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Author Topic: Help w/ managing farm for pheasants  (Read 3472 times)
« on: October 26, 2007, 09:06:55 PM »

My family ownes 40acres in SW Mich and I would like to release a few pheasants for family hunting and also just to increase the population. We have scrubby fencerows but other than that not much cover.

Any suggestions on how to increase habitat and keep released birds on the property would be helpful. Would some type of device be the way to go?

I do know that the amount of released birds that make it is a staggering 2% or something like that.

Jake Levi
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« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2007, 09:58:15 AM »


I was hoping to see some of the pros come in here, its a topic that can affect all of us.

Over the years I have seen tons of money thrown away in ill-advised stocking operations, like CharlieHorse announcing the Ste of Ohio was releasing 15,000 Ringnecks.

From what I have seen the past couple decades my guess/estimate is that in a month more then 80% of those birds will be dead.  I seriously doubt if more then a couple dozen will survive the winter.

A combination of things, insufficent cover and then insufficent feed, and the unpreparedness of the birds for surviving in the wild. Yet, we see the same or similar things all across the country.

The ONLY release program I have ever seen that had consistent good results, now, is the hacking of raptors done by state/federal and private orgs.  Why?

Basically the birds are put out in a location/environment wherre they have a chance of success, there is sufficient prey, and living room.

While they are getting acquainted in the area they are fed, feed that closely approximates what is available locally. And they are supervised, not just turned out and wishing them good luck.

Sadly I dont think there are many, if any release programs for gamebirds that follows a similar program, if so I havent heard of one. I have talked to several people in MI release programs and all stresss that the large majority of birds released here dont make it through their first winter.

Some of the 'plantation'  release programs with Quail  are the closest to the raptor hacking in that birds released for a shoot and not taken are attracted to a catch pen where they get fed on entering.

I think this, modified, would be a far better release program for all birds. I dont think releasing game chickens would give a much worse record then what we presently do with Quail and Pheasants. 

I live in rural northern MI, lot of state and fed forest land nearby. I had one lone cock pheasant hanging around last smmer, he hasnt shown up for the fall feeding of all the other birds that feed here.

Next year I plan on raising some Quail and Pheasants, some for release and some to start some breeding stock.

I am building two flight pens for the release birds to harden up, and then to harden up potential breeders.  I will set up feeders around the property, with some close cover to them so owls, foxes,coytes etc wont be picking them off as they feed. But after release the birds will be free to move out of the houselot out into the woods and fields nearby. I will evaluate the project through the winter and get some of the local people involved also.

Any mistakes we can identify will give us some data to work on the following year.

Comments? Ideas ?

Jake Levi
Curran, MI

"A government big enough to give you all that you want is big enough to take all that you have".
Thomas Jefferson
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