The end of growing hemp had nothing to do with the demise of the ring neck pheasant. When hemp was being grown the pheasants were just begining to be started as a hunting population in the country. What was the most important issue was clean farming, no till farming, the removal of hedge rows and the extirpation of weeds in the rows of cornfields by the use of round up instead of cultivators, the invention of the haybine and the end of the sickle bar to cut hay and the beginning of more hay cutting a year than before in order to sell hay as a money maker instead of to feed the farmers cattle.. Back when we had pheasants in southeast PA in Lebanon Co. which was one of the best places for pheasants, the weeds in the corn rows were full of weeds, some 4 and 4 feet high, all with seeds that were pheasant food. Now if the field is straight enough you can almost look down a row and see the other end of the field. Additionally, the demise of the corn picker in favor of the corn combine which leave no corn stalks and corn on cobs on the ground added another nail in the pheasant coffin. Then came the final blow, avian flu which knocked back the populations that were left. Until the day we can raise pheasants that eat dirt and nest on macadam, we will never come close to approaching the pheasant populations of the 50's 60's and 70's.
When you are up to your butt in alligators, it is hard to remember your intent was to drain the swamp. Stay focused!