Releasing Pheasants in ND

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hi-tailyn
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Releasing Pheasants in ND

Post by hi-tailyn » Sat May 30, 2015 2:00 pm

Has anyone done a release of 6-8 week old pheasants on their farm or training area in ND, SD or NE, to be able to work dogs on them and when season starts to let others hunt them?

Something like the surrogator program, but by going from flight pen to release with young birds. Putting out feeders and natural CRP and hedge rows for them to hide and grow up in.

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Re: Releasing Pheasants in ND

Post by deseeker » Sat May 30, 2015 2:57 pm

The Nebraska game and Parks a long time ago used to give farmers young pheasants to tag and turn loose when they were 8 weeks old onto their farms. A friend of mine turned loose 500 tagged pheasants at 8 weeks old on his farm(he had good cover for them). Out of the tagged pheasants, they found one on the road hit by a car and they shot one opening day. Not a very good survival rate to hunting season out of 500 birds :!: :( The game and parks quit the program after about 2 years because they were not getting any birds to make it to hunting season.

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Re: Releasing Pheasants in ND

Post by Neil » Sat May 30, 2015 3:11 pm

I have never understood the failures of recent pheasant releases, since all in North America are the descents of released birds. It must have to do with the genetic makeup of today's birds.

Still if I lived in pheasant range I would improve habitat first, work on predator control, and then release flight conditioned birds. I know there are a large number of preserves are doing just that and harvesting a huge number of birds. They are trying to raise the daily limit to 30+ birds, so it can and is being done.

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Re: Releasing Pheasants in ND

Post by ezzy333 » Sat May 30, 2015 3:33 pm

All that I have ever seen release and then shoot within a couple of weeks. We have has a few hens released in the spring hatch a batch but not sure if they made it.

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Re: Releasing Pheasants in ND

Post by art hubbard » Sat May 30, 2015 3:59 pm

I have been told by a friend of mine who raises about 500,000 pheasants a year plus 1000's of quail and 1000's of chucker, that pen raised pheasants, flight conditioned or not have dismal life expectancy due to the fact that they are absolutely predatory dumb. Chicks learn zero from the hens if in fact the hens can even raise a clutch. Birds that are released on the preserves if not shot in a timely manner are lost to a number of reasons.

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Re: Releasing Pheasants in ND

Post by Neil » Sat May 30, 2015 7:07 pm

So you think those released in the early 1900's were more predator aware?

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Re: Releasing Pheasants in ND

Post by ezzy333 » Sat May 30, 2015 7:38 pm

Supposedly they were wild birds that had been trapped.

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Re: Releasing Pheasants in ND

Post by aksportsman » Sat May 30, 2015 9:24 pm

you'd be wasting your money, previous posters are correct every bird from ducks to pheasant, quail, and others that come from any sort of captive raised program have a dismal survivability. If you raise them you have to shoot em quick or they turn into lunch meat for just about anything. I have wondered though if you could introduce a raptor of some sort into a flight pen, every few days allowing it to kill a few birds while they are growing up and perhaps teaching predator avoidance. in all likely hood it won't help but I'm still curious. you might be better off using quail and a callback pen for training and fun shooting occasionally. yes, the pheasants that we hunt today come from wild released pheasants not captive-reared as far as i know.

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Re: Releasing Pheasants in ND

Post by jetjockey » Sun May 31, 2015 6:27 am

I'll disagree to a certain extent. Good birds in a good flight pen can do well. I know a guy who plants crops in his flight pen and then supplements with feed as the birds grow, the birds don't see humans for the most part. The flight pen is 5 acres and about 20ft tall. His birds act exactly like early season SD birds, and fly like heck. Plus, he has natural reproduction on his farm because of all the released birds. The birds learn pretty quick what happens if they act stupid. Predatory kill is obviously higher than completly wild birds, but it doesn't take long for the birds to figure it out.

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Re: Releasing Pheasants in ND

Post by ezzy333 » Sun May 31, 2015 7:02 am

I agree it has been done on a very limited scale with a lot of extra precaution while they are being raised. Not sure about the practicality of it though. And I have seen many times pen raised birds act like wild raised after they are out for a few days but I still don't think they survive the long haul.

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Re: Releasing Pheasants in ND

Post by Mountaineer » Sun May 31, 2015 7:39 am

Pen-raised pheasants released into good cover without high populations of ground and avain predators and which are healthy and were raised in conditions approaching natural can survive but the deck will always be stacked against them.
Money and effort and luck have a seat at that release-try table if one wishes to sit in....also, temper expectations if there is a thought to making money from the effort.

If one, as many do, relates these hurdles to the poor advisability of state released pheasant programs then one misses the value of state released pheasants re lowered opportunity and smiling kids.
Repopulation of any bird truely requires optimism and at the best, a focus elsewhere.

Once again, I thank God that ruffed grouse will never, to any meaningful or balance sheet degree, be successful with T&T or R&R.
if they were, the result would be a sad one.
Pheasants and quail...they are enough fodder for the try.

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Re: Releasing Pheasants in ND

Post by Neil » Sun May 31, 2015 8:45 am


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Re: Releasing Pheasants in ND

Post by twistedoak » Sun May 31, 2015 9:27 am

while captive bred birds will go feral the hens don't carry the instincts to raise a successful brood.

here in Pennsylvania the PGC runs two types of programs that directly relate to what were talking about.
at one time pennsy had a booming wild bird population.
so over the years many attempts have been made to reintroduce a wild population from some type of breeding program,with no success.
then they took a different track and procured wild birds from SD and Montana and made a small breakthrough.
we now have several self sustained wild populations in pockets around the state.while the program has had ups and downs,it has reached the point where they can do inter state trap and transfers of native pennsy birds .
that's a major breakthrough because SD and Montana have dropped enough that they refuse to part with wild birds anymore.
pheasant recovery areas are off limits to hunting and dog running... period

the PGC also raises 200,000+ birds every year that are stocked as put and take birds in locations throughout the state.
they are raised in large flight pens with minimal human contact.
in most of the areas you can shoot roosters or hens.
pretty much every year you will find holdover stocked pheasants throughout the state and even some hens with broods come spring ,but a population never results .
when you can compare bred and wild birds side by side the difference in success is very noticeable

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Re: Releasing Pheasants in ND

Post by Neil » Sun May 31, 2015 9:45 am

I am not sure how wild and canny the original released birds were since they were netted and fattened in a cage, before the months long journey.

http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?Di ... le_id=8444

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Re: Releasing Pheasants in ND

Post by cjhills » Mon Jun 01, 2015 12:45 pm

I have have had birds with peepers on escape rom my pen and survive the winter in the wild. I have no idea where or how but we see no signs of them until early spring. I have trail cameras on my pen and have photos of all manor of predators on them. I have birds outside of the pen survive all summer and if a raptor flies over the pen the pheasants are pretty well hidden.
We have also released bred hens with some success. I do think that some bloodlines genetically have very little nesting instincts.
I also find it highly unlikely that the original released birds were wild birds. They had to survive the trip from China or where ever by boat. Pheasants do not do well in crates and they have very thin skin on their heads and bleed profusely from the slightest bump, I can not imagine wild pheasants surviving the trip.
I released several hens and a few cock birds in early March, we still see most of them on occasion it remains to be seen if they will nest. But this is in a mostly forested area with only a few hay fields...........................CJ

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Re: Releasing Pheasants in ND

Post by The Zephyr » Tue Jun 02, 2015 5:33 am

While working as a gamekeeper on a private island for driven shoots, we would release 5,000 pheasants and 1500 red leg partridge. The birds would be brought to the island in September and penned til November. We would lift the sides of the bird netting and let them wander to the heavy cover. The shoots occurred December thru February and in March we caught up all but 1500 of the remaining birds. The following spring we did have numerous broods of young pheasants.
Our density of birds is probably greater than most people could afford but they did reproduce. This was not true for the partridge though. And yes we did have a substantial raptor population; Cooper's, Sharp-shined, Red tails and even a Golden eagle or two (although it appeared they only fed on carrion.)
So in the right conditions pheasants can reproduce and they do become wary of predators.

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Re: Releasing Pheasants in ND

Post by cjhills » Tue Jun 02, 2015 6:13 am

One issue is that releasing high numbers of birds concentrates the predators. Also feeders have the same results. We also just open the gates and allow them to wander off on there own. They are back in the pens occasionally, we have feed available in the pens and we have fairly heavy cover around the pens and leave the nets up to keep the Raptors out. They seem to disperse on their own over a month or two. We have tried callback tubes to keep out larger predators. There was a issue with having to open the gates to let them out again. Now we just leave the gates open. we are experimenting with night lights to keep out the predators.
It seems the conditions which caused the wild populations to disappear have the same affect on the released birds.
Just hauling them out to a field and letting them go will not work. By the time they get things figured out it is too late and releasing 500 birds on a quarter section is a recipe for disaster................Cj

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Re: Releasing Pheasants in ND

Post by GWPtyler » Tue Jun 02, 2015 7:23 am

Studies have proved time and again that releasing captive birds does basically zilch for wild bird populations. It boils down to habitat and predator numbers, which in states like North Dakota, are no longer favoring prairie nesters.

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Re: Releasing Pheasants in ND

Post by cjhills » Tue Jun 02, 2015 8:55 am

Studies can prove what you want them to prove. Prey birds are likely to die young wild or pen raised, but I know farmers who have been quite successful with pen raised birds. I also have shot released birds on our SD property next to a shooting preserve that have no food in there crop. You can not toss out a bunch of birds from a pen and expect them to survive. It ain't going to happen.
One other thing when the DNR released wild turkeys in our area, only 5% survive the first year. But they are everywhere now....................Cj

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