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Old 07-31-2013, 05:53 PM
 
Location: New York, NY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fisheye View Post
What amazed me driving truck is how many birds I hit. It wasn't that I was going super fast - most trucks I drove had governors. I think that many birds focus so much on their prey; that they do not see the approaching vehicles. Possibly the extra height of our big trucks throws them a curveball?

The last time I heard anything about pheasants in PA was that they were holding their in PA's central Juniata County. However I never trucked through that territory - perhaps that is why they were supposedly thriving?
We saw some on our last trip to Water Gap. I thought we should grab some and my bf said that's not allowed in the park so...no go. I didn't realize they were declining.
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Old 07-31-2013, 08:43 PM
 
Location: Swiftwater, PA
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Originally Posted by Ticatica View Post
We saw some on our last trip to Water Gap. I thought we should grab some and my bf said that's not allowed in the park so...no go. I didn't realize they were declining.
Actually our State stocks them for hunters. Unfortunately; they are lucky if they last two weeks. The fox, coyotes and birds of prey probably get just as many as the hunters. Not to mention how many meet their end on the road!
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:45 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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Pheasants are not native. They were introduced from China, for sport hunting. They don't very successfully breed in North American.

A half a century ago, an overwhelming majority of pheasants were bred in captivity at pheasant farms, which leased hunting rights. Hunters typically shot nearly all the pheasants that were raised and released, as most of them pretty much stayed on the premises, where abundant food was put out for them. A few remained at the end of the hunting season, having escaped being shot, and foraged for themselves through the winter. Winter mortality is about 75%.

Some of those successfully bred, and wandered around the countryside, some drifting over a few generations a couple of hundred miles from where they originated. But they still do not breed very well on this continent, and with continuing hunting, will probably go extinct, unless there is a revival of artificial stocking of pheasant hunting grounds again.

A number of exotic members of that family have been introduced in North America for sportsmen, and a couple (Chukar and Gray partridge) have done pretty well on their own, and the rest have more or less died out without human intervention.

In South Dakota, pheasants have recovered, and still outnumber people, but in most other states east of there, the decline has been as much as 90% in recent year.

Last edited by jtur88; 08-01-2013 at 11:03 PM..
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Old 08-02-2013, 08:12 AM
 
Location: Swiftwater, PA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
Pheasants are not native. They were introduced from China, for sport hunting. They don't very successfully breed in North American.

A half a century ago, an overwhelming majority of pheasants were bred in captivity at pheasant farms, which leased hunting rights. Hunters typically shot nearly all the pheasants that were raised and released, as most of them pretty much stayed on the premises, where abundant food was put out for them. A few remained at the end of the hunting season, having escaped being shot, and foraged for themselves through the winter. Winter mortality is about 75%.

Some of those successfully bred, and wandered around the countryside, some drifting over a few generations a couple of hundred miles from where they originated. But they still do not breed very well on this continent, and with continuing hunting, will probably go extinct, unless there is a revival of artificial stocking of pheasant hunting grounds again.

A number of exotic members of that family have been introduced in North America for sportsmen, and a couple (Chukar and Gray partridge) have done pretty well on their own, and the rest have more or less died out without human intervention.

In South Dakota, pheasants have recovered, and still outnumber people, but in most other states east of there, the decline has been as much as 90% in recent year.
I do find fault with that statement. There are fewer hunters every year and many of us do not score one of these birds released - they do not always cooperate. That 90% decline is not just the fault of hunters. Coyotes are also a fairly recent reappearance in the East - then team that up with fewer trappers and more fox.

However, economics could be a major factor in their decline - as far as how much money is available to the stocking programs. Pheasants are expensive to raise - especially when government is involved. I don't know how much declining numbers of hunters have hurt the stocking programs?
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Old 08-02-2013, 08:26 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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One pheasant farm I knew about had a nearly 100% kill rate. Hunters paid by the bird for every one they shot, and in a closed habitat, very few were missed.

I did not mean to imply that hunters were "responsible" for the pheasant decline. The species is alien to North America, has a very low survival rate, which is primarily responsible for the decline in their numbers where they are no longer raised and released for hunting.

Ecologically speaking, as exotics, pheasants ought to become extinct, and if they ceased to be a regulated game bird, they would be entitled to no legal protection, as is the case with starlings, house sparrows, and other introduced species.
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Old 08-02-2013, 09:08 AM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
One pheasant farm I knew about had a nearly 100% kill rate. Hunters paid by the bird for every one they shot, and in a closed habitat, very few were missed.

I did not mean to imply that hunters were "responsible" for the pheasant decline. The species is alien to North America, has a very low survival rate, which is primarily responsible for the decline in their numbers where they are no longer raised and released for hunting.

Ecologically speaking, as exotics, pheasants ought to become extinct, and if they ceased to be a regulated game bird, they would be entitled to no legal protection, as is the case with starlings, house sparrows, and other introduced species.
Pheasant farms and canned hunting are a separate couple of animals from birds in the wild.

While you are correct about the pheasant being an introduced species your statement about them having a low survival rate isn't accurate for much of the MidWest. The Dakotas and Nebraska are all noted for the fact that pheasants have been put there and established themselves.

In PA the rise of no-till farming, planting from hedgerow to hedgerow and sprawl, along with an increase in predation, have all likely contributed to the decline.

We've seen the same thing here in MD with quail. There ain't none. And this state doesn't stock.
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Old 08-02-2013, 11:05 AM
 
Location: God's Country
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As a kid, I recall hearing , I guess on TV shows, about "pheasant under glass" and I inferred that this was some great delicacy. Wonder if this is true. Can't imagine pheasant being much different from turkey.
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Old 08-02-2013, 12:02 PM
 
Location: Swiftwater, PA
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Originally Posted by Calvert Hall '62 View Post
As a kid, I recall hearing , I guess on TV shows, about "pheasant under glass" and I inferred that this was some great delicacy. Wonder if this is true. Can't imagine pheasant being much different from turkey.
Here is a link(recipe) out of the NY Times:Pheasant Under Glass - Recipes - The New York Times It has been so many years since I last ate my last pheasant that I forget what it tasted like? I always enjoyed ruffed grouse. If anybody spent as much time on grouse or turkey as that NY Times recipe; I would imagine that it would also be a special meal.

Going back to those closed, private, pheasant perseveres; yes they did want all hunters to kill everything they stocked. But that was not a "state" stocking program. The kill ratios are much lower for state stocking programs. For one thing; the state stocking program does not notify hunters when they are going to stock for safety concerns (at least here in PA). It is a rare occasion that hunters are even in the area that they stock. So, many of the birds, have a chance to move considerable distances from the original stocking point.

Even with the private pheasant preserves; some birds still escape.
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