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Randy S

Lesser Prairie Chickens

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charlo slim
43 minutes ago, Kansas Big Dog said:

Most of the big destinations states for pheasants release many pheasants every year. If these releases are discontinued, I think pheasants would eventually fade away.

 

The amount of objective information that releasing pen-reared pheasants has any measurable influence on long term abundance of wild breeding stocks is virtually nil.  The objective information to the contrary is overwhelming.

 

Of course, we are each entitled to believe whatever we wish.

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Kansas Big Dog
2 hours ago, charlo slim said:

 

The amount of objective information that releasing pen-reared pheasants has any measurable influence on long term abundance of wild breeding stocks is virtually nil.  The objective information to the contrary is overwhelming.

 

Of course, we are each entitled to believe whatever we wish.

 

True, but all pheasants came from released stock at some point. They are neither native or wild. 

 

When I guided at a South Dakota preserve, they hatched 75,000 a year, every year. 

 

I talked to a preserve operator in NW KS, he said they released 30,000 pheasants a year. With all the released pheasants, some will survive, maybe 1 to 5 percent, these will breed given the right weather. 

 

In NE MT, the Wildlife Dept. pays farmers to raise and release pheasants every year. And even feeds them when the weather gets rough. 

 

Quit releasing the thousands and thousands of pheasants, they would fade away IMHO. But, that is not about to happen as there is to much money involved. 

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Jack L
5 hours ago, Kansas Big Dog said:

 

True, but all pheasants came from released stock at some point. They are neither native or wild. 

 

When I guided at a South Dakota preserve, they hatched 75,000 a year, every year. 

 

I talked to a preserve operator in NW KS, he said they released 30,000 pheasants a year. With all the released pheasants, some will survive, maybe 1 to 5 percent, these will breed given the right weather. 

 

In NE MT, the Wildlife Dept. pays farmers to raise and release pheasants every year. And even feeds them when the weather gets rough. 

 

Quit releasing the thousands and thousands of pheasants, they would fade away IMHO. But, that is not about to happen as there is to much money involved. 

 

We don't release like that in Iowa, but then again our numbers are really down.  I suspect the releases help sustain artificially high numbers in those areas. 

 

Of course the original releases in Oregon were from wild stock.   I would think releases from wild stock would do better than releases from generationally pen raised birds.

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BIGSP

I had the pleasure to hunt pheasants in the Panhandle of Oklahoma in January and saw tons of birds.  I would say their numbers would rival that of SODAK in the heyday.  I know there are ZERO release sites around there.  The land owner said "I wish you were here during a good year".  Like I said, we saw hundreds of wild roosters and this guy doesn't release a single bird and I know nobody else around him does either, he owns about 70K of contiguous acres.

 

We also saw a few LPC's in the panhandle as well.  Not as many as last year but our area was impacted by the Starbuck Fire in the spring of 17.

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Randy S

If wild pheasant populations required releases, they'd already be gone. I don't understand why some hunters are quick to criticize pheasants as being invasive when you don't hear western bird hunters dissing chukar and huns.

 

If fade away means disappear, that isn't going to happen as long as some natural area remains. I shoot pheasants every year that have never visited a crop field and certainly never saw the inside of an enclosure. About 50 of the roosters I shot one year in NE came off a public area with available grain within 100-200 yards of every bird I shot and I could count on one hand the number of birds that had corn in their crops. They were some of the fattest pheasants I've ever shot and if my weed identification is correct, they ate almost nothing but curly dock. All through winter they were slimy with yellow fat. I shot a banded rooster off that area and notified Fish and Game and the local game warden. They said to their knowledge no birds had been banded or released in that county in more than 3 years. 

 

I see only two species of birds that can save the future of upland bird hunting: pheasants and ruffed grouse. And don't misunderstand, I love hunting prairie grouse! If a guy thinks it's prairie grouse he just needs to examine hunter surveys from NE. 25 years ago there were 27,000 grouse hunters and there are fewer than 5,000 today.  If the future of upland bird hunting relied on interest in prairie grouse, it would already be doomed like some perspectives of pheasants. 

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Kansas Big Dog

This is from McFarland Pheasants, Janesville, WI

 

MacFarlane Pheasants Inc. is the largest pheasant farm in North America and produces approximately 1.6 million chicks per year. 

 

 the foundation of most wild bird populations in the U.S. derive from those English game farm importations. Pheasants are raised by the more than 100 farms in the United States. They are released by clubs, individuals, and government agencies to be enjoyed for sport and their tasty meat. 

 

https://www.pheasant.com/facts.aspx

 

 

So, my premise is again, pheasants are not wild and not native and would fade away if not supplemented by millions of released birds each year.

 

 

 

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Kansas Big Dog
12 hours ago, BIGSP said:

We also saw a few LPC's in the panhandle as well.  Not as many as last year but our area was impacted by the Starbuck Fire in the spring of 17.

 

If the fire impacted the LPCs, why did it not impact pheasants?

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Kansas Big Dog
12 hours ago, Randy S said:

I shoot pheasants every year that have never visited a crop field

 

I too know of truly wild pheasants in MT BLM land. Land most would never consider finding pheasants. There are not very many of them, numbers that I would say are not huntable, and probably not sustainable in the long run. The birds survive on native seeds, berries and also dig up roots. If you kill one of those birds a day, it takes excellent dog work and a lot of shoe leather. I am the only one that hunts those birds as far as I know. But, they will be long gone, but the prairie grouse which number in the thousands there will survive.

 

I have another theory about prairie grouse (chickens and sharptail). My observations are that there is a direct correlation between increases in pheasant numbers, and decreases in prairie grouse numbers. Male pheasants are, from what I understand, very territorial to the point that they will run off hen pheasants from food sources during the winter. When pheasant numbers increase, they run off prairie grouse from food sources during the winter also. When I first started hunting in MT, the area I hunt (CRP) had very few pheasants. I think I killed 1 the first 5 years I hunted there. The sharptail were very plentiful, easy to get a daily and possession limit. Late in the season you could see flocks of over 50 birds, multiple flocks. Gradually, the pheasants became more plentiful  to the point it was very easy to kill your daily limit and possession limit. Sharptail on the other hand became much less prevalent and if you killed a couple a day, that was a good day. Late season flocks were more in the 20 bird range.

 

There seems to be a similarity with what I observed in MT, to KS. With the devastating drought of 2012, the pheasants were wiped out. I was in NW KS in late May of 2012 and there were quite a few carry over pheasants to breed. They did not make it through the summer and there was no hatch. It appears to me that the native birds (chickens and quail) did not have a hatch, but survived the summer heat and drought. Before the drought, the pheasants were very numerous, prairie chickens, not so much. I might see a couple groups of chicken per season. Now, 5 seasons after the drought, pheasants have not come back to anywhere near the levels of before the drought, but chickens have come back strong. The last 2 years I would estimate I have seen a ratio of 20 to 1 the number of chickens to pheasants.

 

So, this is were I am going:

 

Why do we spend so much time and money supplementing a non-native game bird (pheasant) that is not self sustaining, when we could spend the money on native birds such as prairie grouse that can be self sustaining?  The conclusion that I have come up with is that pheasants are easy to breed and kill and are money makers for those that promote them.

 

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oak stob

I suspect native birds repond to weather....be it drought, hail, fire or flood better than imported birds.

I suspect imported birds respond better to Man’s increased presence upon the land.

 

Each bird will have or have had their day.

 

A ROI follows money invested...we all have a different idea on what is an appropriate return.

 

 

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Randy S

KBD, 

I used to belong to the Minnesota Sharptail Grouse Society when I lived in the Cities. I just checked and they have 300 members. To say that there isn't much interest in prairie grouse is putting it mildly. I thought that a reduction in pheasant numbers would lead to more mid-west hunters converting to prairie grouse but that hasn't been the case. 

 

I believe bad press is the primary reason guys have little interest in chasing prairie grouse. The notion that you have to walk all day or run a brace of pointers for a shot at a bird would keep any reasonable person from chasing them. The truth is that prairie grouse are as easy to locate as any other game bird and one of the easiest birds to hunt without a dog. 

 

There was a big bump in pheasant and prairie chicken numbers just east of the sandhills for the first few years of the CRP program. Pheasants soon nearly disappeared once the grass choked out the weeds, but good chicken numbers held on till the land began to expire. I can't speak to what 's going on in western KS. 

 

 

 

 

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Kansas Big Dog

For an interesting read about the early history of the four Pinnated Grouse sub-species  (Heath Hen, Greater, Lesser and Atwater ), read American Game Bird Shooting by George Bird Grinnell, which was published in 1923.

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HAMMER DOG
On ‎2‎/‎23‎/‎2018 at 8:14 AM, Kansas Big Dog said:

 

You can not hunt lesser PCs, so how does helping LPCs help hunters that hunt pheasants?

 

No doubt, I think that PF has helped the prairie grouse as one of many stakeholders. But, where I live I have not seen any habitat benefit. Most all CRP has been converted to crop land. So, maybe there should be Prairie Grouse Forever. And, they are minor players there.

Not to mention that's also less than 3 sections of land, or less than a drop in the bucket, a BIG bucket.

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NECarson
On 2/23/2018 at 8:30 AM, Kansas Big Dog said:

 

From my experience hunting in the major PC areas in KS, they and the native bobwhites have come back very strong from the 2012 drought. Not pheasants. Most areas that once were good pheasant hunting areas are slowly fading away.  Pheasants are not native and are actually a domesticated bird from Asia. Unless they are continually stocked, I do not think that huntable populations of pheasants are sustainable. Most of the big destinations states for pheasants release many pheasants every year. If these releases are discontinued, I think pheasants would eventually fade away.

If the stockings ended, then yes, I could see it. Maybe. 

 

But I can't see a situation where stocking pheasants would end... 

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Kansas Big Dog
4 hours ago, NECarson said:

If the stockings ended, then yes, I could see it. Maybe. 

 

But I can't see a situation where stocking pheasants would end... 

 

I agree, too much money involved. 

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NECarson
4 hours ago, Kansas Big Dog said:

 

I agree, too much money involved. 

So much money that could be used to help natives. But that's a whole different discussion! 

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