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Thread: Winter and Bird Survival

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Rolla Mo
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    Talked to a buddy who is a serious hunter, echoed the same. Worst since 97. He had over 200 +or- yard birds he was feeding. He is down to 11, 8 roosters 3 hens. Says in his travels around Aberdeen and north it is the same. 70-80% roosters, which is typical survival after a winter like this. Roosters are bigger and stronger and do better over the long haul. Same story...be a few years and he will buy 5-600 this spring from the sportsmans club to jump start them on his place.

  2. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by watermen View Post
    Talked to a buddy who is a serious hunter, echoed the same. Worst since 97. He had over 200 +or- yard birds he was feeding. He is down to 11, 8 roosters 3 hens. Says in his travels around Aberdeen and north it is the same. 70-80% roosters, which is typical survival after a winter like this. Roosters are bigger and stronger and do better over the long haul. Same story...be a few years and he will buy 5-600 this spring from the sportsmans club to jump start them on his place.
    what part of SD? Sorry to hear....

  3. #33
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    Feb 2014
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    Rolla Mo
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    Technically, I would consider the line from Aberdeen to Huron to Mitchell sort of the border to eastern S.D. and west of there central till an hour west of the river. And west river after that. Seems everyone that lives in SD, counts west river and the rest of the state is eastern. They interchange "the river" with central. So in a short answer, I would call Aberdeen to the north and east, NE SD and SE ND. I'm confident it will be bad in general for the birds this year. Seen it, always the same birds haven't even recovered west river from the drought. Few pockets, Still fun hunting. ASC has it right, there will be some serious duck hunting I think. We lost a 30 year high of quail in N MO and S IA. Sorta depressing really.

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    California
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    35

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    Does it help to release 30 to 40 hens in a section this spring. I know a lot will become coyote food but maybe 20 could nest?

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    2,293

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    i think most would agree, coyote/raptor feed. pen raised birds just don't have the instincts to survive.

  6. #36
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    Feb 2014
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    Rolla Mo
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    Quote Originally Posted by springerchaser View Post
    Does it help to release 30 to 40 hens in a section this spring. I know a lot will become coyote food but maybe 20 could nest?
    IDK, I know it does help. Anecdotal evidence would support this. I know on a quarter 20-30 bred hens from the commercial guys when they are done collecting eggs will produce some clutches. How many? Depends on as many factors as any nesting season I would guess. Will it help? Yes it is common practice. The bred hens are cheap in the spring, a couple bucks a piece. The breeders don't have to feed them and they get rid of them cheap. Are they burnt out and not as likely to nest productively? Probably yes to both. Will some of them nest and pull off a brood that will grow up and a few survive with wild traits? Yes! Will many if not most get eaten by predators, Yes, true of any clutch of wild birds. Landowners do it to increase numbers and I have seen the clutches from them. Specifically in 98 and 02 or 03 after both brutal winters. Pheasants are not a native wild bird and became established from planted birds. Some make it with habitat available. From a numbers perspective any help is additive and exponential. Let's say you lost 70-80% of your typical breeding birds this winter (with survivors weighted to roosters). It will take 3-4 years to produce numbers like last year with good hatching conditions. Doubling a population of birds year on year would be a great increase. Typical is 30-60%. If you could get back to your baseline of numbers to produce a 1/2 bird per acre, (which in my experience would produce good hunting) a year or two quicker with little investment, would it be worth it? That is your decision. Guys that live there do it and do it for a reason. There are many reasons not to do it, it will help. You can't control the weather, predator success or many other factors. Habitat is important, so are bird numbers. It is after all just a numbers game. What could it possibly hurt? Nature has given you the toughest of the tough to work with. Anything left to breed this year is genetically superior to most. That is irrefutable. A few wild roosters will find your hens irresistable. Good luck whatever you decide.

  7. #37
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Missouri
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    124

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    I heard from the landowner where I hunt in Miner County near Howard and they said "water & mud here, but could be worse. Lots of fences to mend. Seems to be a lot of birds out and about. Should be an interesting crop year." They do have some solid habitat, which is always key to survival. Maybe that area wasn't affected as much as by the recent storms too. I figured I'd share the update. Did I use the right word "affect"??? I think so but's it's really bothering me..... Here's to a nice and average spring weather pattern!
    Last edited by chriswhite22; 03-25-2019 at 10:52 AM. Reason: typo

  8. #38
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Glenview, Illinois
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    349

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    That’s good to hear. South and Southeast SD was not hit nearly as hard.
    The Northern 1/3 of SD was just walloped this winter and that last blizzard with rain, freezing rain, snow and 60mph winds just did the birds in. There is still 20 inches on the ground near Faulkton. If you want to see some birds next year go South young man along the I-90 Corridor.

  9. #39

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    I have been in touch with about 6 farmers in SE SD...none are too concerned...these are guys that do host pay-to-hunt deals for about a month each fall...they know pheasants and habitat for the most part...I am fairly confident that that area didn't get pounded...some mortality? Sure...but the period from 5/15-6/25 or so will make or break the season, as is usually the case...

  10. #40
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Full time NE South Dakota now
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    200

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    Seeing a few more birds as the weather improves in NE SD. I now have five roosters and two hens around the farm. The 160 acre CRP across the road is water soaked but at least the snow is half gone so there is some cover for the birds. I think the large group of birds that gathered together are now starting to spread out so it will be difficult to assess numbers for a while. Hen releases, I agree a lot with what watermen had to say. Last year we were seeing a one to one rooster to hen ratio so we purchased and released 50 hens. For most of the spring we were then seeing a 3 to 1 hen to rooster ratio. So I have to believe the releasing of hens did help out some. As we move forward this spring we will assess and probably purchase additional hens again just to help out. Habitat isn't an issue around my place, but we do seem to have an increase in Coyotes. I am sure they will have some affect on things but that is nature. SDviking

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