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WHATS THE DEAL?......


DARK30

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WHY CAN'T WE GET THE BIRDS BACK? IS IT TOO MUCH HUNTING? TOO MANY PREDATORS? NOT ENOUGH COVER? WHATS DIFFERANT ABOUT SOUTH DAKOTA?
HOPEFULLY THIS WINTER (THAT ISN'T) WILL HELP REBOUND MY FAVORITE BIRD! I KNOW THERE ARE A FEW AREAS WITH SOME BIRDS BUT IF IT ISN'T PRIVATE, ITS USUALLY BLEAK. I ALMOST FEEL BAD SHOOTING ONE NOW DAYS. frown.gif

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The other thing about the cover issue is here in MN we have way less CRP than we did years ago.I am not trying to start a big old arguement about federal subsidies and the plight of farming today, but the bottom line is less CRP means less birds. Farmers here in MN are plowing and farming from section line to section line these days, taking away strip cover that was there years ago. Do I blame them? No. The market has dictated this for them, and the game populations are suffering as a result. I have relatives that went bankrupt in recent years because farming has not been lucrative for them. So I don't blame the farmer at all. The DNR needs to get with it in working with the average farmer to get the bird poulations were they need to be.Are there easy answers? No, there aren't.If I had them,I would have implemented them. Something needs to be done,that's all I know.

[This message has been edited by Marmooskaman (edited 12-17-2001).]

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Minnesota used to have as good a bird population, if not better than, say SD. If you look at roadside counts back in the late 50’s, you’ll see that there were many counties in Mn. that had counts of over 500 birds per mile. Compare this to today counts that range from 25 –60 birds per mile and you have ask yourself, what’s happened and why?

Pheasants need two things to thrive. Food and Cover. The problem with the food supply has came in the way that we farm. More advanced equipment means that less food is left behind when they pick fields. Fall plowing leaves a whole lot less winter feed behind than when they used to plow in the spring. These changes mean that there is a whole lot less food available at the crucial time, winter.

Now for cover. The same advance in equipment have contributed to the loss of habitat or cover. Draining sloughs and tiling low spots in order to maximize the area that is available to plant, planting from ditch to ditch, and mowing ditches have all contributed to the loss of cover. In addition terrain also has a lot to do with it. South Dakota is very flat and when the wind blows out there it’s really something. Because of this they leave, or plant thick stands of willow trees, shrubs, pine trees etc around farm houses and along the edges of their fields to use as windbreaks. These provide excellent places for pheasants to escape those winter storms. You do not see this nearly as much in Minnesota.

I’m not trying to put the blame on farmers. God only knows that has to be one of the hardest ways to make a living that there is. Just my attempt to answer Dark30’s questions. Please direct any negative comments to him grin.gif

Paul

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WHOOPS! SOMEHOW I GOT BUMPED OUTTA' THERE.
ANYWAY, ONE THING MANY OF US FORGET ABOUT PHEASANTS IS THAT THEY ARE NOT A NATIVE BIRD TO THE U.S.. THEY'RE IN IMPORT FROM CHINA, AND THEY NEED PRETTY GENTLE LIVING CONDITIONS TO THRIVE AS A SPECIES.
WE'VE HAD LONG, COLD, SNOWY WINTERS 4 OUT OF THE LAST 5 YEARS. AND SEVERAL YEARS WE'VE HAD MANY WEEKS OF COLD WET WEATHER DURING THE PRIME HATCHING TIME IN THE SPRING.
THERE ARE MANY FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO A SPECIES SUCCESS OR FAILURE, BUT TO A NON-NATIVE BIRD ONE OF THE PRIMARY CONCERNS IS WEATHER. WE SIMPLY HAVE HAD REALLY BAD WEATHER FOR PHEASANTS FOR MANY YEARS NOW.
I HAD A DEBATE WITH ONE OF THE KEY PEOPLE FROM THE DELTA WATERFOWL ASS'N A NUMBER OF YEARS AGO ABOUT HOW TO BRING DUCKS AND GEESE BACK TO THE PRAIRIE POTHOLE REGION. HE WAS ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED THAT ERRADICATING VIRTUALLY ALL PREDATORS WAS THE ONLY SOLUTION TO SAVING DUCKS. I SUGGESTED THAT WE WAIT FOR WATER TO RETURN TO THE REGION AND THEN DECIDE IF WE NEEDED SUCH DRASTIC INTERVENTION.
WE HAD THAT PUBLIC DISCUSSION IN 1992. AS YOU NOW KNOW THE WATER DID RETURN. IN MANY PLACES THERE IS MORE WATER THAN EVER BEFORE. AND AS FOR OUR WATERFOWL POPULATION -THAT GOES WITHOUT SAYING. THE ONLY UNFORTUNATE PART OF THAT STORY IS THAT THE OLD FAMILIAR MIGRATORY ROUTES HAVE SHIFTED WEST BY A FEW HUNDRED MILES. I THINK, IN TIME, THAT WILL RETURN AS WELL.
ANOTHER OFTEN OVERLOOKED PART OF THE BIG PICTURE IS THAT IN YEARS WHEN NUMBERS ARE DOWN, THERE'S STILL THE SAME NUMBER OF HUNTERS GOING AFIELD POUNDING THE DAYLIGHTS OUT OF THE FEW BIRDS THAT ARE LEFT OUT THERE. I STILL WONDER WHY OUR CONSERVATION OFFICES DON'T ADJUST BAG LIMITS MORE FREQUENTLY BASED ON ROADSIDE COUNTS.
ALL THESE FACTORS ARE STACKED UP AGAINST A BIRD THAT IS OLD IF IT SURVIVES FOR TWO YEARS. THE GREATEST MAJORITY OF PHEASANTS ONLY LIVE ONE YEAR!
ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS ABOUT PHEASANTS THOUGH, IS THAT THEY ARE PROLIFIC BREEDERS. ONE ROOSTER CAN SERVICE 20, 30, EVEN 40 DIFFERENT HENS. OH, IF I COULD ONLY BE A YOUNG ROOSTER FOR JUST ONE SEASON.
HUMAN INTERVENTION CAN HAVE AN EFFECT ON THE SUCCESS OR FAILURE OF SPECIES, BUT ULTIMATLEY MOTHER NATURE PRETTY MUCH CALLS THE SHOTS. I FIRMLY BELIEVE THAT GIVEN THE RIGHT WEATHER CONDITIONS, SOUTHERN MINNESOTA, ALONG WITH NORTH AND SOUTH DAKOTA, WILL ALL SEE PHEASANT POPULATIONS RETURN TO MORE SUSTAINABLE NUMBERS.

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Pwaldo and Canopy Sam, I think that you're both right. Minnesota is on the northern fringe of the pheasant range and the winter weather is a pehasant killer. Even South Dakota has milder weather than us. A lot of winter days we'll have have a high of 32 while central SD will be in the 40's. Milder temps mean less stress. The key for Minnesota pheasants is having that winter cover and food available. As Pwaldo pointed out, the fence row to fence row farming has eliminated many wetlands/cattail swamps that will provide some winter cover. Even cattail swamps will blow in on a bad winter. Thats where it takes well designed shelterbelts for the birds to survive. Minnesota farmers are oftern content with a deciduous shelterbelt of ash and boxelders, which provides minimal pheasant protection, or they'll have a shelterbelt of only 2 rows of evergreens (can't use up too much of that valuable farmland, you know). It takes 4+ rows of evergreens in a well designed shelterbelt to provide the adequate big storm cover. SD farmers have started planting big shelterbelts to protect the big herds of cattle that they have. That plus the waste grain from the feed lots provides great winter cover for pheasants. Even if a Minnesota farmer has a good shelterbelt, if they don't have livestock on the place, food for pheasants is a problem. I challenge you to go out on a tilled cornfield and fill an ice cream bucket with corn! Even without snow its difficult. The other missing component in MN is adequate nesting cover. SD has grasslands galore, MN has ditch to ditch farming, unless there is some CRP around. If no CRP is around, then the hens are forced into roadditches and other marginal, small strips that are easily patrolled by predators. Or they're forced into alfalfa fields where they (or their nests) get wacked by the mower. You'll find pheasants in MN where they have winter cover, winter feed, and nesting cover.

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  • 4 weeks later...

First I think we need to get the DNR to recognize the issues you gentlemen have brought up,and second we need to get them to do something about it.I live in Wi. and enjoy moderate success hunting around home.I take a pheasant hunting trip to SD every year and it is the highlight of my fall.What you need to realize is that out in SD pheasant's mean $$$ to many people in that region, and thus the SD Dept.of Fish&Wildlife manages the region for this fact alone.God help us in working with our own state's "DNR". Good Luck and Shoot Straight.

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Slab,

First of all welcome to the forums. Second, It's not that I think that the SD DNR is doing a better job than the MN DNR, we are talking about two totally different types of situations.

I understand what you are saying about SD being the highlight of your fall, as it is always one of my favorite trips also. Just wanted to let you know that there are many opportunities to find birds closer to home. You will not find 20 guys driving a cornfield and kicking up 100's of birds but if you have a smaller party and aren't afraid to do a little walking, you can have some real good shooting. Just my .02

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Paul

bobber.gif

[This message has been edited by Pwaldow123 (edited 01-17-2002).]

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WELL I GUESS I GOTTA SEE IT TO BELIEVE IT.......HINT HINT! grin.gif

THE BEST THING ABOUT IT IS WATCHING THE SETTER!

HOW ARE YOU GETTING THOSE HAPPY LITTLE PICTURES ON THE SCREEN?

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cast,cast,cast,cast......

[This message has been edited by DARK30 (edited 01-18-2002).]

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  • 1 month later...

READING THE ARTICLE "EASY PREY" IN TODAYS TRIB/OUTDOORS, I CAN'T FIGURE OUT WHY ANYONE WOULD THINK MORE HABITAT WITHOUT CONTROLLING FOX,RACCOON,SKUNKS,ETC WOULD BE PRODUCTIVE.

AN ARGUMENT TO (NOT CONTROL) PREDATORS BECAUSE IT WOULD "DEFLECT THE NEED FOR HABITAT CREATION AND MANAGEMENT" DOSN'T MAKE ANY SENSE TO ME ANYWAY. WOULDN'T MANAGING A PHEASANT FRIENDLY AREA NEED TO INCLUDE KEEPING THE EGG EATERS IN CHECK?

JUST VENTING...TOO COLD TO GO OUTSIDE!

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Hey Dark30, I agree! If we want to create an environment for Pheasants to prosper, it only makes sense to keep the predators in check. Otherwise all we have done is create nice food plot for the varmits population to explode.

Personally I don't think we need anymore coons or foxes or unattended farm cats. I would rather have my tax dollars, stamp $, conservation organization donations, and volenteered time go towards keeping my dog's nose happy. My dogs name is NOT "Ole Blue".

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F.Y.I. Those aren't "unattended farm cats" you see out there...most are abandoned by the 'city dwellers'!
BTW...if I see a cat when I'm out hunting it usually gets shot!(The Other White Meat)LOL

[This message has been edited by HtchEyeCatcher (edited 03-03-2002).]

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HMMM, Anything tastes good smoked?


Maybe there should be a season for any toothy pheasant predators. The season could be in the early spring before the nesting periods.

That'll give us something to do while we wait for walleye opener.

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