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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What are your thoughts about stopping the pheasant hunt for a year or even longer to help population increase?

My thoughts on this are, I think the pheasant hunt dose need to be stopped, possibly even for a few years just to let Utah's population increase. Some of you will probably disagree but this is my opinion, that it might help if we could just leave them alone for a year or two. Some seasons I wonder if it will be my last because of all the hunters and the few birds I am afraid that eventually nothing will be left to spare. Despite what you all may think there are a few hidy holes where the wild ones still remain, and I think we just need to give it a break for a year or two and see how things might turn out. What do you think?
 

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Re: Should we stop the Pheasant Hunt for a year?

Pheasant population dynamics are very interesting when you get into the biology of it all. I can see a reaction to stop pheasant hunting and then numbers will increase. On the surface, the numbers will increase by the pheasants not shot - so just the amount of the harvest. But that is about it. Dozens, if not hundreds, of studies have been done on this. And they all point to the same conclusion: harvesting roosters has really no impact on new bird recruitment in the following year. One rooster will cover several, even dozens of hens. What does have much more impact on pheasant populations, is habitat, habitat condition, and weather conditions during early rearing stages, and of course the presence of predators during those key times. But closing the hunt for a year will not cause a noticable change one way or the other in pheasant populations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I agree with you to an extent on this subject GaryFish, but I know for a fact that there are hunters out there who just get tired of looking for roosters are start knocking off a hen or two, and I have tried to turn them in but it is hard when you don't know who they are and they are a ways away. IMO I think it would help a little maby not a whole lot but a little. Another thing I think, is there is a Pheasant Farm down by the sevier river, in my opinion if there are wild birds around the only thing pheasant farms should be shooting should be strictly roosters, because here's what happened to me last year. I was out hunting pheasants on a guys land and they were out on the farm shooting there farm raised pheasants, and I jumped a hen she was definently wild she flew into the sagebrush they were crossing the road to get into, and about ten minutes later she flew up and got shot. I don't think people on pheasant farms have the right to shoot those hens and they should also have to follow the rules of roosters only.
 

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That is a tough one on the farm-raised birds. There is balance though, in that several of the raised birds do escape into the wild and do survive. I couldn't tell you how many or anything - but birds do escape the pay to shooter types. Some wild birds do get taken by pay shooters I am sure. I still struggle myself, with the concept of pay-to-shoot bird operations for that reason. I'm not dogging on these operations - but still trying to work it out in my own mind to determine if they are right for me. That is a tough one though. I certainly don't have an answer for it.
 

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Several years ago while out hunting birds we drove past a Pheasant farm operation. They had big long flight pens for the birds, which weren't all ringnecks. They had some exotics in there too. Funny thing was, the pens were made of cheap nylon netting that allowed coyotes and foxes and other predators to tear right through them and let out the birds. There were exotics walking around the outside of the farm operation like chickens! If the people running these things don't mind if their birds get out, i certainly don't! But I do agree- you can't keep the wild ones out of the farms, and certainly can't keep them from getting shot. That kinda stinks. Wild birds could be shot before the hunt opens and long after it closes.
 

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But to answer the topic of this post- I agree with GaryFish. The biology of it explicitly shows that even though roosters will mate all hens possible, its the amount and quality of cover that dictates pheasant survival and numbers. Environments have a certain "quota" that they can reach and when they reach it, there isn't room for anything else. I personally think that small things can be done to increase habitat and thus pheasant numbers. Pheasants forever has uses a technique known as the habitat wheel. Look it up, its interesting and IMO very do-able.
 

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I agree with the issues of habitat. In many, if not most areas of the state the ditches are being covered over and farmed with the increased introduction of sprinkler pipe.

There were studies done on chicks and hatch times. Many times in areas across the U.S. Chicks come off the nest very near the time of the first cutting of alfalfa. The mighty swather takes more birds across the us than any other predator. Not saying skunks, foxes, and hawks don't hurt the population, but it merits the question in all aspects of our lives be it, hunting, fishing, camping, working, or farming, "are we coming too efficient?"

I like the Aldo Leopold quote -
"Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher 'standard of living' is worth its cost in things natural, wild and free. For us of the minority, the opportunity to see geese is more important that television."
 

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I have guided on two different clubs, I promise you that the clubs are releaseing a lot more birds into the wild vs wild reared birds they are taking in to their possession. One club trys to maintain 1000 birds on their grounds, Then as groups of hunters come they release more than what are bought. Preditor control is high on their list, these clubs have none!!!! They also must give the DWR a percentage of the birds they raise. So, they release more birds into the wild, which in turn produce more wid birds that fly also to public land for Joe blow to hunt. They kill all preditors on site, which also means more birds survive, and to top it off, they give the DWR a lot of birds. The Dwr releases these birds, and gives more for Joe blow to hunt. So where is the down side of them taking occasional wild birds???? 1-deer, are you positive that hen was wild??? Isn't possible that she was a bird Russ had released????? Russ runs a top notch place, I have never guided there and owe him nothing. I guarantee he puts out more birds into the wild than what wild birds he takes.
 

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I agree with what has been said regarding the major factors that impact the pheasant population. Habitat and predation drive population dynamics. Personally, I feel that there is a predator that is grossly underrated: the feral cat. I have been seeing more and more cats in the areas I hunt. Last year I found a hen that had been caught/killed by a feral cat, then a few days later, in the same location and from across a field, I saw a cat put the stalk on another hen. He actually caught it while I was watching. Aside from these cats, raccoons also do their fair share of damage.

While we don't have much control on farming practices (such as incentive to encourage private land owners to provide thick, grassy areas and wooded areas for cover), I think we could do a lot for the pheasant population by reducing the number of these predators. How many potential chicks were lost when those two hens became dinner for the cat (who, by the way, no longer roams those parts... :wink: ) ?
 

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Yeah I also agree with the predator side of things. The biggest offenders against pheasants where I hunt are
1- Feral Cats (which don't slip past me)
2- Skunks, Mink, Racoons (hard to kill unless you trap or go out at night)
3- Foxes and coyotes (when seen they are out of shotgun range)
4- The ones we can't do anything about- birds of prey and magpies/ravens

My dad has told me that when he was a kid they would go out as a scout troop and rob magpie nests to heist their eggs! Would that be legal today?
 

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r u kidding. if there's no where for the pheasant's to live how is the population going to increasre. and like others have mentioned big problem with predators. just my 2 cents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I guess the post I am really answering back to is Greenhead 2, I am fairly certain that the hen was wild, I know Russ, sorta, and I know he runs a top notch pheasant farm but it is'nt him who I am talking about the area I am talking about is one further down the river, where a lot of wild birds probably get shot. Anyway I would like to see the farms around wild birds realease there hens, not shoot hens, and have a shorter season.
 

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The pheasant population will continue to decline for the main reason of lack of habitat and predators.

As for your suggestion of banning the shooting of hens on clubs, it appears you do not understand how these type of clubs work.

Keep in mind that is cost money to raise the birds from chicks, feed them all summer, maintain flight pens and keep predators in check.
Hunting clubs are run on privatly owned land and or leased property that is registered with the DWR, the only times hens can legally be harvested is on the private property, once these birds leave the property they belong to the DWR\State.
I do have a association with a club and have guided there for three years now, a rough estimate is nearly 15% of the average guys birds (rooster and hens) escape to the surrounding properties and once they are off the private land they can no longer be hunted outside of the state season.
The properties around the private lands benefit from the escaped birds, if they can avoid predators.
The DWR also requires a percentage of bird released to rebuild the population in any areas that hold resident pheasant population.
If you want pheasants in UT keep predators in check and keep enough "wild" habitat available for the hens to have a place to raise chicks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So basically what you just told me is, if there is a pheasant hen on my private land, that would give me the right to break the law and shoot it. :roll:
 

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what I said is these are private lands registered with the DWR for the express purpose of legally shooting privatly owned birds.

If you shoot a hen on your own private property that hen does not belong to you, it belongs to the DWR therefore you would be poaching.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I know, my point is are we giving up the wild population for pen raised, ya a few might be released but they aren't wild birds any way you look at it.
 

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I understand your point but all properties outside of the private clubs benefit with the influx of club birds. With the lack of habitat and predator issues the wild population can use all the help it can get. There may be a few wild birds killed on clubs but they will be replaced five to one by released birds. These birds will produce chicks and they will be wild. Right now there really isn't a viable solution to increase the proper type of habitat needed to rebuild the wild bird population. With modern farming practices and the housing boom, wild birds are in trouble.

The old days of pheasant hunting are for the most part gone, the die hards will find a few wild birds. I personally love to hunt pheasants and I would rather hunt all day in the muck, mud and crazy thick tamaracks for a couple roosters than shoot club birds any day, but there aren't a whole lot of wild birds left to hunt on public ground, and for some guys it can be just as fullfilling to spend a couple hours at a club and shoot alot of birds.
I take out alot of young kids , first time hunters, and "older" hunters and at the end of their hunt the smiles on their faces are reason enough for giving these hunters the chance to shoot a pheasant be it pen raised and or wild. Alot of these kids wouldn't get the chance otherwise to experience "OUR" sport. What better way to introduce a kid to hunting that shooting a rooster without the mud and muck.
 

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The number 1 problem we have is the lack of correct habitat. With the right habitat the wild birds can avoid the preditors. Because we don't have enough good habitat close second is the increase in raccons, fox and magpie.

I grew up in northern utah county, in the late 60's and 70's you could expect to take a couple of limits of roosters during the season. When I was a kid racoons and foxes were almost unheard of now they're everywhere, and magpies were fair game.

We can't move the homes off the hunting fields, however we can shoot every **** and fox we see.
 

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I agree that it would be a good thing to shut down the hunt "IF" there were also movements to increase habitat, agreements with farmers to leave some crops for the birds, provide for access for hunters, etc. There's a lot to be be done, and just not having the hunt for a few years wouldn't be enough.
 
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