at all then? Biologists and the DNR are always right. After all the objective of pheasant hunting is to see how many we can get, right?

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Quote:

confused.gif

The teachers I know get less than a few days vacation time. If they have a doctors appointment, or have a sick child, they get a subsitute, and they don't get paid. In return for getting their summers off, they often don't get hired back the following year, or have to work seasonal jobs besides to make ends meet.

If they hunt only 4 days a year, think what they must say about you hunting all the others?

Be careful about class warfare when it comes to hunting/fishing regs. We're all we've got, and divisive behavior helps no one.

Joel


I'm not trying to start class warfare, I'm just merely stating a fact. Come over here and drive around during MEA when the weather is still nice and the fair weathers are still hunting. I bet more birds are shot around here that four day weekend than the rest of the entire 2 1/2 months to follow. If you can't see what letting all those people whack another bird a day would do, I don't really see what you are looking at.

As to teachers, I wasn't trying to rip them as the kids hunt that weekend just as much, just like my post said. But don't look for sympathy on their schedule. What's the normal teacher contract now 178 days? How many people do you know that work less than 1/2 the days of the year? The vast majority of jobs are going to take more like 250 days. No vacation? What about Summer? Thanksgiving? Christmas? Easter? Etc. No, I don't begrudge them their time, their contract is their contract, but don't even start to ask for sympathy for that schedule limiting them in any fashion...

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Quote:

After all the objective of pheasant hunting is to see how many we can get, right?


Bird hunting is not just about body counts. It's much more than that for me. I can have a good day and get none or I can have a day where I got my 2 and not be as happy.

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Random thoughts....

I do believe that the "biological impact" reasoning should be just part of the answer. If you use that idea as the sole reasoning than why not have pheasant roosters - like snow geese? NO LIMITS. 10% of the population will survive no matter how high the pressure.

Hunter satisfaction, balancing hunter density and pressure, etc... all should be taken into account.

Many speak about how good the MN duck hunting was during the drought of the 80s. Well is that because the limit was 3 and more people felt like they accomplished something??

MN should keep the daily limit at two. I suspect the pressure to raise the limit will come from "hunter landowners" and leasors that have a financial investment and want to shoot more birds on less trips on "their land".

I agree it is not about body counts, but for many limits are a measure of success. If the limit moves to 3, I bet MN pheasant hunter satisfaction goes down - even if 50% more roosters (because of high population) are shot.

Finally on public land, if the limit stays at two - and limits are somewhat easy - then people (groups) will get off the land sooner - leaving birds less pressured for the day or room for other hunters to hunt.

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Lawdog:

You're entitled to your own opinions, of which all are welcome, but not your own facts. Windshield biology and "drive around here" and "I bet you" talk is mere speculation at best, at worst, possibly misleading. DNR biologists don't have the luxury of supposition, but require data to support their recommendations. I'm not saying you're necessarily wrong either, but lets try and not bash our fellow hunters in the process of brainstorming.

Regarding teachers, I was simply trying to find the flip side of the coin, as the one-side you aptly described. Sympathy no, a fair shake, yes. My word could I make some dandy statements about lawyers, or doctors, or finance gurus! As in your case, many of those statements would include factual situations and people, though using those scenarios to label or furthermore assign blame based on class or employment; well, I think you'd agree that such would be ludicrous.

And you get Christmas, Thanksgiving, and other holidays off too I'm sure. Holidays aren't vacation, and I think we could all stand to know a few teachers and "working stiffs," as a mile in anyones shoes makes the perspective that much more reasonable.

My intent on posting to begin with was to steer the discussion in a more positive direction. Let's keep this thread on the right track.

Joel

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