50% Pheasant Decline

Discussion in 'Iowa Whitetail Conference' started by SWIABOONER, Sep 6, 2001.

  1. SWIABOONER

    SWIABOONER PMA Member

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    I think that a lot of the reason that we are seeing such a decline, is from loss of habitat. The farming methods have changed in the last few years, in that the fields are so clean now. There used to be all kinds of grass and weeds in the corn and soybeans. I think another main reason is that we have experienced several wet springs and that is pretty hard on new broods hatching, then throw in that tough winter and it is pretty hard to bounce back. I don't think that it would take to many nice springs and mild winters to bring our numbers back up. Here in the area that I live we had a nice spring last year and we saw decent numbers of birds but it is not looking good this year.
     
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  3. SWIABOONER

    SWIABOONER PMA Member

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    I friend of mine brought up the point that there is starting to be a lot of chicken manure being spread on farms, and he was wondering if that it could contain something that would be killing the pheasants. I think it is a good question but there may not be any conections. Just a thought.
     
  4. Admin

    Admin Administrator

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    Loss of habitat - 1 million acres of CRP went back into production in 2000.

    Wets springs, I think '99 was real wet or was it '98?

    Chicken Hawks/ Redtail Hawks are very hard on pheasants.

    We ( Iowa ) never cuts back the season or the number of birds that can be harvested.

    Just my thoughts.

    TLH
     
  5. deerman

    deerman Guest

    Maybe,just maybe:Too many birds of prey.More fox and coyote.I have noticed lower #'s of squirrels too.Last winter was a mother too!Maybe Iowa hunters should leave a few.
     
  6. NateW

    NateW Guest

    I see where the DNR has said that the phesant numbers in Iowa have dropped 50% in the last year. I drive 45 minutes one way to work, everyday, five days a week. I have sen one pheasant since the first of the year...and that includes hens & roadkill!

    I know this is a whitetail forum, but I figure everyone here like to take a poke at a rooster now and then too. What has happened to our phesant habitat is almost a crime.
     
  7. hunt iowa

    hunt iowa Life Member

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    I will apologize in advance, but you have pushed my button when this subject came up.

    I do not have a degree from any formal institution but it ain't rocket science. The pheasants in this state are in a catastrophic decline that is not going to be remedied in a couple of years. In my opinion it may be never. It will be never so long as Mr. Al Faris has the farmer to use as a scapegoat. I live next to the largest chunk of public ground in this state. The area was covered with bird hunters in 1980 when I moved here. There were pheasants like I hadn't seen since graduating from high school in 1958. They ain't here any more. Our STATE biologists have been managing? the area for more than 25 years and the pheasants are next to extinct. I am one Iwan who is really fed up with excuses from Mr. Farris blaming the decline on weather and those damn farmers who have been providing the habitat since before Al Farris started managing the DNR. Like I said in the beginning, this is a hot button issue with me.
     
  8. Ogz

    Ogz Life Member

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    I agree with Hunt Iowa. Our pheasants have been out of sight out of mind it seems for many years. Any one remember the last time the DNR made any changes in the pheasant regulations? One thought that we have had in southern Iowa is the turkey population. The turkeys are so thick that we wonder if they aren't pushing out the pheasants since they eat in the same fields. They are so thick where we hunt that you could literally hunt them like pheasants if you wanted. Don't take this to mean that I don't want turkeys, because I do. But does anyone else think that ther might be a connection? Just a thought.
     
  9. hunt iowa

    hunt iowa Life Member

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    Hey ogz. Send me your new email address.
     
  10. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I remember when I used to be able to hunt quail down here in southern Iowa....they were everywhere. Now I am lucky to see one covey in a season. They have never really said why but just kinda let them go and replaced them with turkeys, which are bigger $ to the state. I am not a big birdhunter but part of the reason for that is NO BIRDS!
     
  11. BugleMIn

    BugleMIn New Member

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    If you want to help, then go shoot coyotes and fox this winter. And if you see a hawk crippled from hitting a powerline leave it to die. There's plenty of them.

    If you want to shoot pheasants go to South Dakota. They have lots of Walk In Property ground. Set up through their game and fish, public hunting on private land, but you have to walk in from the road. I have never done the WIP but have chosen to pay ranchers a nice sum of money.

    Pheasants Forever needs to spend money on shelterbelts instead of leaving food plots. These birds aren't starving to death, they are freezing to death and getting eat'n by predators. See a recent issue of Conservationist magazine on shelterbelts.


    Just my opinion. Roast me if you want....
     
  12. deerman

    deerman Guest

    Yea!!I agree.We should all go hawk hunting this year.House cats that are wild and loose get alot of small game too.In my own opinion,the public worships these birds of prey.When I was younger,I didn't see to many hawks But,rabbit,squirrel and phesant were plentiful.Now it is reversed.does that tell ya something.Hell,driving down the road,every other fence post has a hawk setting on it.Don't take me wrong,nature needs sum hawks but the simple fact is there they are protected too much.The athorities need to take a look at this..
     
  13. BugleMIn

    BugleMIn New Member

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    Don't take me wrong. (I'm not sure if that was sarcasm or if you are serious.)I am not advocating the shooting of birds of prey. Shoot the 'yotes and fox.

    What I suggested was if you see an injured hawk, don't worry about saving it, whereas years ago when they were less common you might be apt to rescue it.

    Nothing neater than seeing a hawk swoop down and pick up a snake. They were less common years ago. But you are right, every two miles on a highway you see one.
     
  14. deerman

    deerman Guest

    Yea,maybe I sounded like a nut.I'm just a moderet nut.HA!..Once,from a deer stand I watched 2 very young fox fighting over an ear of corn.It was comical.
     
  15. PLK

    PLK Guest

    I hardly ever hunt birds, even though I am an active PF member (can't tear myself away from my tree stand!)I can tell you this... on my land I have great stands of switchgrass and prairie grass mixtures and have plenty of birds, despite the dismal outlook, despite loads of hawks, owls, coyotes and hunters. It is ALL about habitat - provide it and the birds will survive, without it, well you get the picture.
    CRP is a great help, but most of it is in cool season grass which goes flat as a pancake in the winter, when birds need it most. Find CRP in switchgrass, and you'll find birds.
    Blame the decline on whatever suits you, but drive thru the Iowa countryside in mid-winter and ask yourself... were would birds hide from weather and predators and were will they nest in spring? Mostly you'll find plowed landscape, waterways mowed like lawns, and what little winter cover there is, mashed flat by winter snows.
    Just my 2 cents, as I still love to hear those roosters cackling on a frosty November morning while I'm waiting for Ole Hugie to stroll by.
    PLK
     
  16. captain

    captain New Member

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    Very well said,PLK
     
  17. Bobcat

    Bobcat Guest

    Here in PA when I was a kid growing up there were pheasants everywhere, you always filled your limit within two hours. When you walked out a hayfield or brushy draw the field moved like the sea there were so many birds, now you can't find a bird anywhere.Every farmer around here farms right to the road edge, you are hard pressed to find a good brushy fencerow, the corn rows are as clean as I've ever seen them, hardly anyone traps predators these days, when you walk through a hayfield in the spring/summer you see no grasshoppers/insects, and everyone who has bought ten acres for their"country home" keeps it groomed like a freaking golf course.

    Just my 2pennies

    Steve
     
  18. OrionWhitetails

    OrionWhitetails New Member

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    Guys,

    Here's my 2 cents worth:

    This year, pheasant numbers are down from last year because of: (1) a very hard winter (record snowfall during December, near record snowfall over the entire winter, and colder than average temperatures) and (2) an unusually wet spring that flooded nests and caused more chicks than usual to die from exposure. In other words, most YEAR-TO-YEAR fluctuations are caused by changes in WEATHER.

    On a STATE-WIDE basis, pheasant numbers are down over the LONG HAUL because of a LOSS OF HABITAT - period. An incredible number of things have changed during the last several decades in Iowa. The farming industry has completely changed to the point that most small, highly diversified (multiple crop types, brushy fencerows, grassy areas, farm lot groves) farms have been combined into fewer, larger, "cleaner" farms that are growing only 2 crop types (corn and soybeans).

    Obviously, the advent of the Conservation Reserve Program added millions of acres of at least marginal habitat to Iowa's landscape during the 1980's and 1990's, allowing pheasant numbers to return to much higher levels in many parts of the state.

    Now, we are losing pheasant habitat back to agriculture because less and less acreage is enrolled in CRP. As a result, pheasant numbers are declining.

    On an INDIVIDUAL PROPERTY BASIS, any number of things can cause a pheasant decline. Most often iit is weather and loss of habitat, although increased predator densities can also have an effect at a local scale.

    OrionWhitetails
     
  19. hunt iowa

    hunt iowa Life Member

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    With all due respect to my friend at Orion Whitetails, There is more than just that going on. As I have said before, The habitat at Brushy Creek is not subject to abuse by landowners and the Pheasant population does not increase. Yes weather has an impact. we have had weather since before pheasants were introduced. I just have a real problem blaming the decline on lack of habitat and weather. There is more going on and I certainly do not have the answer but blaming the decline on these two areas and not looking at other factors is a tired excuse for the decline.

    Bill
     
  20. KentuckyConnection

    KentuckyConnection New Member

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    I do agree that the population is effected some by predators, but don't you think that the predators were there years ago too. The fact of the matter is that farmers use pestisides, home owners use pestisides, and even the state uses pestisides. Feed pestisides to pheasants and you either kill them or kill their eggs. Either way no birds for the future. To remidy to this short term is, we need several programs of raising and stocking pheasants and quail. Have the state pey people to raise and stock birds. It has worked well in other states.
     
  21. jerad

    jerad Member

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    you couldnt be more wrong....its not the pesticides that are killing our pheasants and pen raised pheasants will not survive iowa winters....keep dreaming bud
     

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