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Thread: Illinois Pheasants Forever Meeting 2017

  1. #1
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    Default Illinois Pheasants Forever Meeting 2017

    Let me see if I can copy and past our posts from the other thread to this one. That way we can keep subjects separated.

    It started with;

    Originally Posted by jphunter View Post
    A friend of mine pulled a permit for sangcris
    --1phea4---That's a PHA yes? Yeah, better luck next time!

    Illinois PHA's seem to be getting pretty good. I hope some time in the future we can increase such areas and open them up for increased public hunting lands/opportunities.

    I found that PHA's with a mix of warm season, cool seasons, and short brush cover have some good wild pheasant numbers. Been hearing about increased success on PHA's from some clients too.
    __________________
    "Through license fees and excise tax on arms and gear, sportsmen contribute over $200 million per year for wildlife conservation programs" (U.S. fish and wildlife service)
    "Through license fees and excise tax on arms and gear, sportsmen contribute over $200 million per year for wildlife conservation programs" (U.S. fish and wildlife service)

    http://www.pheasantfreaks.com

  2. #2
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    100%Illinois post------
    State meeting this weekend shed a lot of light on this. State DNR is going through major overhaul of PHA's based on the research shown by a U of I grad student. I've seen the presentation many times and it shows that PHA's success rate with harvest is growing at an exponential rate.

    www.inhs.illinois.edu/pheasants
    "Through license fees and excise tax on arms and gear, sportsmen contribute over $200 million per year for wildlife conservation programs" (U.S. fish and wildlife service)

    http://www.pheasantfreaks.com

  3. #3
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    Thank you for your link 100%IL. A lot has been discovered through the course of the IL pheasant study. As I've said in the past, it's now a matter of how much we want to work at bringing number back up here in IL--though I have to say---at least around here, they are coming up.

    Can you go into anymore detail as to what the ILDNR is planning on doing with Illinois PHA's? Also, did you happen to attend the roadsides meeting/IDOT?

    Thank you
    Last edited by 1pheas4; 01-22-2017 at 07:01 PM.
    "Through license fees and excise tax on arms and gear, sportsmen contribute over $200 million per year for wildlife conservation programs" (U.S. fish and wildlife service)

    http://www.pheasantfreaks.com

  4. #4
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    With the results from the study, the state has created the Habitat teams which are basically boots on the ground to complete these 'renovations' at PHA's. One of the largest things they are doing is replacing all of the brome grass with native grasses and forbes. Sibley and Saybrook areas alone have almost 400 acres to renovate. These are the primary target areas but once complete it will be worked on almost all PHA's along with forestry plans/invasive remove and basically all the 'management' of these sites that have been neglected over the years.

    Yes I did attend the Ameren/IDOT discuss as our chapter has been a big part of setting up this process. Both are now partners with funding to go around. Ameren has crews that are clearing and preparing lands under large transmission lines for pollinator implementation (transmission lines that are in production lands will stay in production). IDOT has a defined roadside manager that is creating 'habitat highways' with a great new sign that is sure to catch everyones attention. Our chapter is working with IDOT on a 8 mile stretch that we are renovating and adding pollinator. The big key to all of this is working with the right people and having the PF/QF chapters involved. That is where alot of the work will be done. You can send me a PM if you would like to know more of the persons to contact about this. However, this is only on state right of ways, townships and others are slowing being phased into this process, but for now the state has ~360,000 acres of roadside to work. The habitat manager said they are targeting 100-200 acres a year depending on how much support chapters give, more support, more acres.

    Everything is finally starting to move the right direction, but the biggest factor under all of these meetings over the weekend was revenue for habitat and then an aging hunting population (avg pheasant hunter is 55 yrs old). We need to get more pheasant hunters. In the '60s we had 250,000 hunters harvest 1.1 million birds in Illinois. 2015 saw 15,000 hunters harvest 29,000 birds. PF is starting a new program called R3 (Recruitment, Retention, Reactivation). As you can see we need all three here! So take someone hunting this fall or even introduce them to shooting sports, every little thing counts.

  5. #5
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    However, this is only on state right of ways, townships and others are slowing being phased into this process, but for now the state has ~360,000 acres of roadside to work. The habitat manager said they are targeting 100-200 acres a year depending on how much support chapters give, more support, more acres.
    Thank you for your response. I think such improvements and moves to delay and/or not mow roadsides will make a huge positive impact on our wild pheasants and other wildlife here in Illinois. Particularly once counties/townships get on board. I'm glad to hear we are finally starting to move in this direction. Great news.

    When you mentioned "360,000 acres" is that roadside acres in line for habitat improvements? Wow.

    The target 100-200 in a year---I'm assuming that's your chapters target not the state yes?

    Can I ask you a few questions regarding the pheasant study meeting too?

    Next year I'll plan on blocking the weekend out so I don't have to bug you too much
    "Through license fees and excise tax on arms and gear, sportsmen contribute over $200 million per year for wildlife conservation programs" (U.S. fish and wildlife service)

    http://www.pheasantfreaks.com

  6. #6
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    Yes the 360K acres is the total state work, this also includes rest areas which are part of the upgrades and high visibility areas.

    Sadly the 100-200 acres is what the state as a total will be working on from year to year, but with more help from chapters and more revenue from other funds, that number could increase.

    Yea anything you want to know from the study go ahead and ask. Ive seen the results for the last 3 years and have actually been lucky enough to hunt Sibley for the last 2 seasons.

    The state meeting is a great function, the sessions are great, its just having the right people to make the changes in the room!

  7. #7
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    We'll find way to fund such projects. 100-200 acres out of 360,000 is going to take too long. Regardless---like you said---were heading in the right direction on this. Finally. Would you believe my dad was pushing for such a thing back in the 1970's (with no luck). So all this is good. It's a start.

    I think we could start leaving ditches idle. They don't necessarily need to be native right now. So, as we work on improving some roadsides by converting them into native, the rest can be left alone--un-mowed. Noxious plants can be managed but leave the rest alone. This is what South Dakota has done with good success.

    Study; I'll stop after this. I don't want to annoy you. I need to call them anyway to catch up on what's been going on. I really appreciate you responding. Thank you.

    Did he mention if the radio collared roosters were taking multiple hens during the breeding season? If so, was there an average number of hens per rooster? If not multiple hens---but instead just one hen per rooster---did they notice the roosters staying with the hen and her broad into the summer months?

    With the parasite issue, did he mention a percentage of birds that were infected with it? Was it the same year after year or was there a decline/incline and was it wide spread or located/concentrated within pockets of wild pheasants?

    What percentage of birds with the parasite died due to predators compared to healthy birds without the parasite?
    "Through license fees and excise tax on arms and gear, sportsmen contribute over $200 million per year for wildlife conservation programs" (U.S. fish and wildlife service)

    http://www.pheasantfreaks.com

  8. #8
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    Aslong as you have a good stand of grass, leaving them idle is not an issue. Weeds/trees/invasives will always be choked out by a well managed stand of grass.

    On the topic of multiple hens per rooster, you will have to contact them about that (a great topic that really was never covered or even mentioned). But one of the big takeaways close to that was the nesting rates of the hens. There was a 100% nesting rate, meaning if every hen lost her first nest, all hens tried for a second nest, they even had one hen that nested 4 times with the 4th being successful. Some resilience there. The roosters did stay some with the hens, but mostly moved on there own without the hen or brood during the rearing season.

    The parasite issue actually turned into a non issue. They did this very early in the study to understand if there was possible infestation from released birds but it actually turned into a small un noticeable thing. The biggest thing with predation is actually not the usual predators (coyotes and racoons) as there really is minimal to no brush or trees. The largest predator is raptors or hawks, birds that prey during the day. The study showed little to no predation during the night hours. Even with the avian predators, nesting and brood success rates were much higher than studies done in Iowa. Winter survival is also mucher high (Pre and post hunting season). Even in the years with heavy snow and rain, these success rates for nesting and survival were incredibly high. Overall theme for predation and success was having the native forbes in place to provide cover, food, and bare ground for the broods.

    We were lucky enough to hunt Sibley 2 consecutive years and I will say it is a mecca. But on the habitat side, all of the birds we shot were out of foxtail (96% of the birds I have shot in total the last 3 years have been from foxtail). Another interesting thing is this last season, 8 of the 9 birds we shot had crops full of seeds (not corn like everyone would think). This just shows that you do no necessarily need a food plot for them to survive, they will find those high protein seeds to eat as well. Pollinators are great for this since they are producing these seeds all summer.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for your response 100%IL. Don't feel you have to answer anymore questions. Like I said I can call them. Though if you are willing;

    The roosters did stay some with the hens
    This is something thats been concerning me a bit, though it may be more of an issue with birds here in N. Illinois vs. elsewhere in the state). I had a discussion about this with a few members involved with the study a year or two ago. It seems more landowners have been telling me they are seeing roosters breeding with one hen instead of multiple hens, plus they were helping raise the chicks.

    One would think this is a good thing, and I suppose for broad rearing success it would be, but the underlining issue with this is fewer hens on the nest. One nest vs. 2,3,4 (or more) within a dominate roosters breeding territory.

    The parasite issue actually turned into a non issue. They did this very early in the study to understand if there was possible infestation from released birds but it actually turned into a small un noticeable thing.


    The biggest thing with predation is actually not the usual predators (coyotes and racoons) as there really is minimal to no brush or trees.
    I think what you said is important-"minimal to no brush/trees". Indeed that would be the case within the 3 counties they are concentrating on. Maybe not the case up this way and elsewhere in the state. We'll have a nice grassland, then next to it a large section of hardwood woods. There seems to be a higher density of coons and coyotes within grasslands next to wooded areas.

    Did they mention nest raiders and which ones were doing the most damage? What percentage of nests where lost due to predators?

    The largest predator is raptors or hawks, birds that prey during the day. The study showed little to no predation during the night hours.
    I'm glad to hear night time predation was low. Though this could have to do with fewer coons within the study area too.

    Even with the avian predators, nesting and brood success rates were much higher than studies done in Iowa
    .

    What was the average size of a broad within the study? From what I've been seeing and hearing from people up here---they are around 6-8 chicks instead of 10-12 chicks per broad---as we saw before the "pheasant population crash".

    Winter survival is also mucher high (Pre and post hunting season). Even in the years with heavy snow and rain, these success rates for nesting and survival were incredibly high
    .

    That's great news

    Another interesting thing is this last season, 8 of the 9 birds we shot had crops full of seeds (not corn like everyone would think). This just shows that you do no necessarily need a food plot for them to survive, they will find those high protein seeds to eat as well. Pollinators are great for this since they are producing these seeds all summer
    .

    I think food plots have there place and can play a huge roll in increasing bird numbers. But yes, if a good amount of seed head plants are within an area they can survive on such. But, there needs to be a large amount for large pheasant populations.



    One last question; Did he mention anything regarding our birds un-willingness to move around i.e.-cross highways, cutting through open fields, or sections of wooded areas in order to get to a food source or other habitats?

    Thanks again
    "Through license fees and excise tax on arms and gear, sportsmen contribute over $200 million per year for wildlife conservation programs" (U.S. fish and wildlife service)

    http://www.pheasantfreaks.com

  10. #10
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    No worries, I could talk about this for hours upon end. Really has turned into a passion of mine.

    Did they mention nest raiders and which ones were doing the most damage? What percentage of nests where lost due to predators?

    Nest raiders were really not the issue, avian predation on chicks and full grown birds was the biggest predation. Nests lost due to predators was low, I think less than 10%.

    What was the average size of a broad within the study? From what I've been seeing and hearing from people up here---they are around 6-8 chicks instead of 10-12 chicks per broad---as we saw before the "pheasant population crash".

    Average brood size for this study was 13.6 chicks per brood for nests 1-4 which was absolutely shocking to hear, they said really minimal degredation in numbers during renesting. I can tell you my dad has seen broods in our area (which is about 45 miles away) as large as 15.

    One last question; Did he mention anything regarding our birds un-willingness to move around i.e.-cross highways, cutting through open fields, or sections of wooded areas in order to get to a food source or other habitats?

    Im glad you asked, they did study this an over the 3-5 year study they had 8 birds move permanently. Birds would venture into fields to eat but would always return to roost. The ones that did permanently move actually did not use linear habitat (waterways or ditches) to do so. They usually moved in June/July when the crops are high and can really shield them. And of those 8, the furthest distance traveled was ~1 mile. One thing to note, birds will only permanently move when they are upgrading habitat. A bird will not move from native warm season grasses to brome. A very interesting logic I thought.

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