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#7303733 - 10/02/18 07:24 PM Re: Pheasant in the Panhandle [Re: Cajun Raider]
ckat Online   content
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/02/09
Posts: 1389
Loc: Lubbock Area
I know that in our area, two things have played a major role in the decline of pheasants (and quail.)

1) Loss of habitat, both in the form of CRP and old homesteads. 10-20 years ago, we had old 1-5 acre homesteads grown up in weeds (prime upland habitat) every 1/4 section. These were leftovers from the '30s through the '50s when a big farmer had a section of land to himself, while most farmed 1/4-1/2 sections. As these old houses have fallen in, farmers and landowners have opted to bury and clean up these old homesteads. I don't blame them, their places look nicer and they lessen their personal liability by cleaning these places up. But, those homesteads used to house LOTS of upland game when they were around.

2) The emphasis on more efficient irrigation practices. Years ago, when there was a lot of row watering of crops, playa lakes kept water from March through October regardless of rainfall. This "wasted water" as ditches broke played a very positive role for wildlife in the area. There was always plenty of drinking water, weeds, bugs, and nesting moisture no matter what Mother Nature dished out. Drought years just weren't that critical in our area - there was always going to be a decent hatch to restock the supply. The push for more efficient methods (drip) has all but done away with irrigation run off. You don't see tailwater pits anymore because there is no need for them.

These two things have had a big impact in our upland population. I'm not blaming anyone, it's just the changing of the times.

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#7303752 - 10/02/18 07:40 PM Re: Pheasant in the Panhandle [Re: ckat]
crapicat Offline
Tracker

Registered: 10/13/13
Posts: 575
Loc: Grandview
Thanks ckat...I just love it when the “Paul Harvey version” gets relayed... cheers

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#7303754 - 10/02/18 07:42 PM Re: Pheasant in the Panhandle [Re: Schat]
BOBO the Clown Offline
decoy

Registered: 04/19/07
Posts: 43948
Loc: Metroplex
Originally Posted By: Schat
I would to say both of you have merit to the argument, as habitat is lost it allows for predation to occur easily. We have more people that see a native grass field as unproductive and Those that find it is far more economical to grow cotton, than grain crops. A second very sad issue was the Lack of a new farm bill, now losing funding to keep land in native grass land. Wildlife will take a hit as habitat lost occurs.


https://www.capjournal.com/news/farm-bil...9bb156c7a9.html


At midnight Sunday, the 2014 Farm Bill expired and while important farm programs, such as crop insurance and SNAP will continue operating some, most programs will shut down unless Congress passes an extension of the law.


The farm bill’s conservation programs, which are some of the country’s most important conservation measures, mostly will be left in a sort of limbo until a new farm bill can pass, the old one gets extended or 2018 ends. If 2019 rolls around before an extension or new bill becomes law, most conservation programs would cease to exist. Until then, programs such as the Conservation Reserve Program, broadly touted as one of the country’s most successful private-land wildlife habitat programs, won’t be able to enter into new contracts.


Landowners who choose to enroll some of their land in CRP enter into a 10-year contract with the federal government that requires them to plant and maintain grass or other wildlife habitat in exchange for rent. The landowner gets paid based on the land rental rates in the surrounding area. The idea is to pay farmers to use marginal farm land to provide taxpayers with environmental services such as cleaner water and wildlife while at the same time giving farmers a relatively stable source of income.



In South Dakota, CRP serves two important functions. First, it provides farmers and ranchers, the bedrock of the state’s largest industry, with a stable source of income when the prices of corn and soybeans are down. Second, CRP provides habitat for ring-necked pheasants, which are one of the bedrocks of the state’s second largest industry — tourism.


With commodity prices low and showing no signs of rising, farmers are increasingly looking for ways to take marginal farmland out of production, said Dave Nomsen, vice president for government affairs at Pheasants Forever, a conservation organization focused on pheasant conservation.


“We’ve got some of the highest demand for conservation, I think, we’ve had in decades,” Nomsen said.


The 2014 farm bill, written and passed during a period of relatively strong commodity prices, lowered the maximum number of CRP acres allowed to 24 million. That was down from 32 million acres in the 2008 farm bill. South Dakota’s number of CRP acres peaked in 2007 at 1.5 million. The next year, in 2008, the state saw a modest peak in its pheasant population.


South Dakota now has about 950,000 acres enrolled in CRP. Current CRP contracts shouldn’t be affected by the farm bill expiration. There were several farm bill conservation programs that did end on Sunday and won’t be continued in the event of an extension.


One of the most important for hunters was the Voluntary Public Access-Habitat Improvement Program (VPA-HIP). The 2014 farm bill provided for $40 million worth of grant funding that states could use to pay for public access to private lands for such things as hunting, fishing, or birdwatching. Nomsen said, the loss of VPA-HIP probably won’t affect much in 2018 but could have an impact next year if there’s no new farm bill.


Other programs that ended on Sept. 30 include the Grassroots Source Water Protection program, which helped keep pollution out of water supplies. There also was the Small Watershed Rehabilitation program, which provided $250 million to help protect smaller watersheds and repair older dams in those watersheds. The Wetlands Mitigation Banking program, which allowed landowners to pay to offset unavoidable wetland destruction also will shut down.



The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is another federal conservation program that expired Sunday. It is completely separate from the farm bill but the LWCF provided access to more land for outdoor recreation and funded state, local and federal park improvements all over the United States.


The LWCF gets its money from federal offshore oil and gas drilling royalties. It was created in 1964 as a way to fund protections for water, nature and historic sites as well as to fund more and better local outdoor recreation access.


South Dakota’s Game, Fish and Parks Department administers the state’s portion of LWCF dollars. Since the program started sending money to states, said GFP Parks Division Chief Katie Ceroll, the LWCF has sent $42 million to South Dakota. Because LWCF grants are usually 50-50 matching grants, that $42 million means roughly $84 million has been spent on such things as new swimming pools, parks or restroom and shower facilities at state park campgrounds.


“It’s been such as success over the last 50 years,” Ceroll said of the LWCF. “There probably isn’t a county in this country that hasn’t been impacted by it.”


The LWCF has expired before. In September 2015, Congress wasn’t able to renew the law that created it. The LWCF was renewed in December 2015 as part of Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016.




Hat tip, well written. The LWCF is a big deal, that provides a ton of access. The more people have access the more they hunt, more hunters money that goes into conservation. Ironically the most unfriendly public land senator, utah’s Mr Bishop wrote an awesome price of legislation making the LWCF permanent with some great guide lines.

Everyone reading this please reach out to your national representative and push to have this bill passed




















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#7311272 - 10/11/18 10:05 AM Re: Pheasant in the Panhandle [Re: Cajun Raider]
Red Pill Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 12/08/17
Posts: 51
I don't know about populations this year. I hunted successfully for many years around Halfway (west of Plainview). Not so much in the past few years. Most of the farmers are growing only cotton. No cover, no forage, very few birds.

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#7311309 - 10/11/18 10:42 AM Re: Pheasant in the Panhandle [Re: BOBO the Clown]
BOBO the Clown Offline
decoy

Registered: 04/19/07
Posts: 43948
Loc: Metroplex
Originally Posted By: BOBO the Clown

Pheasants are still there, we are now 8 years post drought, and pheasant population is coming back. Now lessor prairie chickens not so much.

My pheasant counts during wheat and barley harvest were really good this year. Still not as high as as early 2000’s and late 90’s but really good. I expect my counts during corn harvest to be even better.



Just finished corn harvest last week and pheasants counts weren’t has high as I hoped but still above 10 year average that’s for sure. Only oddity is less than 10% where hens.

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#7311520 - 10/11/18 02:47 PM Re: Pheasant in the Panhandle [Re: Cajun Raider]
3 alarm bbq Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 11/08/11
Posts: 253
Loc: hurst
Any Floyd county reports?

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#7311838 - 10/11/18 08:55 PM Re: Pheasant in the Panhandle [Re: 3 alarm bbq]
ckat Online   content
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/02/09
Posts: 1389
Loc: Lubbock Area
Originally Posted By: 3 alarm bbq
Any Floyd county reports?


SW Floyd county - numbers will be slender, at best. Even with all of the recent rain, we have only had 7.5" since the first week in October of LAST year at our house. Most of that has been within the last month and a half...

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#7315727 - 10/15/18 09:55 PM Re: Pheasant in the Panhandle [Re: crapicat]
TXPanhandler Offline
Tracker

Registered: 09/12/12
Posts: 517
Loc: Texas Panhandle
Originally Posted By: crapicat
Originally Posted By: TXPanhandler
There will be some to shoot at no doubt. Seeing them every morning and evening in the bar ditches all over the northern panhandle from Texline to Follett.


Well, that is music to my ears! Just hope the coyote population is not too high...


A friend of mine did a helicopter survey of his ranch (about 40 sections) in southern Moore county last week. They killed 30 coyotes. They killed about that many in the survey last year, and we have killed 15 or 20 hunting with calls between those two surveys. They are pretty thick.
_________________________
upshaw-insurance.com

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#7315981 - 10/16/18 08:11 AM Re: Pheasant in the Panhandle [Re: Cajun Raider]
thegrouse Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/22/08
Posts: 1194
Loc: San Antonio
Is there much of a pheasant hunting industry up there? I am heading to SD later in the week. I have connections up there but there are many places an average Joe can pay and hunt the fields. Is it fairly easy to find reasonable day hunting for birds in the panhandle?

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#7316021 - 10/16/18 08:46 AM Re: Pheasant in the Panhandle [Re: TXPanhandler]
BOBO the Clown Offline
decoy

Registered: 04/19/07
Posts: 43948
Loc: Metroplex
Originally Posted By: TXPanhandler
Originally Posted By: crapicat
Originally Posted By: TXPanhandler
There will be some to shoot at no doubt. Seeing them every morning and evening in the bar ditches all over the northern panhandle from Texline to Follett.


Well, that is music to my ears! Just hope the coyote population is not too high...


A friend of mine did a helicopter survey of his ranch (about 40 sections) in southern Moore county last week. They killed 30 coyotes. They killed about that many in the survey last year, and we have killed 15 or 20 hunting with calls between those two surveys. They are pretty thick.


I poped two two weeks ago. Saw a ton. Lots of mange also.

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#7316747 - 10/16/18 07:00 PM Re: Pheasant in the Panhandle [Re: thegrouse]
ckat Online   content
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/02/09
Posts: 1389
Loc: Lubbock Area
Originally Posted By: thegrouse
Is there much of a pheasant hunting industry up there? I am heading to SD later in the week. I have connections up there but there are many places an average Joe can pay and hunt the fields. Is it fairly easy to find reasonable day hunting for birds in the panhandle?


Not around here. Too many jerks have ruined the once "good ol' boy" system. I had to run a couple of pole inspectors off last week - they were helping themselves to our prairie dogs while on the clock. The total disregard for respect has turned most landowners sour on hunters. You dang well better have some connections if you want to hunt legally around here.

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#7316866 - 10/16/18 08:25 PM Re: Pheasant in the Panhandle [Re: ckat]
thegrouse Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/22/08
Posts: 1194
Loc: San Antonio
Originally Posted By: ckat
Originally Posted By: thegrouse
Is there much of a pheasant hunting industry up there? I am heading to SD later in the week. I have connections up there but there are many places an average Joe can pay and hunt the fields. Is it fairly easy to find reasonable day hunting for birds in the panhandle?


Not around here. Too many jerks have ruined the once "good ol' boy" system. I had to run a couple of pole inspectors off last week - they were helping themselves to our prairie dogs while on the clock. The total disregard for respect has turned most landowners sour on hunters. You dang well better have some connections if you want to hunt legally around here.

That is what I was afraid of. I would love to hunt up that way but without any connections it would be tough for a solo hunter. I just wish I could do SD more than once a year.

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#7318335 - 18 minutes 25 seconds ago Re: Pheasant in the Panhandle [Re: Cajun Raider]
TrackQuack Online   content
Bird Dog

Registered: 12/31/09
Posts: 490
Any reports in Castro county?

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