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mascad

MN Pheasants down 29%

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mascad

Great...

More bad news for Minnesota pheasant hunters: The state's pheasant population is down 29 percent from last year, due to a long winter and cold, wet spring and loss of habitat.

Just last week, South Dakota reported a 64 percent decline in its ringneck population.

Minnesota’s 2013 pheasant index is 64 percent below the 10-year average and 72 percent below the long-term average.

The Department of Natural Resources predicts pheasant hunters will harvest about 246,000 roosters this fall – which would be down 18,000 from last year's estimated harvest of 264,000. It's also less than half the number of pheasants taken during the 2005-2008 seasons when hunting was exceptionally good.

Officials said the recent loss of habitat is hurting the pheasant population

Enrollment in the federal Conservation Reserve Program declined by 63,700 acres in Minnesota’s pheasant range over the last year and contracts for nearly 400,000 acres of statewide CRP lands are scheduled to expire during the next 3 years. If not re-enrolled, this would reduce CRP acres in Minnesota by 30 percent. High land rental rates and competing uses for farmland diminish the economic attractiveness of farmland conservation programs.

Meanwhile, the DNR said the highest pheasant counts were in the southwest region, where observers reported 51 birds per 100 miles of survey driven. Hunters should find good harvest opportunities in west-central, east-central and south-central Minnesota.

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Greenhornet84

In years past the large swamp I bow hunt in has always had lots of birds even last year when numbers were down in the rest of the county. This year I've only heard a few birds. Not lookin good I only shot one pheasant last year(by choice bow hunting is too much fun) one bird limit?

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Ryan_V

doom and gloom. yes the numbers are down, but there are birds. heard the same thing last year, " the birds are gone"!!!! I had one of the better years I've had pheasant hunting last year. BUT...... I put in a lot of time and put alot of miles on my boots for those birds. if you put in your time and effort, you can find birds. too many guys just want to go out, walk a quarter mile, shoot 2 birds and go back to their recliner. I'm also a foul weather hunter, rain, sleet, snow, doesn't matter, me and my dog love being in the field! put in time and effort, and you'll find birds, not every outing, but persistence pays off.

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R. Miller

What Ryan said +1

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lindy rig

I also enjoy hunting regardless and am more than willing to work for birds. BUT, you have to agree that the loss of habitat is very alarming more so than a few "down" years. I'd like for my boy to actually know what decent hunting is like when he grows up.

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Stcloudangler

+1 what lindy rig said ^^^^

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Greenhornet84

Yea yea I really don't care what the bird numbers do since I bow hunt 99% of the time. Just sayin from what I've seen compared to our last two years of "low numbers" yep it's doom and gloom. Have fun I'll be in a tree.

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harvey lee

NO bird hunting for me in MN. Our county is about void of birds.

I love to go out but walking a mile or so for 1 bird to flush is a waste of time for me. I would rather sit in a tree and wait for a deer.

With the continued loss of habitat and the price of landing going up like it is, going to be hard to find bird habitat to hunt. Alot will go by the way of the plow if it has not already.

If we want good bird hunting again, farming prectices will have to change and gov programs will have to increase for habitat, not decrease like they have. With the price of land and rent, very few will enroll any acre's in any program as it does not pay well enough.

If I get the urge bad to go bird hunting, I will go to SD or Iowa where they have some birds worth hunting. At least there, one can walk and shoot and not see a bird here or there.

For the die hard, yes there are a few birds around, darn few though. I travel the gravel alot in the summer and I have seen next to nothing for birds. I know, you cannot see them all from the road but you should see some.

Enough for the doom and gloom now.

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CodyDawg

Remember folks, science is very clear that you cannot stockpile roosters. Hunting roosters has no effect on the following years population.

I had a very good year last year. there will be good bird numbers if you have good habitat I believe, but for the guy who doesnt put forth any effort and wants to shoot his limit in the first mile, there will be some empty game bags.

I agree, habitat loss is critical. join PF and make a difference. In my county, we retained 710 out of 800 acres of expiring CRP. How? My PF chapter put a farm bill biologist in the NRCS office.

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Swiftswamper

least amount of pheasants I've ever seen. They aren't on the roads like normal and I think I've seen two rosters from bow stand this year... I typically used to see 50 every morning...

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Ryan_V

if it was supposed to be easy, they would call it " shooting" not " hunting"! yes it's work to find birds, if you don't want to put in the work, hang your shotgun up and stay home. I agree things need to change in order to preserve the sport, but I enjoy the heck out of a good day in the field with my dog, birds or no birds. if you want to go to south Dakota or ia, more power to you, I wish that was an option for me, but not everyone is able to afford such trips. within 20 miles of my house I have well over 1000 acres of public hunting land and plan to walk a great deal of it! opener is only about a week away, can't wait!

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Todd Caswell

if it was supposed to be easy, they would call it " shooting" not " hunting"! yes it's work to find birds, if you don't want to put in the work, hang your shotgun up and stay home. I agree things need to change in order to preserve the sport, but I enjoy the heck out of a good day in the field with my dog, birds or no birds. if you want to go to south Dakota or ia, more power to you, I wish that was an option for me, but not everyone is able to afford such trips. within 20 miles of my house I have well over 1000 acres of public hunting land and plan to walk a great deal of it! opener is only about a week away, can't wait!

Ryan, you can walk all you want, ( birds or no birds) have a good day in the field ( with your dog or not) but your missing the point, it's all about loss of habitat, if it continues at this rate in a couple years you might as well go walk your dog on hole # 9 because your going to get the same results......

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Ryan_V

didn't miss the point at all, like I said in my previous post, I know things need to change in order to preserve the sport. you even quoted it. I'm just saying stop whining and go hunting if you so desire. if not, great, more room for me. yes it stinks that way too much habitat it going by way of the plow, and I don't agree with the " emergency haying" that's been another point of contention as of late. I don't mind the grazing of the land in the spring, but if farmers need more hay, they should take some corn and beans out and plant more hay! enough said, bottom line... if you want to hunt, come and join me. if you have the ability to go where the numbers are higher, more power to you, if you want to stay home, I just wish the Vikings would put on a better show for you! my season starts next Saturday afternoon! have kids sports in the morning.

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Swiftswamper

I don't pheasant hunt. I am a bow hunter so I really do not care Ryan. I was just stating what I have observed. My family has great land that I have spent many years bow hunting. I feel that my time near the swamp and corn fields gives me a great sense on where the population is each and I it's the lowest I have ever seen.

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raymondk

I have been running my dog on state land and what I am seeing is more birds then last year the only problems is that over half of them are the size of robins which you won't be able to tell what they are til the end of the season. The dnr did make the statement that there could of been late hatches so there numbers could be off I think this true.For going to south Dakota I have done that and I wasn't really impressed . everybody said the same thing last year and last year was a good year for me.( I only hunt public land very little private)

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walleye18

We use to hunt ditch parrots in ND, SD and MN.

We had some unbelievable years.....Last year we only hunted my wife's relatives farms in ND. Use to shoot 150 to 250 birds a year on that land. The last two years only got us 38 birds total....with last year only giving up 11. Point being, the best is gone!! Unless the habitat comes back.

Like I posted prior - I told my boys to "take it all in, your not going to see it like this ever again"!

Now just wait - in the next 2-4 years, the waterfowl in the Dakotas is going to be hit really hard...mark my words!

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harvey lee

Remember folks, science is very clear that you cannot stockpile roosters. Hunting roosters has no effect on the following years population.

I had a very good year last year. there will be good bird numbers if you have good habitat I believe, but for the guy who doesnt put forth any effort and wants to shoot his limit in the first mile, there will be some empty game bags.

I agree, habitat loss is critical. join PF and make a difference. In my county, we retained 710 out of 800 acres of expiring CRP. How? My PF chapter put a farm bill biologist in the NRCS office.

Not always does PF make a difference. The idea is great.

I started a chapter 25 years ago in Sibley County and since then and many dollars spent, I see no difference in the bird population. Actually 25 years ago there were more birds than today.

Yes, weather, hard winters and wet springs do make a difference and some more habitat but in 25 years with PF, nothing I can see that has benefitied a hunter.

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i'majigger

If something isn't done about the predator problem such as racoons, crows, owls, hawks, and I believe the worst of all is the seagull, it isn't going to make any difference how much habitat you have when the critters can eat them faster than mother nature can grow them!

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LandDr

I agree with Harvey...do it yourself or get a group together and get it done. Pool your resources and funds and get some projects going. It can be as simple as finding the best winter cover areas in your county and putting deer proof feeders in them...strategically so you don't create a predator trap. If you can get more hens thru the winter, you will have much greater success at having more broods in the spring. "Dead Hens Don't Lay Eggs".

You can also load these winter areas up with predator traps...live traps if you want. Research has shown however that the best time to trap is during the nesting season. Do both seasons if you can.

Talk with the farmers to see if they have some really marginal tough to farm areas around the fields that you can help them enroll into a better paying lower risk option. I think you will find some interest...but most of them don't want to deal with the USDA office and all of the politics and paperwork that goes along with it.

I quit my USDA job in 1994 to start PLM to get more done. It is hard work and it takes time...but strategic sound management does make results and great rewards. I will work with anyone that wants to get stuff done and make a difference. If you or a group want to do something, get ahold of me and let's talk some ideas and options. I will also invite you out to see some of our demonstration sites so you can see it first hand...then you can take those ideas and experiences back with you.

Get'r done!

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BLACKJACK

Yea yea I really don't care what the bird numbers do since I bow hunt 99% of the time. Just sayin from what I've seen compared to our last two years of "low numbers" yep it's doom and gloom. Have fun I'll be in a tree.

I've always said that opening day of pheasant hunting would be a good day to be in the deer stand!!! In the right spot along a ditch or treeline leading from a public hunting area, action could be good!! But I never do it because I love pheasant hunting!!! And so do my Labs!!

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BLACKJACK

My PF chapter put a farm bill biologist in the NRCS office.

I've been kind of wondering about these 'PF biologists' that are in the NRCS offices. In any business the most expensive component is the salaries of people so is paying the salaries of more biologists more cost effective than putting it toward permanent habititat like buying land???

In the local NRCS office I've dealt with the PF guy - and he just helped me fill out some renewal papers. They've also had several retirements of regular office staff -- and it appears they haven't rehired those positions, they're relying on the PF position. And in the past the guys that retired did a pretty good job of explaining the options, helping me with cost share options, etc. - is a PF biolgist really needed and does that position create more habitat??

Just wondering whether PF is spending its money wisely, whether they really need to hire more people or whether it should go into habitat.

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CodyDawg

Harvey, you are nuts if you dont think PF has made a difference. Absolutely crazy. Just look at the numbers of acres conserved or enhanced in this state and it is staggering. If we didnt have PF, it would be much, much worse than it is now. To say nothing of their accomplishments with the Farm Bill. If not for the efforts of PF, CRP would provide only a fraction of what it is today. I dont know why you want to grind the axe with PF, but either come up with something concrete or let it rest.

The Farm Bill Biologist program is making a huge difference in CRP acres in this state. At a time when crop prices are so high, we retained almost all of our CRP this year and a good chunk of it last year. If that isnt making a difference, I dont know what is.

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creepworm

The only word I can come up with to describe the only PF Biologist I interacted with is irk. He really irked me, and I guess many others, as he was asked not to come to the NRCS office anymore. I know for a fact that he had a negative impact on the amount of acres enrolled in CRP in that county because people did not want to deal with him or be anywhere near him. I am sure most PF biologists help, but this guy certainly did not and turned me off to the entire program.

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walleye18

thats a bad deal creepworm. Too bad the PF guy turned people away from enrollments, etc...

I think and believe that as a whole, PF does great work....just like DU.

Hopefully, PF will replace the biologist with someone more qualified in the near future and regain the trust of the local landowners.

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BLACKJACK

The only word I can come up with to describe the only PF Biologist I interacted with is irk. He really irked me, and I guess many others, as he was asked not to come to the NRCS office anymore. I know for a fact that he had a negative impact on the amount of acres enrolled in CRP in that county because people did not want to deal with him or be anywhere near him. I am sure most PF biologists help, but this guy certainly did not and turned me off to the entire program.

You should have contacted someone higher up in PF about your concerns with that biologist. The problem can't be fixed if people don't know about it.

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BLACKJACK

The Farm Bill Biologist program is making a huge difference in CRP acres in this state. At a time when crop prices are so high, we retained almost all of our CRP this year and a good chunk of it last year. If that isnt making a difference, I dont know what is.

Cody, its one of those things thats hard to quantify, were farmers influenced by the PF biologist or were there other factors like 'too steep to farm' or 'I like to see wildlife' the determining factors? Plus the regular NRCS technicians that I've dealt with are very knowledgable and conservation minded.

I see in the PF magazine all the people and salaries that are getting paid by PF and I just wonder whether some of that salary money would be better put into habitat. Overall I think that PF does a great job and that it IS important to have a voice in Washington.

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CodyDawg

Actually they quantify it by comparing enrollment rates between counties with and without FBBs. I cannot remember the exact numbers, but the counties with FBBs have significantly higher re-enrollment rates. the differences they have seen have been pretty impressive. The program is really working and nothing can compare to the number of acres of habitat that can be gained by having a FBB in your county. A good chunk of the funding comes through grant dollars and each local PF chapter has to decide if they want the program in their county and if so, they have to come up with some money as well.

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harvey lee

Harvey, you are nuts if you dont think PF has made a difference. Absolutely crazy. Just look at the numbers of acres conserved or enhanced in this state and it is staggering. If we didnt have PF, it would be much, much worse than it is now. To say nothing of their accomplishments with the Farm Bill. If not for the efforts of PF, CRP would provide only a fraction of what it is today. I dont know why you want to grind the axe with PF, but either come up with something concrete or let it rest.

The Farm Bill Biologist program is making a huge difference in CRP acres in this state. At a time when crop prices are so high, we retained almost all of our CRP this year and a good chunk of it last year. If that isnt making a difference, I dont know what is.

Well, nuts I maybe, but I know what we had for birds 25 years ago before the Sibley County chapter strated which I was heavily involved in and I know what we have for birds now after 25 years of projects and habitat programs along with winter feeding.

Sibley Country over those 25 years have spent many hundreds of thousands of dollars along with help from other wildlife groups in larger projects and I see nothing more, infact less than I did 25 years ago in my home area.

I have many friends who were heavy supporters when the chapter started and after 15 years, they no longer get involved with any part of this chapter including donating funds. I still support the chapter as I feel it is like my baby since I contacted PF 25 years ago to get a chapter started in Sibley County.

Do I feel it has done much good, well, we have no more birds but I guess we could have nothing, very close now though. I would agree we could be even worse off but in fact, Sibley County has not seen any considerable increase in population.

As far as concrete evidence, if we have less birds than 25 years ago after all the work and money has been spent, is that not enough concrete evidence?????

So, since I may be nuts, please advise me how the PF chapter has helped with the bird population PLEASE other than the fact we could have nothing, about what we have now.

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Musky Buck

I'm with all ya all but I hear Harvey our local chapter bought an 80 not even in pheasant range really, there are 0 pheasants on it but it makes for another 80 of public deer ground and that will be what it's used for from here on out. My dad had great pheasant hunting in the 60's, those same farms hold few if any birds today, those fields are coal black dirt after harvest, not like when they were active dairy farms with lots of waste grains and not sprayed for every weed and rarely plowed up until spring, every 8th cob of corn in a 2 row picker fell to the ground and there was a mix of alfalfa/oats/corn/etc. Sloughs weren't drained nasty wet falls grandpa wasn't doing corn until spring. How's ducks unlimited or Delta waterfowl doing ? Ducks are limited, I spend plenty with pheasants forever but it's a constant battle of having the land to hold em, all I see are irrigation systems and crop farmers heck the fencelines where cattle once were are being ripped out. Where there's a gain in 1 area there's a loss in another.

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harvey lee

Yes, with some fence lines, more habitat and less drain tile, the birds may have a chance and we would not need PF.

There was a day when you could shoot your birds in no time but with the change in farminmg practices, the birds really do not have much of a chance.

I have always said it would be tough to live in a black desert with no cover in -20 temps and 2ft of snow.

Until the farmimg pratices change, and likely they will not, we will never see anything close to the birds we enjoyed in the 50's and 60's.

With the land values as high as they are, less chance for CRP or any other of these programs as they would cost so much.

There will always be a few areas that have birds but today, those areas are farther apart every year.

I am not trying to rip on any farmers at all but until those pratices change back to the years when birds were in good numbers, we will never see the days of old or anything even close to that even with PF.

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