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TG pheasant miracle! Rebound of the endangered species!!!

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
Day 1!!!!! This is the second year of growth on 40 acres of CRP I planted. Third year where coons, skunk & possum were killed big league. I’ve personally never seen anything like it. 3-15 years ago up around NW iowa I’d see maybe like 5-20 birds in a day. Today- bet I saw 150++. That’s with no dog. My son Charlie is 11 & walked with me some. Many were just me walking alone. I got the 3rd rooster & walked back & could have shot 15-20 more roosters. Insane. “If you build it - AND KILL OFF THE PREDATORS!!!!! - they will come”.
Happy TG to you all!
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hillrunner

PMA Member
That's awesome, I got to try that again one of these next days. Are you saying that the answer to "what happened to all the pheasants" for all these years has simply been racoons?
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
That's awesome, I got to try that again one of these next days. Are you saying that the answer to "what happened to all the pheasants" for all these years has simply been racoons?

ABSOLUTELY!!!!!! I hear it all the time “build the habitat and they will come”. I’m gonna call BS on that. We’ve got hundreds of acres of CRP, food & perfect pheasant habitat in southern iowa and most folks like this have very few birds. On my home farm - we killed upwards of 600+ coons this year AGAIN & probably 100 possum & skunk. Finally getting more birds down south.
In NW iowa - the workers at wife’s fam farm have been on the coons, etc religiously. Killed staggering amounts.
When no trapping takes place for 7-8+ years …. & guys can kill several hundred coons off a section yearly - ya, it makes it really hard for a successful nest!!!! Kill them & miracles happen!!! There’s zero doubt in my mind the missing piece was predator killing. When u have hundreds of nest raiders GONE/DEAD - crazy how the bird population explodes. Combine good habitat with it- mind boggling good!! I’m seeing this real time what good cover & dead nest raiders look like. So fun!!!!!


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CurtisWalker

Moderator
I’d say we’ve had some great springs for nesting the last three years too. Nests not being flooded out by rain really helps.

Congratulations Skip, I’ll bring Tubbs up to hunt with you tomorrow :p


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Bucksnbears

Well-Known Member
Nesting birds/easy prey.

With the price of fur now ( way down$), trappers are staying home.

Landowners gonna have to kill the coon/fox/coyotes if they wanna see bird numbers increase.
Good job Skip.
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
That’s a huge amount of raccoons.I knew they were thick but wow!

Im gonna say in S iowa we have killed 800+ predators a year if we count: coons (maybe 600+), possum/skunk (100-ish) & we were right at 100 coyotes. So ya- that’s a tremendous amount of killing off one farm and I’m NOT EXAGGERATING THE #’s!!!! This is every year for multiple now. Imagine the majority of farms where ZERO are killed!!!!! Only down tick will be disease. It’s bad.
In NW iowa- I’m gonna guess based on workers- they killed about 150 a year total. More of a guess based on how many they got a day & how much they kept track. There is less around to begin with since not much woods. But still a lot. Again- take hundreds of animals off a farm that will destroy a whole nest - game changer!!!! I’m sure bobcat & hawks do their share of killing but taking out the predators that don’t allow a nest to reach a hatch - IMO this ain’t hard to understand. “Kill them and they will come”! Maybe that’s the new saying.


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fields

Member
nice! you gotta knock down the raccoons. pheasants in the fall & sweet corn in the summer. it's a win, win! wish the hides were worth something.

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Hardwood11

It is going to be a good fall!
We’ve had good luck with planting shelterbelts in Minnesota (Spruce, Cedar, Pine, Plum, Crab Apple, Chokecherry) to get the pheasants an area to go during cold snowy weeks… as well as some loafing area/food/berries… basically year round cover.

Really helps. The MN DNR does not like them because they think coons, skunks, predators hang out in these tree lines.

I’m sure that is the case, but all the birds in the section are in my cattails, and tree lines come fall and winter.

Catch 22… if we can kill off some predators that will help with nesting . We have about 70 acres of native grasses as well .

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RinggoCy

Well-Known Member
Nice work!

I think we've heard it all over the last 10 or so years about "Where did the pheasants go?!" I've heard it blamed on Roundup killing all the foxtails in fields, farming ditch to ditch, hard winters, bad nesting season, no waterways, not enough habitat, bobcats, blah blah blah....... in my opinion the answer to all of those is "Wrong, wrong, and wrong".

To me it's been obvious why they are having a hard time and you've nailed it..... nobody coon hunts or traps anymore leaving all these nest robbers to explode in population. If they can't even hatch, all the habitat in the world won't save them.

Very nice work. Great to see!
 
I have also noticed the explosion of coons, possums, coyotes. As far as the coons and possums are you trapping them or shooting them? I don't have a coon dog (nor do I want one) but wonder what a good strategy would be for taking out the predators. Do people do anything with the hides if they are not worth much?
 

Daver

PMA Member
I have also noticed the explosion of coons, possums, coyotes. As far as the coons and possums are you trapping them or shooting them? I don't have a coon dog (nor do I want one) but wonder what a good strategy would be for taking out the predators. Do people do anything with the hides if they are not worth much?
I have personally trapped them down in years past...but, I have also struggled with time availability and weather several times in the past few years. Therefore, I haven't been keeping up as well on predator control. Some guys call coons and shoot them, I think I may give that a try this year just to get some out of there.

I have been giving the hides to some local kids to sell. But I am not even sure that this is a viable outlet now, as the prices are so low, etc. But, I suppose if a youngster gets a free coon and can sell it for $3 he is still ahead...
 

Hawk32

Active Member
Hides being worth basically zero the last few years has definitely caused an explosion. Even as a coon hunter that hunts year round I will 100% agree the population is way too high. Daver I was doing the same thing a few years back giving them away for others to sell but even that isn't working anymore. I have seen more coon this spring through fall seasons while running dogs than I've ever seen and I've done this for 30 plus years. For me it becomes a moral dilemma. I hate killing for the sake of just killing. Hate not skinning them out to sell during season vs leaving them lay. But I also know Mother Nature will take of it eventually and that can be a lot worse. I also love to bird hunt and want to see the pheasant population flourish again. Only way to make that happen is to lower predator population. No moral dilemma for me on coyotes. Kill all the SOBs. This will really piss a lot of people off but I'll say it anyway. Just don't ban me Skip.lol. Lack of access for trappers and hunters is also an issue and US deer hunters buying our little slices of heaven is a huge reason for it. I caps US because I'm included in that as well. You think its hard to find access to deer hunt try being a coon hunter. lol I'm sure some you are willing to let others hunt/trap after season but many aren't. A buddy that also coon hunts actually was contacted recently by someone who bought his property for deer hunting only, and never allowed him to hunt until now. Actually called him to come hunt it and kill the crap out them because of the over population. I thought that was really cool of him. Sorry for rant and don't trash me too bad please. :)
 
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CurtisWalker

Moderator
I’m not saying there’s not a predator issue because there is but if Iowa’s predators have boomed the last few years at the same time Iowa’s had its best pheasant counts in years the last two years. I’d almost think it’d be safe to say the predators aren’t the biggest concern for Iowa’s pheasants. They definitely have an impact no doubt but theres bigger factors at play.


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