Posts Tagged ‘Clean Water’

Pheasant Hunting Etiquette: Who’s in the Right?

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Here’s my pheasant hunting opening day series of events. I arrive at a Waterfowl Production Area (WPA) at 5:30 a.m. I duck hunted this area a few weeks back, had seen and heard quite a few pheasants there, and since it has water in this dry year, knew it would be holding birds.

I threw my blaze orange articles on the dash to signify that I was a pheasant hunter then headed out to the slough at 7 to hunt ducks for an hour. At 8, I made my way back to the truck to change attire and prep for the 9 a.m. pheasant opening bell. Connected to the east side of the WPA is a smaller Wildlife Management Area (WMA), and I fully assumed another group of hunters would be utilizing the opposite side of this publicly-accessible complex.

Other hunters showed up too close for comfort at the author’s initial public, opening morning pheasant hunting location. Photo by Anthony Hauck / Pheasants Forever

As my truck came into view, I was shocked to find a truck parked literally just the next telephone pole down from my vehicle. One more pole down was another truck, and though you can’t see it in the picture, there are two vehicles parked by the grove of trees, which represents the approximate centerline of the entire tract. That’s four vehicles within a quarter mile of mine.

To be honest, I was pretty fumed. I come from the school of hunting where if someone’s “claimed” a spot, then you’d better have a Plan B, C and/or D prepared. There’s also the more important issue of maintaining a safe hunting environment, which is harder to do with an increased hunter/dog density.

Had I been with my seasoned pheasant hunting partners, I might have talked with these other hunters and tried to divvy up the field to ensure safe shooting for all. But with two rookie hunters – a pup and my significant other, Kailyn – accompanying me that morning, I decided to go to my own Plan B and get away from this crowd.

It’s important for all hunters to uphold the highest standards of ethics, particularly amongst ourselves.  The nature of public land is that it’s open to all, but that doesn’t necessarily mean all at once – I believe these fellow hunters violated one of the unwritten Pheasant Hunter’s Codes. Am I wrong?

Full disclosure, I didn’t let this get me down for too long and had a fantastic opening day. This also illustrates the importance of continuing to permanently protect wildlife habitat while creating hunting opportunities through the addition of new publicly accessible areas. In Minnesota, for instance, since 2009, Pheasants Forever has acquired more than 3,600 acres of land in the state’s pheasant range and turned them over to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for inclusion in the state’s WMA program. Pheasants Forever has also acquired more than 3,900 acres in that timeframe and donated them to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as WPAs. This significant work has been aided by Minnesota’s Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.  Pheasants Forever is also actively adding to the public land base in many other states.

Anthony’s Antics Afield is written by Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor. Email Anthony at AHauck@pheasantsforever.org and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauckPF.

PF Backing N.D. Clean Water, Lands and Outdoor Heritage Amendment

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Much of North Dakota's CRP - like this grassland - lies in the Prairie Pothole Region, a wildlife producing factory for waterfowl and pheasants. Photo by Anthony Hauck / Pheasants Forever

Pheasants Forever is part of a coalition strongly supporting the proposed Clean Water, Lands and Outdoor Heritage Amendment in North Dakota. The measure would establish dedicated funding for water, land and wildlife conservation in North Dakota.

Pheasants Forever says a dedicated conservation funding source is the only mechanism that can stem the tide of prairie and grassland losses in North Dakota. Approximately 145,000 acres of North Dakota native prairie were converted to cropland between 2002 and 2007, and North Dakota has lost about 1 million acres of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land, with another 1.2 million acres scheduled to expire by the end of 2012. These reductions not only threaten soil and water quality, but the state’s pheasant population, which has historically been among the top three in the country. Bird hunting has always been an economic driver for the rural communities of North Dakota.  The massive habitat losses not only threaten the future of upland and waterfowl hunting in the state, but will lead to increased soil erosion and degraded water quality.

The state constitutional amendment would establish a Clean Water, Lands and Outdoor Heritage Fund that will receive five percent of the total revenues generated from taxes collected from the production and extraction of oil and gas. The coalition estimates the fund could generate $50 million annually, based on current state oil production and price projections. Other states have passed similar dedicated funding initiatives for conservation, including Arkansas and Missouri and, most recently, Minnesota’s Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in 2008 and Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy Amendment in 2010.

“Wildlife and hunting are part of the North Dakota culture. This amendment aims to keep it that way during this time of great change on the North Dakota landscape,” says Jesse Beckers, Pheasants Forever’s North Dakota Regional Representative, “Development and loss of CRP acres have and will continue to negatively affect wildlife populations unless sweeping action is taken. Pheasants Forever prides itself as ‘The Habitat Organization,’ and is committed to the Clean Water, Lands and Outdoor Heritage Amendment in North Dakota as the right step for aggressively supporting conservation in North Dakota.”

Pheasants Forever, with its 31 local chapters and 4,100 members in North Dakota, and its five coalition partners – Ducks Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife Federation, Audubon and the North Dakota Natural Resources Trust – are working to gather 26,904 qualified signatures before August 8, 2012, in order for the measure to be placed on the November 6, 2012, general election ballot.

For more information about Pheasants Forever’s efforts in North Dakota, contact Jesse Beckers at (701) 202-8120 / jbeckers@pheasantsforever.org.

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