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Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:42 PM

As Pheasants Disappear, Hunters in Iowa Follow

The pheasant, once king of Iowa’s nearly half-a-billion-dollar hunting industry, is vanishing from the state. Surveys show that the population in 2012 was the second lowest on record, 81 percent below the average over the past four decades.

The loss, pheasant hunters say, is both economic and cultural. It stems from several years of excessively damp weather and animal predators. But the factor inciting the most emotion is the loss of wildlife habitat as landowners increasingly chop down their brushy fields to plant crops to take advantage of rising commodity prices and farmland values.

Over the last two decades, Iowa has lost more than 1.6 million acres of habitat suitable for pheasants and other small game, the equivalent of a nine-mile-wide strip of land stretching practically the width of the state. And these declines have been occurring nationwide.

full: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/01/us/as-pheasants-disappear-hunters-in-iowa-follow.html?pagewanted=all

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Reply As Pheasants Disappear, Hunters in Iowa Follow (Original post)
alp227 Dec 2012 OP
rhett o rick Dec 2012 #1
Scootaloo Dec 2012 #2
Downwinder Dec 2012 #3
xchrom Dec 2012 #4
DreWId Dec 2012 #5
ROBROX Jan 2013 #12
Liberty Belle Jan 2013 #6
UncleYoder Jan 2013 #9
ForgoTheConsequence Jan 2013 #15
4dsc Jan 2013 #7
fasttense Jan 2013 #8
pscot Jan 2013 #10
Aristus Jan 2013 #11
JoeyT Jan 2013 #13
TwilightGardener Jan 2013 #14
tama Jan 2013 #18
TwilightGardener Jan 2013 #19
tama Jan 2013 #20
modrepub Jan 2013 #16
Earth_First Jan 2013 #17

Response to alp227 (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:44 PM

1. Phuck the pheasants. Profits are more important.



Have a Happy Year and be back next year ready to fight harder. nm

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:44 PM

2. Well, that's one invasive species going down... several thousand left to go!

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 09:59 PM

3. Global Climate Change's Inevitable Impact on Hunters & Wildlife

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:02 PM

4. Du rec. Nt

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:47 PM

5. Northern Migration?

I know around here, in WI, I've seen an influx of pheasants, grouse, and turkeys the past couple of years. Is there any evidence that pheasants may be migrating North in their nesting habits? Or have the past few years have just been very good to the pheasant population?

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Response to DreWId (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 01:02 PM

12. 20 year observation of increase in TURKEYS

 

I live in California and the increase in turkeys is fantastic. California also has a very bad problem with wild pigs. The area where I live is rural and everyone uses animal fencing which prevents the wild pigs from crossing into residential areas. Eradication of these destructive elements is a new hunting adventure nation wide.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 02:20 AM

6. How many wind farms are nearby? Maybe the birds are being shreded in the blades.

Across the nation birds are disappearing due to wind farms. Eagles in California, whooping cranes in other areas.

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Response to Liberty Belle (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:33 AM

9. Oh good Lord!

Those birds have a maximum altitude of about 30 feet. How are they supposed to hit the blades? Or are vast flocks of migratory pheasants that I haven't seen in my 50 years of hunting?

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Response to Liberty Belle (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 08:03 PM

15. You have no idea what you're talking about.

Keep spreading anti wind energy crap though. I'm sure you prefer petroleum and fracking.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:04 AM

7. I see this happening all over Iowa

I have an opportunity to drive all over Iowa and I can attest to this. Farmers everywhere are clearing the marginal lands to plant a few more rows of corn and beans. Its a sad day in Iowa.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:19 AM

8. If just planting a field made wildlife go away then there would be no wildlife.

Yes, a good habitat is necessary but I can tell you that simply planting a field will NOT make the pheasants go away. I have rolling hills and can plant fields (or more likely patches) on only the less sloping areas. The hills are too steep to get a tractor or plow into and the rain can wash away your seed if the land is too steep. So, our solution is to plant these strips of land where it is flat or where we can put in a retaining wall, or where we can plant trees or wildflowers for a more productive crop. We have even separated out portions for sheep to graze.

And these patches of fields feed the never ending supply of wildlife from deer, rabbit, raccoons to wild turkeys. One guy I know feeds all the neighborhood crows with his corn (I suspect it is GMO, it is so big and bug free.) But the crows, raccoons, deer and other birds know all about it and decimate it every summer and fall. I don't know why he keeps planting it.

Luckily, a lot of my patches can take the beating of wildlife and the wildflowers seem to do better when the birds get into it. And my ground cherries seemed to get bigger when the deer regularly chopped off the tops. But I really think people should plant in strips if they want a good hunting flock and be able to farm their land. It's HOW we farm that makes the wildlife disappear. Farming miles and miles of fields flat with all one crop is what is making the pheasants disappear. Not simply farming.

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Response to fasttense (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 11:30 AM

10. It seems like a lot of modern farming practice

is driven by the big farm co-ops, which in turn are adjuncts of Agribusiness giants like ADM and Cargill. So you get farmers with MBA's figuring out ways to extract that last iota of production. Plowing from horizon to horizon is the result. And if you can't plow it, subdivide it and put up tract houses.

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Response to fasttense (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 11:51 AM

11. If you plant a field with grain? No.

If you plant a field with houses, streets and sidewalks? Yes.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 01:42 PM

13. Besides people planting fields,

the ones that don't plant fields are hunting or renting them to hunters. There's nowhere safe for them to rebuild their population.

If the state wants to rebuild the population one of the best ways to do it would be to pay landowners the going rate + exemption from property taxes for the duration to rent their land on the condition that absolutely no one be allowed to hunt it or alter it for a few years. It'll drive up the price of renting land to hunt on, too, so there will be less people shooting at them.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 03:34 PM

14. They're not native, but I still hate to see them being squeezed out.

Or shot. Maybe it's time people found better things to do than shoot at birds for fun.

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Response to TwilightGardener (Reply #14)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 01:18 AM

18. Same goes for American non-native humans. :)

 

Pheasants are hunted to eat them. And planted for that purpose.

Better than treatment of chickens in industrial food production. Much better.

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Response to tama (Reply #18)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 10:24 AM

19. Pheasant hunts are tourism. South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa

rely on them for tourist $$$. It's not poor folk shooting at some food. It's a sport, and a lot of money goes into it. If your family were hungry, you'd shoot a deer in your local woods.

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Response to TwilightGardener (Reply #19)

Thu Jan 3, 2013, 11:22 AM

20. OK

 

But also the "tourists" also eat what they shoot?

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Jan 2, 2013, 10:41 AM

16. In PA

the pheasant population tumbled decades ago. The major contributor to this was loss of habitat AND the advent of more efficient corn harvesters. The harvester change I believe was a major contributor because I distinctly remember walking across many harvested corn fields when I was a kid that were strewn quite liberally with leftover corn kernels. This was food for the pheasants during the long winter months. There probably was another drop before this when corn fields were cut down at harvest removing additional cover (corn stalks also seem to be taken at a much lower level than I remember as a kid, but that could be because I was much shorter in them days).

As a final note, the PA game commission stocks pheasants for hunters to shoot. I believe they are a chinese variety that tend to walk along roads. Probably not much of a sport but who wants to walk around for hours in the cold with nothing to show for it?

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Jan 2, 2013, 01:51 PM

17. Several years of excessively damp weather?

Surely these 'sportsman' who claim honesty and integrity to the land and their sport jest!

Most of Iowa ranges from a 3-year drought that ranges from 'abnormally dry' to 'exceptionally dry' so how is it that the farmers blame the weather for lack of precipitation; yet the sportsman blame it on too much precipitation?

Could it be, :gasp: that these so-called sportsman are not harvesting their well-regarded 'resource' in a respected manner that would ensure future population growth (of an invasive species, but I digress...) and worry more about the economic benefits rather than the convservation benefits?

Methinks there's some scat about this manufactured crisis, and it's solution is no further than a few doorsteps in Iowa pheasant country...

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