Archive for the ‘Quail’ Category

All Bird Dogs Should Go to Heaven AND Nebraska

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

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Pheasants Forever’s Bob St.Pierre and his late hunting partner, “Izzy,” were very fond of Nebraska’s uplands.

For nostalgic reasons, my most anticipated destination on the road is Nebraska. Over the years, “The Cornhusker State” has been a very fun place for me and my shorthairs.

My oldest shorthair, Trammell, and I have had some of our most epic hunts around

the Open Fields & Waters lands of southwest Nebraska. The incredibly well-managed habitat is as birdie of cover as I’ve ever encountered and the “bunching” of the grasses on these acres creates natural spots for birds to hold tight – perfect for a pointer. During our first-ever Rooster Road Trip back in 2010, Trammell locked up on six consecutive rooster points in an hour. Anthony, Andrew and I were thrilled to slip those birds into our game vests. One of those roosters in particular stands out as unquestionably the best retrieve of Tram’s life. On snowy evenings after the season, I’ve often replayed that field’s hunt, points and retrieves in my mind.

A few years later, I brought my young puppy “Izzy” to Nebraska for her introduction to the Rooster Road Trip.  Six-months old and all puppy, I watched Izzy become a bird dog locking up on a covey of bobwhite quail during our first walk in Nebraska. Magically, I dropped a double out of that covey and Izzy brought them one-by-one back to me. Sadly, Izzy passed on last autumn well before her time.

This year, I’ve got Esky, a new 6-month old puppy, along for the Rooster Road Trip. Esky is Trammell’s niece and Izzy’s half-sister. She was born in Iowa, lives in Minnesota, but I’m optimistic Nebraska will produce a moment with Esky I’ll remember forever.

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Follow along to the 2014 Rooster Road Trip at www.RoosterRoadTrip.org and be sure to mention #RRT14 in all your Twitter, Instagram and Facebook posts.

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre and listen to Bob and Billy Hildebrand every Saturday morning on FAN Outdoors radio on KFAN FM100.3.

Rooster Road Trip Preview – Team Pointer in Nebraska

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

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Wednesday, November 12th

We’ll be hunting in southwest Nebraska near the town of McCook.

Shooting Hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset

Daily Limits: 3 rooster pheasants per day / 12 in possession.  6 quail per day / 24 in possession.  3 sharp-tailed grouse per day / 12 in possession (west of hwy 81).

We’ll be focusing our day’s hunt on Nebraska’s wonderful Open Fields & Waters program.

We’ll be focusing our day’s hunt on Nebraska’s wonderful Open Fields & Waters program.

Public Hunting Land

We’ll be focusing our day’s hunt on Nebraska’s wonderful Open Fields & Waters program.  Through the program, the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission in partnership with Pheasants Forever pays private landowners to improve their CRP acres for wildlife and open those acres up for public hunting.  Additionally, Open Fields & Waters also pays landowners in southwest Nebraska a fee to allow walk-in hunting access on tall wheat and milo stubble (at least 15 inches) that is left undisturbed after harvest.  There are roughly 270,000 acres enrolled in the Open Fields & Waters program with approximately 80,000 of those acres located in southwest Nebraska.

Nonresident Licensing

Nebraska Game & Parks Commission offers a full season non-resident small game permit for $81 in tandem with a state Habitat Stamp for an additional $20 to hunt pheasants and quail in the state.  There is also a two-day permit available for $56.  A hunter education certificate number is required.

Pheasants Forever’s Impact in Nebraska

Pheasants Forever Chapters: 60

Quail Forever Chapters: 3

Pheasants Forever Members: 9,199

Quail Forever Members: 526

Habitat projects completed in Nebraska: 96,698 projects

Total habitat acres improved in Nebraska: 3,782,754 acres

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Follow along to the 2014 Rooster Road Trip at www.RoosterRoadTrip.org and be sure to mention #RRT14 in all your Twitter, Instagram and Facebook posts.

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre and listen to Bob and Billy Hildebrand every Saturday morning on FAN Outdoors radio on KFAN FM100.3.

Rooster Road Trip Recap: A Kansas Comeback

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

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The Rooster Road Trip, Team Pointer crew arrived in Smith Center, Kansas in time for a late hot beef and mashed potato dinner last night with Pheasants Forever development officer Jordan Martincich and his cousin Jimmy Garvey at a local watering hole fittingly called “Pooches.” We wolfed down the comfort food knowing what was happening outside the neon glowing windows. The cold front that had chased us out of Colorado had gained momentum as it whipped across the prairie.  Wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour had added snow to the air and ice to the roads. The most important question on our minds; “had we packed our thermal underwear?” Thankfully, our duffels were prepared for the elements even if our minds hadn’t embraced the idea of winter hunting yet.

Drought has held down the Kansas pheasant and quail populations the last few seasons. Scorched habitat and non-existent nesting success had been the trend until moisture returned this spring. Kansas is proof of the age-old biologist’s wisdom that you have to have habitat on the ground to take advantage of weather when it breaks right. With 2.2 million acres enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program and more than 1.5 million acres of public hunting land, Kansas is primed for a comeback. That’s encouraging considering Kansas’ historic stature as the nation’s second-highest-producing pheasant state AND second-highest-producing bobwhite quail state. And for this traveling wingshooter’s money, Kansas boasts the country’s best pheasant and quail mixed bag hunting opportunity.

Pheasants Forever's Jordan Martincich proudly displays a public land Kansas rooster while Casey Seirer looks on.

Pheasants Forever’s Jordan Martincich proudly displays a public land Kansas rooster while Casey Seirer looks on.

Despite the improved forecast for bird numbers, I admittedly woke up Tuesday and looked out the window to a snow-covered Ford F-150 and lamented to myself; it wasn’t supposed to be like this. I had successfully averted the first Minnesota snowstorm of the season by being in Kansas where it was supposed to be 50 degrees and sunny. Instead, I was greeted by wind chills estimated into the negative digits.  As our caravan pulled out of town toward our state wildlife area destination, I was pessimistic about the day’s prospects. Boy was I wrong.

Tyson Seirer, a Pheasants Forever farm bill wildlife biologist, and Ryan Grammon of the Route 36 Chapter of Quail Forever led our hunting group to a massive state complex featuring grass, milo, wooded draws and shelterbelts. It was a magnificent property obviously being managed for upland game. Hope crept out of my grin and the sun broke cloudless over the horizon. That’s when I started to put the recipe together; snow on the ground was going to provide great scenting conditions for the dogs and the high winds were going to concentrate the birds in the hollows and shelterbelts.  The foreshadowing of the day was complete when tailgates opened and 13 pointers begged release with 10 earning the first call. There were English setters, a Llewellyn setter, a pointer, a Brittany, a Vizsla, a variety of German shorthaired pointers and a pointing Boykin spaniel. Talk about a dog power game changer.

It only took fifteen minutes for shouts of “quail!” to echo across the valley with “rooster!” following in short order. There was sharp-shooting by Martincich, dozens of points from all pups, countless dogs honoring, three coveys rising, and roosters retrieved. We had hit the Kansas public habitat jackpot.

For 10 hunters and their 13 pointing dogs under a “warm” sun-soaked Kansas sky, it was a crisp morning forever engraved in our memories placing Kansas firmly on the comeback trail.

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Follow along to the 2014 Rooster Road Trip at www.RoosterRoadTrip.org and be sure to mention #RRT14 in all your Twitter, Instagram and Facebook posts.

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre and listen to Bob and Billy Hildebrand every Saturday morning on FAN Outdoors radio on KFAN FM100.3.

Rooster Road Trip Preview – Team Pointer in Kansas

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Tuesday, November 11th (Veterans Day)

We’ll be hunting in north central Kansas near Smith Center.

Pheasant/Quail Season: November 8, 2014 – January 31, 2015

Shooting Hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset

Daily Limits: 4 rooster pheasants per day and 8 bobwhite quail per day.

NOTE: Kansas is the only state with a 4 rooster bag limit!

KS WIHAPublic Hunting Land

We’ve got a trifecta of public land targets in Kansas with a state wildlife area, a national wildlife refuge and WIHA (Walk-In Hunter Area) acres all on our list of prospective spots.  We’ve been told to get ready for quail coveys this year as the area’s bobwhite numbers are on the upswing.

Non-resident Licensing

Non-Resident licenses are $72.50 with a very affordable $2.50 greater prairie chicken permit available as an add-on.  I consider these prices a steal for the amount of public land (more than 1.5 million acres) and mixed bag opportunities available in Kansas.

News & Notes

A recent Associated Press article noted that hunters contribute more than $600 million annually to the state’s economy.

Upland Bird Forecast provided by KDWP&T

Northern High Plains

Pheasant–This region maintained the highest spring densities of pheasants. As a result of delayed wheat harvest and improved weedy cover in this region, production improved, indicated by a nearly 50 percent increase in the brood survey compared to 2013. Despite this increase, the dramatic decline of pheasant populations over the last several years limited the breeding population preventing large-scale recovery. Hunting opportunities should be improved throughout most of this region but the highest densities will be found in the northern half of the region.

Quail– Populations in this region had been increasing prior to the drought; however, the deteriorated habitat conditions associated with the drought resulted in significant declines in production. This area is at the extreme northwestern edge of bobwhite range in Kansas, and densities are relatively low compared to central Kansas. Hunting opportunities in this region will be limited this year but the best areas will be in the eastern and southeastern counties where adequate cover is present.

Pheasants Forever’s Impact in Kansas

Pheasants Forever Chapters: 38

Quail Forever Chapters: 8

Pheasants Forever Members: 5,544

Quail Forever Members: 1,058

Habitat projects completed in Kansas: 7,946 projects

Total habitat acres improved in Kansas: 210,419 acres

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Follow along to the 2014 Rooster Road Trip at www.RoosterRoadTrip.org and be sure to mention #RRT14 in all your Twitter, Instagram and Facebook posts.

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre and listen to Bob and Billy Hildebrand every Saturday morning on FAN Outdoors radio on KFAN FM100.3.

Rooster Road Trip Refresher

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

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Welcome aboard the Rooster Road Trip for the second half of this year’s adventure.  If you’re new to the Rooster Road Trip or Pheasants Forever, here are the Top 5 things you need to know.

  1. The Messenger Hunters.  Anthony, Andrew, Elsa and I are avid bird hunters who have the good fortune of being employed by Pheasants Forever.  We are not professional hunters, expert dog trainers or members of any company’s pro staff.  Some shots we make, some shots we miss.  We’re just like the average pheasant hunter.  We are, however, expert communicators of Pheasants Forever’s mission who have set out to tell the story of how membership in Pheasants Forever leads to quality wildlife habitat and publicly accessible hunting lands.  Thank you for checking out our videos, photos, blogs and tweets along the way.
  2. Public Lands Only.  All hunting along the trip is done exclusively on lands open to public hunters.  Sure we’ve been invited to private honey holes, but that’s not the point of the Rooster Road Trip.  Our mission is to demonstrate that anyone with a desire to lace up their Irish Setter boots and follow a good bird dog can find roosters on public land made possible through Pheasants Forever and our partners.  Our travels include Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs), Public Lands Open to Sportsmen (PLOTS), Walk In Hunter Access (WIHA), Open Fields & Waters program, and many other programs turning habitat into opportunity.
  3. Sponsors Riding Shotgun.  Every good road trip requires a trusty navigator to help pay for gas and spin a good yarn when eyes grow windshield-weary.  Thanks to Apple Autos, Browning, Garmin, Irish Setter, Zeiss, Leer and Federal Premium Ammunition, we have seven featured sponsors who have contributed generously to our conservation cause in the form of dollars, prize giveaways and gear to review.  We also are pleased to have North Dakota Tourism, Explore Minnesota, Colorado Parks & Wildlife, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism, and Nebraska Game & Parks Commission along as day sponsors.
  4. Win a Browning Citori.  Every person that joins or renews a Pheasants Forever membership through the exclusive Rooster Road Trip membership link will receive a chance on a brand new Browning Citori 725 field 20 gauge over/under shotgun.  Additionally, all Rooster Road Trip memberships come with a year’s subscription to the Pheasants Forever Journal, Pheasants Forever vehicle decal and a special gift from Browning.
  5. Effectively Efficient.  One of the facts I’m most proud about as a Pheasants Forever employee is our ability to convert our members’ dollars into our wildlife habitat mission.  In fact since the organization’s formation in 1982, Pheasants Forever has been able to turn more than 91 cents of every dollar into more habitat.  You’ll also be comforted to know that national charity watchdog, Charity Navigator, also gives us their highest rating.

Jump on in and ride along.  There is plenty of room in the truck!  Follow the 2014 Rooster Road Trip at www.RoosterRoadTrip.org and be sure to mention #RRT14 in all your Twitter, Instagram and Facebook posts.

 VIDEO: Rooster Road Trip 2014 Teaser

 

Sponsors

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre and listen to Bob and Billy Hildebrand every Saturday morning on FAN Outdoors radio on KFAN FM100.3.

 

Rooster Road Trip Preview – Team Pointer in Colorado

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

Monday, November 10th

We’ll be hunting in Colorado’s famed pheasant golden triangle located between Holyoke, Sterling and Yuma.

Shooting Hours: 30 minutes before sunrise till sunset

Daily Pheasant Limits: 3 rooster pheasants per day / 9 in possession.

Mixed Bag Potential: we’ll be hunting where we may run into some bobwhite quail.  Daily bag is 8 quail with 24 in possession.

Nonresident Licensing

Colorado Parks & Wildlife offers an easy online license purchasing experience and it is one of the most affordable pheasant destinations for the traveling wingshooter.  A daily small game one day non-resident license costs $10 with an additional $10 habitat stamp.  A second day can be added for a mere $5 more.  One special note unique to Colorado is that they do require you to have your Hunters Safety Certificate on you unless that card has been verified at a CPW office.  Once verified, hunters are in the system and are no longer required to carry their certificate in the field.

Future Chukars

One other note of interest: Colorado has chukar hunting opportunities on the west slope and has recently started an introduction program up the Poudre Canyon on the front range (this area is currently closed for hunting).  Although we won’t have chukar opportunities on this hunting trip, it will soon provide a unique hunt for the traveling upland hunter in the future.

Colorado’s most productive pheasant country is the triangular area between Holyoke, Sterling and Yuma.

Colorado’s most productive pheasant country is the triangular area between Holyoke, Sterling and Yuma.

Pheasants Forever’s Impact in Colorado

Pheasants Forever Chapters: 16

Pheasants Forever Members: 3,372

Pheasants Forever Expenditures in Colorado: $11.6 Million

Habitat projects completed by Pheasants Forever in Colorado: 8,412 projects

Total habitat acres improved by Pheasants Forever chapters in Colorado: 104,929 acres

Pheasants Forever Farm Bill Biologists in Colorado have also improved 531,859 acres

Grand Total: 636,788 acres improved by Pheasants Forever in Colorado!

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Follow along to the 2014 Rooster Road Trip at www.RoosterRoadTrip.org and be sure to mention #RRT14 in all your Twitter, Instagram and Facebook posts.

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre and listen to Bob and Billy Hildebrand every Saturday morning on FAN Outdoors radio on KFAN FM100.3.

Rooster Road Trip: Great Plains Pointing Dog Primer

Friday, November 7th, 2014

Chasing autumn openers behind pointers is where it's at!

Chasing autumn openers behind pointers is where it’s at! Photo by Bob St.Pierre / Pheasants Forever

As the most senior (aka oldest) member of the Rooster Road Trip, I had the advantage of picking the states I wanted to hunt with Team Pointer prior to Team Flusher’s selection.  So, my Catholic upbringing necessitates that I come clean about the advantages I weighed when factoring in my decision to select the Great Plains destinations of Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska over states with arguably higher concentrations of roosters.

1) Winter is Coming: Four inches of snow fell on Wednesday night just 40 miles north of my home in Minnesota’s Twin Cities. While I consider myself a hearty Northwood’s hunter who isn’t afraid of a cold hunt, given my choice, I’d hunt 40 degree sunshine soaked days all season long. Can you blame me? After last winter’s recurring “polar vortexes” put Minnesota into 30 below zero deep freezes, I’m guilty of making autumn last as long as possible. Advantage: Pointers

2) Chasing Openers: I love opening day of the season. To me, a state’s pheasant hunting opener is more exciting than Christmas morning. So why not celebrate opening week with our Pheasants Forever brethren in Colorado and Kansas? Admittedly, this stacks the odds significantly in our favor over Team Flusher considering Andrew, Anthony and the gang hunted states with openers weeks ago. There is no secret to the science behind there being more roosters in the field on opening weekend than will be around to be chased three weeks later. Advantage: Pointers

3) Walking vs. Busting.  I’ll be the first to admit a Labrador retriever, or similar flushing breed, is a better pheasant dog in the birdie cattail sloughs of Minnesota and the Dakotas. My GSPs and my 5’7” frame would choose the rolling plains of Kansas any day of the week over getting our butts whipped by the thick thermal cover of the north. Matching a dog’s style with habitat puts both groups in their preferred situation. Advantage: Push

4) Mixed Bags.  Have you ever walked up on a dog on point expecting a rooster to cackle to the sky only to have a covey of 14 bobwhite quail rise and whirl like bumblebees all around you?  Nine times out of ten, I’ll empty the Citori without anything falling. But, on that tenth time, on that tenth time when you bag a double. Talk about a bird hunting high! Throw in the possibility of greater prairie chickens to our bag and the advantage is obviously ours. Advantage: Pointers

All right pointing dog lovers, what other advantages will Team Pointer have over the Flushers in the week to come?

Follow along to the 2014 Rooster Road Trip at www.RoosterRoadTrip.org and be sure to mention #RRT14 in all your Twitter, Instagram and Facebook posts.

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre and listen to Bob and Billy Hildebrand every Saturday morning on FAN Outdoors radio on KFAN FM100.3.

Rooster Report: Nebraska Opening Weekend Success

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

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Hunters in several areas of Nebraska enjoyed good success during the opening weekend of Nebraska’s pheasant and quail seasons, Oct. 25-26.

With the number of birds seen up throughout much of the state, prospects for success will improve as hunting conditions improve. Opening weekend temperatures were unseasonably warm and unharvested crop fields gave pheasants ample escape cover. A summary of region reports from the opening weekend:

Southeast
A conservation officer checked 34 hunters with 22 pheasants and seven quail harvested on the opening day at Twin Oaks WMA. Another officer checked 35 hunters at Peru Bottoms WMA. Hunters contacted at Yankee Hill WMA reported seeing birds and getting several shots. Many birds were seen in the Rainwater Basins in Fillmore County. Staff on WMAs reported good quail numbers and said harvest was twice what it was a year ago.

Southwest
Hunters averaged about .75 birds-per-hunter in the district. Other than Pressey WMA, where hunters commented on how good the habitat appeared, and Sherman Reservoir WMA, where hunters averaged 1.39 harvested pheasants per hunter, the southwest part of the district had the most birds. South Lincoln, southeast Perkins, north Hayes, Hitchcock, Chase and Dundy counties were the best. Most of the hunters in the southwest part of the district were nonresidents. Hunters on Sacramento-Wilcox WMA averaged .5 to. 75 harvested pheasants-per-hunter on opening day.

Northwest
While hunting pressure was light throughout the district, an officer working Box Butte County on opening day reported seeing more pheasants than he had seen in 24 years of working the area. He said the 19 hunters he checked averaged nearly two harvested birds per hunter. Pheasant numbers also were excellent in Cheyenne County. Landowners reported seeing more pheasants than they had in many years.

Northeast
A conservation officer working Dixon County checked 28 hunters with 39 pheasants, with most of that success at Audubon Bend WMA. In addition, numbers of quail seen and in the bag were higher in Nance County than a year ago. An officer working Stanton, Platte and Colfax counties checked 65 hunters with 44 pheasants. Most of that success was at Wilkinson WMA. Hunters in Knox County saw good numbers of birds as 18 hunters were checked with 22 pheasants.

The hunting season for pheasant, quail and partridge is open through Jan. 31.

-Reports and photo via Nebraska Game and Parks

Five Widespread Myths about Pheasant & Quail Populations

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

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Not only are certain myths about pheasant and quail populations prevalent, belief in them takes the focus away from what really has an impact on sustainable bird numbers – the creation and management of upland habitat. Here’s a closer look at five widely-held beliefs about America’s most popular upland gamebirds.

pheasant-stockingMyth: Stocking pheasants and quail works to restore wild populations.

Busted: During the last half century, there has been a colossal amount of money spent on supplemental stocking programs by state and local governments, sportsman’s groups and private individuals. Countless studies have shown that stocked pheasants, no matter when they are released, have great difficulty maintaining self-sustaining populations. Predators take the main toll, accounting for 90 percent of the deaths; at the same time, predators are conditioned to the idea that pheasants are an easy target.

Pen-raised birds do provide shooting opportunities and are a good way to introduce new hunters to hunting in a controlled situation; they’re also handy for training dogs. But the bottom line is stocking pen-raised pheasants and quail will not effectively increase populations. Only by addressing the root problem that is suppressing populations – the availability and quality of upland habitat – can a long-term positive impact be made on upland bird numbers.

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fox&pheasantMyth: Predators are the main reason there are fewer pheasants and quail.

Busted: Yes, coyotes and fox will eat pheasants and quail, and raccoons and skunks are likely culprits when it comes to raided nests. But predators don’t eat habitat, which is far and away the biggest reason why pheasant populations decline. High annual losses to predators should not be misunderstood to mean that predation is responsible for long-term upland population declines. Landscapes with good habitat often have high numbers of pheasant numbers, as well as high numbers of many potential predators.

The impact of predators is magnified and often pinpointed as the primary problem after habitat conditions deteriorate. Confine pheasants and quail to smaller and smaller parcels of habitat, and a predator’s job gets a whole lot easier. Thankfully, well-designed habitat projects can reduce predation by up to 80 percent. Through the addition and management of habitat, not only does there tend to be a decrease in the impact predators make on existing nests, but more habitat is likely to increase the number of nests and the overall gamebird population. And habitat for pheasants and quail comes at a fraction of the cost of other intensive predator reduction methods that are cost-prohibitive across a large area.

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wild_turkey3Myth: Turkeys eat quail chicks.

Busted: A single Florida study from the 1930s noted an instance of turkeys destroying quail eggs. No biological study since has documented turkeys damaging quail nests or feeding on chicks. Turkey researchers have not found a single quail chick or egg fragment while examining thousands of turkey stomachs. In addition, scientists monitoring quail chicks fitted with radio transmitters and watching quail nests via remote cameras have yet to catch a turkey in the act. Given that literally hundreds of studies of wild turkey food habits and predation on quail have been conducted over the past 80 years, the lack of evidence is remarkable. The conclusion is that turkeys have no direct role in the decline of quail.

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Myth: Hunting is hurting pheasant numbers.

HPIM2293Busted: Extensive research has shown hunting has little-to-no effect on pheasant reproduction and populations. Hens and roosters are easily distinguished in wingshooting situations, and because hens are protected through game regulations, pheasants are actually managed much more conservatively than many other gamebirds. And because roosters are polygamous – that is, they will mate with multiple hens – hunting in effect is only removing a “surplus” of males not absolutely necessary for reproduction the following spring.

Most of a pheasant season’s harvest takes place during the opening weekend, sometimes as much as 50 percent. Additionally, the majority of pheasant hunters are most active during the first two weeks of the season. Considering these factors, liberal, lengthy, roosters-only seasons do not harm populations.

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Cover5Myth: Habitat isn’t the biggest key to healthy pheasant and quail populations.

Busted: Two factors affect upland bird populations above all others: habitat and weather. And while we can’t control the weather, we can influence the amount and quality of upland habitat. Habitat is what supports strong and healthy pheasant and quail populations – one need only look at how pheasant populations rose in the late 1980s, 1990s and 2000s coinciding with increases in Conservation Reserve Program upland acreage, and their subsequent decreases as those acres diminished.  Historically, a lot of money has been spent trying to stock pheasants and to battle predators. Had these dollars been invested in habitat restoration, pheasants, quail and other upland wildlife would’ve benefitted.

Field Notes are compiled by Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor. Email Anthony at AHauck@pheasantsforever.org and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauckPF.

Pheasants Forever Introduces Two New Signature Series Food and Cover Mixes

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

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Food and cover plots fit into almost any wildlife habitat management plan and, let’s face it, they are also really fun to hunt. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have expanded the line of Signature Series Food and Cover Mixes to 15 options with the 2014 additions of Cane Madness and White Lightning.

“There is a strong relationship between the location of food, thermal cover and winter survival for upland birds – so food plots are a critical factor in effective wildlife management,” says Jim Wooley, Director of Field Operations for Quail Forever, “Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever Signature Series Food and Cover Mixes target a host of upland wildlife and big game species, and work all over pheasant and quail country.”

cane_MadnessCane Madness - Cane Madness is a phenomenal mix of high-yielding tall cane sorghums. It creates an abundant food source and cover for birds while also providing “screen habitat” for deer. This blend of the heaviest-seeded forage sorghums is designed to provide what matters most for game birds – cover that stands up to winter, and abundant high energy food. This mix enhances the character of existing winter cover when planted next to it, improves survival rates, and insures peak breeding conditions for birds. It can also provide stand-alone winter habitat and food if established in very large plots. A 25 lb. bag of Cane Madness plants 4-5 acres that can be established with standard planters, grain drills or broadcast seeders. Plant each spring at 5-6 lbs/acre when soil temperatures warm to 60 degrees. Matures in 95-110 days.

white_LightningWhite Lightning - This is a prescription blend of white and cream-seeded sorghum proven to attract both deer and upland birds. Simply put, this special mixture of mild-flavored, light-seeded sorghums will provide great food and safe foraging for game birds, and keep local deer happy as well. Plant this mix next to your existing winter cover to enhance its character and to improve survival by minimizing bird movement. A 25 lb. bag of White Lightning plants 4-5 acres. Establish with standard planters, grain drills or broadcast seeders. Plant each spring at 5-6 lbs/acre when soil temperatures warm to 60 degrees. Matures in 95-110 days.?

Field Notes are compiled by Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor. Email Anthony at AHauck@pheasantsforever.org and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauckPF.