Posts Tagged ‘Duck Stamps’

Pheasant Hunting at Waterfowl Production Areas

Friday, January 11th, 2013

WPA

North Dakota is home to nearly 40 percent of the nation’s Waterfowl Production Areas, many of which offer good pheasant hunting opportunities. Photo by Anthony Hauck / Pheasants Forever

For my last pheasant hunt of the year, I loaded up the dog and headed to northwest Iowa. Lured by thousands of acres of publicly accessible land, the hunting was to be at areas where I’d previously never set foot. Heck, I’d never even bagged an Iowa ringneck. Despite this lack of on-the-ground scouting and no more local insight than what I saw on the online public lands map, I was optimistic: There were Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs).

I do about two-thirds of my pheasant hunting on public lands and of that, half is accounted walking the grasses and cattail sloughs of Waterfowl Production Areas. Because they’re funded with Duck Stamps, its natural these areas are named as they are, but if you’re a pheasant hunter, don’t let it throw you off the pheasant trail. Some WPAs, with excellent grass stands, double as premiere pheasant producing areas. And many, with wetlands and thick cattail stands, become places of refuge for pheasants in the face of winter.

As snow, cold temperatures and biting winds set in, it’s no big secret that hunting cattails becomes the name of the game. Some hunters detest this while others relish it (I fall in the latter category). Once you find cattails, the X factor becomes the proximity of a food source. The first two small wetlands I pushed on my Iowa trip were unsuccessful, and in evaluating my hunt immediately afterwards, the surrounding food sources seemed rather limited.

At the next WPA, I found more food resources but also many more hunter tracks leaving the entrance lot, which almost deterred me from hunting there, but as I drove around the section, I noticed a small wetland nestled amongst the rolling hills. A quick glance through the binoculars showed no sign of hunters working this far into the property. That’s where I headed, and that’s where three pheasants were holed up, including one rooster that ended up in my game bag.

There are more than 26,000 WPAs in the U.S. – most of them located in the Dakotas, Montana, Minnesota, Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin – and they’re all open to public hunting. Just remember to use nontoxic shot, and do your part by buying a Duck Stamp…or two.

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.

Pheasant on the Duck Stamp?

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

The 2010-2011 Federal Duck Stamp features an American wigeon painted by wildlife artist Robert Bealle, of Waldorf, Md.

This Friday is the first day of sales for Federal Duck Stamps. About 1.8 million stamps are sold every year to hunters, collectors and wildlife enthusiasts, including thousands of Pheasants Forever members. Why?

  • Nearly half of Pheasants Forever’s members are also waterfowl hunters
  • Wetlands provide excellent winter cover for pheasants. Especially in the northern plains, this winter cover is crucial to maintaining the fitness of hen pheasants heading into spring nesting.
  • Associated upland habitats that surround many wetlands provide pheasants with additional cover.
  • Interspersed among grasslands, wetlands produce and provide pheasant chicks with valuable insects they need in the summer.
  • We know a little something about efficiency here at Pheasants Forever, and we really like the fact that 98 cents of every dollar used to purchase Duck Stamps goes directly to buying or leasing wetland habitat for wildlife.  That’s a program that works and has worked for a long time:  More than 75 years!

Might it be time for a longtail on the duck stamp? And we don’t mean Oldsquaw.