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22 Responses to “Pheasants Forever Spotlights the 12 Most Threatened Areas in Pheasant Country”

  1. David Stengel says:

    It’s hard to see the keyboard through the tears for the sadness of it all. I live in NE South Dakota, and I can’t even go for a country drive without seeing tiling equipment at work or stacks of trees being piled up like funeral pyres. I can’t blame the farmer for wanting to maximize his land, but couldn’t there be some kind of reciprical planting along the fencelines or near perminant habitat? Dave Stengel

  2. Hundo says:

    Agreed David…
    It is a said state of affairs…we have seen dramatic, 10-20% year over year, declines in the Pheasant population for the past 5 years or so and it’s not encouraging to the new hunters we’re bringing up.

  3. John Ghiglione says:

    Howard Vincent
    I’m a believer in ph always have been but we are up against a idiot in the White House who does not care about wildlife . His goal is to never bring any oil coal or gas from the ground ever again . We can not blame farmers for taking acres out of crp to be put back into crop production if they can make more money off crops than crp payments. This so called smartest man who we currently have in the White House is a fool we have technology to burn fossil fuels with minimal effects on the environment we don’t need to burn up our food supply that feeds the people of our great republic. Small towns all over the Midwest are suffering because hunters do not come out to spend money at the mom & pop motels & restaurants in there towns . The reason is crop to crp farmers are going to make the money after all they are small businessmen &women. The people this company has going into Washington, D.C. I hope are trying to convince all of the crooks doing business there to help our cause . Being a registered Republican this offends me to have to think that I may have to spread my cheeks to get what we need to keep the wild life industry up and running but to also keep small town America flourishing due to the sportsmen & women that spend their hard earned money in these areas to enjoy the past time we call Pheasant Hunting. I don’t think we want to go back to the time between The Soil Bank Era & Conservation Reserve.
    Think About It !!!!!!
    Thank you for your time & I hope this makes sense to someone there.
    John Ghiglione

  4. Jim Mishek says:

    Unfortunately, the environmentalist do not realize that ethanol is wasting our greatest natural resource, water, especially ground water. The farmers are also near sighted as well, but they know to make hay while the sun shines. The Dakotas are rapidly becoming the largest game farm on earth. The hunters are willing to pay so much to hunt that the farmers can destroy the habitat and then buy their birds to release for the hunters. We are back to the BAD old days.

  5. I agree with you John. But we’ll never make people believe we are having problems a recent poll showed 58% of republicans thing there is no such thing as global warming. so it’s not just the democrats it’s both sides. the key word to it all is one word. “Greed” we have become a disposable country products are made to last six months or less to make people buy more. the same holds true for fossil fuels and bi fuels. that one word is what’s turning our country back to what it was in the thirties. we are already seeing major dust storms. and it’s only going to get worse. I planned a trip out west for this fall because I fear it’ll be the last time it’s worth going west to hunt. I pray I am wrong but from what I see I fear I am not wrong. I write my congress people daily voicing my fears and opinions. and I have been pushing a campaign of getting everyone else to take 5 mins and do the same thing if everyone did it would be a turn around. so while you voice here voice to them too. they will read their emails. they may not read this blog.

  6. Soil rental rates for reenrolling land back into CRP here Montana are so low that most folks in Centr4al and Eastern Montana are not putting their lands back into CRP. Cash rent is in most cases are 10 to 30 dollars more per acre than what producer would get by keeping their land in the CRP. This might change if grain and hay prices drop.

  7. "Duck" Perry says:

    The CRP program was born out of the mid-50s erosion problem and the farming of relatively marginal cropland. It really took off in the 80s as a program to ‘split the difference’ between our govt. being forced to buy huge amounts of excess/over production of grain in this country from our farmers and then selling it at a loss to Russia and other countries. (Remember the ‘bushel for a barrel’ mantra on the mid-80s? It was the 90s when the farm bill (CRP bill) really started addressing wildlife habitat and put it on a par with soil conservation, allowing some pastureland to be CRP eligible. Just as Jim Mishek states above, the mandated x percent of all grain produced and x percent of ethanol in our auto fuels has spiked grain prices and made the CRP payments much less attractive. Farmers are opting for the bigger $$ received from grain. Also, there is very little ‘push’ from Washington to pay farmers not to grow grain with the grain prices so high, and the ethanol debacle in full swing. (Ethanol is NOT the solution to our country’s energy policy in my opinion) Speaking of energy policy…does anyone know that the DOE (Dept. of Energy) was created in the Jimmy Carter era with the purpose of developing a consistent, executable energy policy during the Arab oil Embargo of the late 70s?? SO, can anyone out there tell me what our National Energy Policy is today? I can’t. Another fine example of a semi-useless bloated govt. agency.
    Anyway, here is the unfortunate/hard truth. Pheasant hunting will always be available for those that have a big wallet. However, the days of taking your son/daughter to get an Upland License, box of shells, blaze orange vest and drive out to a nearby CRP field to find some ‘Rooters’ is in jeopardy at this time, with this administration, in this economic environment, with so many liberals dominating our contries populace on the East and “Left” coasts. Sad..

  8. MIKE WILTON says:


  9. Dan Desler says:

    Keep up the good work !!

    I will do my part in continuing to support a healthy productive Upland bird population in Northeastern Montana. ” when times are tough the tough get going” thanks for your support!!!!!

  10. David Straub says:

    How many gallons of gas does it take to make a gallon of ethanol? This subsidized ethanol debacle wreaks havoc with my sensibilities! My brain is screaming right now!

  11. mokelly says:

    I have seen more turkeys then game birds in the last few years

  12. Laura says:

    It is very sad. I did not learn to hunt until I met my husband, he got me HOOKED on bird hunting. The thought of not being able to go into the pheasant field with him or my labs is disheartening.

  13. Ron langevin says:

    Along with all of the above is the fact that there ius hardly any place to hunt anymore, birds or not. I am 77, and have been hunting since ! was around 8 or so and every year more and more land is closed to hunting. CRP really does NO GOOD if you can’t hunt on it! If the birds raised in the CRP grasslands stay there, they are no good to the average hunter and when they fly to an ajoining farm, still no good if it has posted signs on every second fencepost and not a chance of hunting there. You can ask all you want (if you can find an owner who usually lives 20 miles away in town) but hardly ever will you get a yes. For the most part, hunters are forced to road hunt, or bare to the dirt “public” hunting areas where there has not been even a blackbird since 2 hours before sunlight on opening day. The state sells licences, the farmers charge $175 A DAY, it is $50 a day in gas alone and $150 a night in a motel in Western N.D. and S.D. because of the oil drilling, and again, no place to hunt. It is the hunting industry that is killing things for the most part, NOT CRP by itself. BUT, all the above really means nothing if O’useless in the WH buys up all the powder, casings, brass and shells so there is none left to buy. You know, half of you guys voted for this imbecile but in a year, and three years we can change all of that so make sure you do it.

  14. Mitch Williams says:

    This habitat loss really has nothing to do with the current President. he can be blamed for a lot of problems, but this si not one of them. This problem started before him and in fact took off during the years of GOP dominance in Washington, add to that a non-conservation farm bill that died last year and there is not much help there. Sec. Vislack and the administration have actually been pretty friendly to sportsman. It is the big agricultural and energy companies that have helped fuel this whole issue with the changing of the land.

  15. "Duck" Perry says:

    Ron Langevin does have a good point. Pheasant hunting in South Dakota has been a BUSINESS for quite awhile now. Yes, there were some walk in areas of CRP where you could find Rooters, but that is what is being taken away with the conversion back to farm land as Dave Stengel states in the first post. PF is doing great work to help preserve some of the habitat, but they can only do so much on their own without independent support from us all. SO, I assume you vote..? Write your congressman/senators. I have. They will respond (or at least a staffer will respond). It will sound something like:

    “I believe conservation is vital to the future of not only our farm production of this great country but also the preservation of our natural wildlife and resources. I intend to work hard to make sure that sportsman and farmers can continue to share the bountiful natural assets that has made the bread basket of this country for the last 200 years”.

    Wouldn’t you then like to ask: “SO congressman..what are you going to do in your ‘work hard’efforts”?

    Man…I shoulda been a politician huh? Never happen though, I’m just not a very good liar.

    Like a mentioned early…Pheasant hunting will always be available if you have the money. I sure hate to see it turn into an elitist sport for the rich and wealthy though.

    Write your elected officials..it can’t hurt and will probably help.

  16. Larry Hulsebus says:

    If you really want to keep more acres in CRP, the program will have to be revised with higher rental rates that are adjustable every 2 to 3 years. Locking in a rental rate for 10 years that quickly becomes half of what the going cash rent for the area is not going to work anymore. You can’t expect a landowner to turn down $100 to $300 per acre more over the life of the CRP contract. Do the math. For 100 acres at even $100, it would be looked at as $100,000 loss. Focusing on smaller acres and more problem areas will help as the loss isn’t nearly as significant and can be more easily justified by the landowner. After the recent rains in western Iowa where millions of tons of topsoil have eroded down to the Missouri river, I would think that it would be a little easier to talk at least some of these guys into putting back some of the grass waterways and get paid a fair rental rate for those acres. While grass waterways aren’t the ideal answer for pheasant habitat, it is at least some habitat as opposed to none. Whatever practice that you are promoting has to make financial sense to the landowner. Don’t blame them for trying to make a profit on their land, work for legislation that makes CRP a profitable alternative.

  17. Curt Anderson says:

    Very valid point Larry. Serveral of the others as well. I don’t think the ethanol is really a good part of the argument. The other side will just say that you can’t eat trees and grass either. On my farm the crp payment barely covers the Taxes and Insurance. A good portion of the maintance bill is footed by ME. Until there are some reasonal insentives for farmers to open up there land to more people for hunting it just doesn’t look good. The State my own the wildlife but who is feeding and bedding them? When I was a young hunter I could hunt across just about the whole county. We were instilled with a respect for anothers property. Now it is a crap shoot if you are getting someone with those values. I might add some of the worst offenders have been adults. What do you suppose they are passing along? From farming practices, consevation, governing to ethics, lessons learned doesn’t seem to be lessons remembered.

  18. joe gorman says:

    I’ve hunted pheasants in Southwestern Iowa for nearly 55 years and I can tell you that there were more pheasants in Iowa before a single acre was planted into CRP. You can blame loss of CRP acres and poor weather conditions during the nesting season but I believe what’s taken the toll on the pheasant population is modern farming. The days of small farms broken up into a number of smaller fields have been bulldozed away into one large field planted to either corn or beans. Roundup Ready bean planting started in the mid-nineties and now I bet 99% of all acres are sprayed, rarely will you see corn with any foxtail in it, nothing but clean rows end to end. All the wet spots are tiled and fence lines, waterways, and cover along creeks are cleared and planted. After the last two hunting seasons in Iowa I now know what the buffalo hunters must have felt seeing large populations dwindle to near nothing in the span of ten years.

  19. Ben says:

    As the population increases, as greed increases, as short-sighted selfishness increases, as peoples relationship with the earth decreases the time of man on earth decreases. I believe we are in a fast spiral to an end none of us want to see. We are taught to learn from history but due to greed we will never learn. If we don’t get back to the reality that the health of the earth allows us to live we are in major trouble. It truly angers me to see the path we are on. Farmers who use the phrase “we feed the world” are ignorant to the fact there won’t be a world to feed if these selfish, short-sighted practices are not changed. Conservation and sustainability has to always be priority no matter how much money is handed to you. We all need to wake up and see that are abuse will not go without consequence. Without a balanced earth we have nothing. Money will mean nothing.

  20. Greg Wyrick says:

    I have over 600 acres of conservation reserve grass near Haviland Kansas. In Kiowa county. It is a great stand of grass, and even with the hot dry weather the past years still has real good populations of pheasants and quail. I am going to do my best to keep my grass in the program. Big stands of grass are disapearing at an alarming rate in this area. Right next to my ground over 500 acres just went out, and is now in rye and is grazed by cattle. There used to be several walk in spots on the way to town and they are all gone. We need to keep as much wildlife cover as possible!
    However, as several people have already stated, it has to make financial sense. At least the landowner has to be paid close to what they would recieve for grazing or farming. I have had several people ask about my ground already, and it comes out in 2014.

  21. Arlyn Boelman says:

    I have had the privilege of having CRP land on my farm for the last fourteen years and will continue to do so. Yes, cash rent would pay much better than the CRP rental rate. I would not have had to buy a tractor, plow, drag,and spring tooth to put in a two acre food plot every year. I certainly would not be walking throught the CRP acres with a four gallon back pack sprayer trying to eliminate volunteer trees and thistles. Many years have provided an abundance of pheasants for the freezer and many years the hunting has been poor. But every year I have had many hours of hunting with family and friends.

    In spite of legumes, switch, side oats gramma, big and little blue stem, partidge pea, an evergreen shelter belt, several hundred dogwoods, and honey suckle plants it is impossible to fight the horribly wet springs and excessive amounts of snow in north cental Iowa. Coyotes, bobcats, and raptors seem to abound as pheasant and rabbit numbers diminish.

    When someone asks to hunt my CRP ground I tell them no. In fourteen years of having CRP not one person has every offered to help with spraying weeds, fencing, planting the food plots, or assisting with the controlled burns. Nothing in life is free, especially if you want something for nothing!

    Our elected political leaders in the Iowa Legislature and in Congress need to start acting like leaders and not as the have been doing the last five years. The farm bill is a classic example of putting politcal beliefs over the good of country. Farmers need stability for future planning not “pie in the sky” on what may happen if the politicos finally decide to compromise. The state legislature seems to believe that farmers will do what is right and good for everyone. Things just don’t work that way. Excessive nitrogen runoff from commercial ferilzer and factory hog and chicken farms are ruining our water supply. Des Moines water works has the largest and best equipment in the nation but it still is not enough and all consumers now pay the price for the greed and stupidity of large land baron farmers. This is what we now call progress. Why not tie Federal Crop Insurance (subsidized by all taxpayers) into CRP strips around fields, adjoining streams and rivers, and next to dredge ditches. Farmers want and need government assistance, so why not make them help to clean up the environment and at the same time provide habitat for wildlife?

  22. Duane Bush says:

    The answer is to pay attention and vote for those that will support CRP in the Farm Bill. I live in Utah where there are almost no pheasants because we lack the habitat. 4-6 of us make the drive every year to South Dakota. We spend about 1200-1500 each for a week of hunting. We knock on doors and hunt the public areas. We could afford clubs but we want the challenge of wild birds — no canned hunts! It is without question getting increasingly harder to find good areas to hunt. Last year many of the previous year great walk-ins we hunted were mowed down to 3″. Huge walkins gone. It was a very tough year. Our worst in the last 5. But The birds are still around, they are just across the road on the posted property with the good habitat. Lets be real, most of the land is private and is off limits to guys like us. I see good habitat all over the midwest KS, NE, SD, IA but the vast majority is off limits. We are willing to pay for permission to hunt. And if the landowner does not want our money we send them a thank-you card and a gift. It is a simple fact that costs are going up for everything and you have to pay to play. Don’t blame the farmer. If CRP payments lag then they do what they need to do to make money. Maybe an increased habitat fee for all hunters that would go towards conservation/habitat improvement which would then be used to then adequately compensate farmers with $$$ to leave reasonable buffers that would be open to hunters as part of walkin programs. Duck Stamps are cheap! and we all buy them. they should cost double and so should habitat conservation stamps. It costs $75- $100 per day to ski at a ski area in Utah and we get millions of paying visitors every season.


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