Ringnecks invade the U.S. - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 87 (permalink) Old 01-16-2018, 03:45 PM Thread Starter
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Ringnecks invade the U.S.

I didn't want to sway another open thread, so I'll start this'n.


The Interweb states Ringnecks were imported to the U.S. from China, in 1881. They landed in, or were shipped to, Oregon. SIXTY ONE (61) of them, not 10's of thousands.


It also states that some were purchased from English gamekeepers, and released in Pennsylvania, in Lehigh and Northampton counties, in the 1890's ?


So, how did Pheasants seem to proliferate in the early 1900's, yet can't now ? I'm talking about here in SW PA, also. Not just the vast and wide large Amish farms of SE PA. I would think much of Western, PA was sylvan back then, with farmsteads being dotted a bit here and there. And I'm sure there wasn't Switchgrass, and Big Bluestem varieties being planted, etc... So, what was the key yo getting them established ? I mean, by the 60's/70's/80/s, all birds here were established via PGC game farms. So, what was the difference ? Farmers and/or hunters readily killed avian predators ? The fact that the game farms (PGC), actually disperse the birds widely, stocking them on many farmsteads, instead of just Gameland settings ?


The PGC site states that Pheasants were distributed heavily, to cooperators, from the 1930's, until the program was discontinued in the 70's ? Could it be that the coop program had much to do with the success and proliferation of farm raised Pheasants ?


I mean, these birds succeeded in western, PA, and established wild populations on their own, and it all stemmed from farm raised stocked birds. The habitat here in western, pa hasn't changed all that much for the worse, when it comes to bird habitat. I'm seriously thinking that the wide dispersal of the birds from the coop program, may have had an enormous positive impact on them being able to thrive....... along with more control over avian preds of course.

2A-Wash. Co.
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post #2 of 87 (permalink) Old 01-16-2018, 04:13 PM
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No, the coop program had not a thing to do with the demise of the ring neck in PA. The coop program was simply people, mostly sportsmen's clubs who would raise day old chicks that the PGC provided to them and also provided the food until the time that the birds were released on land open to public hunting, some times the clubs would hire a commercial propagator to raise the chicks because they had no covered pens or brooder houses to raise them in. During this time all the state pheasant farms were in operation and the cooperators simply supplemented the birds that the PGC raised with chicks that would not have been raised but killed. What killed the wild pheasant population was the lack of cover after new farming practices came on the scene and clean farming and no till farming became the norm in the state. You cannot raise wild pheasants without thousands of acres of continuous cover which we no longer have. I hunted in this state at the eight of the wild pheasant population and saw the land then, what we have now doesn't compare one iota with the habitat we once had and unless you bring back the habitat, you will never bring back wild pheasants in any kind of numbers.

When you are up to your butt in alligators, it is hard to remember your intent was to drain the swamp. Stay focused!
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post #3 of 87 (permalink) Old 01-16-2018, 04:47 PM
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"what we have now doesn't compare one iota with the habitat we once had and unless you bring back the habitat, you will never bring back wild pheasants in any kind of numbers."

This statement by WW nailed it!

I too was fortunate to hunt abundant population of pheasants back in the late 60's and early 70's, as well as bob white quail.
There was an excellent population of wild pheasants which was supplemented with good numbers of pen reared pheasants.

Blessed to have a great English Setter back then. Grouse too were abundant most years and the after Christmas season was awesome to hunt grouse behind my Setter since the pheasant and quail season would be closed.
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post #4 of 87 (permalink) Old 01-16-2018, 05:30 PM
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x3.

Not only was there real cover, it was contiguous. Fragmentation of habitat is a major factor with many struggling wild game populations, wild pheasants included.
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post #5 of 87 (permalink) Old 01-16-2018, 05:54 PM
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After the ddt stoppage, Pheasant Humting here, NE Pa. went down the tube. The alternate poisons screw up the mating cycles of game birds and rabbits. IMHO.

The only rabbits I see which are far and few between have tire tracks on them. No grouse, ringnecks, quail, or rabbits around here at all.

Stant
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post #6 of 87 (permalink) Old 01-16-2018, 05:55 PM
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Another contributing and perhaps the most limiting factor is the time of hay mowing being combined with the speed of hay mower then verse today.

Pheasants tend to nest in hay fields during early June. Back in the day most farmers didnít start making hay until the pheasants were finished with the nesting process. They also used old sickle bar mowers that were pretty slow and equipped with flushing bars to flush any rabbits or pheasants before they got hit with the mower. Now farmers are mowing hay in May and early June with much faster and slower cutting mowers.

Some studies have indicated that todayís hay mowing schedules and equipment are killing about 80% of the hen pheasants on the nest. When you kill a high percentage of your nesting hens you are very quickly going out of the pheasant business even if you have perfect habitat.

Dick Bodenhorn
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post #7 of 87 (permalink) Old 01-16-2018, 06:16 PM
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Stant, DDT was banned in total in 1972, we still had great pheasant hunting in 1972 and DDT was severely restricted in what it could be used for in the 60s. additionally, what DDT did was to get into the food and make the shells of eggs so thin they would break when a hen sat on the eggs to incubate them which shoots your theory to pieces that it was the banning of DDT that caused the pheasant population to drop. DDT was not a friend of pheasants or any other bird. All pesticides used on farm fields are damaging to wildlife in one way or the other. The biggest enemy of the Ring necked pheasant was and is is the destruction and loss of contiguous habitat.
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When you are up to your butt in alligators, it is hard to remember your intent was to drain the swamp. Stay focused!
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post #8 of 87 (permalink) Old 01-16-2018, 06:23 PM
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Most of the above comments are true. DDT cut down on avian predators. Hawks and owls were legal to shoot.
The PA Game Commission actually sponsored hawk hunts. There was also an annual crow hunt in SE PA.
Biggest problem in SE PA is habitat.
There are places that do have good habitat i.e. Middle Creek and Blue Marsh. I think predation is the problem in those areas.
We will never have pheasants like we did.
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post #9 of 87 (permalink) Old 01-16-2018, 06:24 PM
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Why spend money on something knowing the effort is a lost cause?
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post #10 of 87 (permalink) Old 01-16-2018, 06:48 PM
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Grouse, that annual crow hunt was held at the Ontelaune(sp) reservoir water shed. It was done by the city of Reading who,got its drinking water from the lake. The area had thousands of conifer and hardwood trees which made a great crow roost. The PGC helped with the registration of shooters. the weekend when the hunt was going on it was hard to get a motel room or a seat at a diner for breakfast because so many people came participate in the hunt. They gave prizes for the most crows, the largest crow and the smallest crow. They had city dump trucks hauling away dead crows. The PGC did not Sponsor hawk hunts but their were hawk hunts at hawk mountain. Actually, you are not correct, hawks and owls were not affected by DDT, or there would have been no reason to have hawk shoots. Wading birds and Bald eagles were greatly affected because the DDT got in the water and was held in the fat of fish and frogs which was the main food of wading birds and Bald eagles and their populations plummeted because their eggs would break when they tried to incubate them. Not only was the DDT stored in the fat of fish and frogs but it accumulated and got stronger for the life of the fish or frog. The only hawk that was affected by DDT was the Osprey whose diet is comprised of almost nothing but fish

When you are up to your butt in alligators, it is hard to remember your intent was to drain the swamp. Stay focused!
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