Numbers from the recent wild pheasant flushing survey - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-13-2019, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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Numbers from the recent wild pheasant flushing survey

Just wanted to provide a quick update on numbers from this past Sunday’s flushing survey at Central Susquehanna.

27 volunteers
5 farms
151 birds total
78 males
71 females
2 unknown
12 short-eared owls
12 rabbits
1 coyote

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 #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-13-2019, 02:13 PM
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Curious WW - how does a participant know the difference between a pen-raised and a wild pheasant? 151 flushes across five farms seems like a lot of pheasants.

Thanks for the insights!

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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-13-2019, 02:48 PM
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Woods is this from Susquehanna county

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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-13-2019, 03:33 PM Thread Starter
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Yes it is Joe. I just got the e-mail today, I suppose because I am going to be participating in the next one on Sunday at Hegins/Gratz area. Weather is looking iffy though.

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 #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-13-2019, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PA boxcall View Post
Curious WW - how does a participant know the difference between a pen-raised and a wild pheasant? 151 flushes across five farms seems like a lot of pheasants.

Thanks for the insights!
There are no pen raised birds stocked around those farms in the WPRA so any bird flushed was from the wild stock. Actually, back in the late 50s and 60s when we had wild birds in Lebanon CO, we flushed that many pheasants and more off one farm on one day.

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 #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-13-2019, 07:26 PM
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joe8768 asked, "Woods is this from Susquehanna county".

The flushing took place in the CS WPRA (Central Susquehanna Wild Pheasant Restoration Area). This is an 30,000 acre -plus or minus- area the PGC designated to try and restore the Ringneck Pheasant.

This area is located in Montour County and Northumberland County near Turbotville PA.


PA Boxcall posted, "151 flushes across five farms seems like a lot of pheasants."

A little perspective, the Swartz Farm, 1 of the 5 farms that were flushed, has about 40 acres of pheasant habitat and in the early years of the program, it was very common to flush 160 pheasants from just these 40 acres.

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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-14-2019, 11:13 AM
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Please understand that this is not a population count. The flushing surveys are done to see what the hen/rooster ratio is on an area. We want to get at least 100 birds in the survey area and we can easily do that on these five farms. The sex ratio information is combined with the spring crowing count info to determine total population numbers for the WPRA. These numbers are what we want to see as they are close to a 50/50 ratio for an unhunted population meaning that hen survival is good. The Swartz farm that Dean mentioned had at one time about 150 acres of CREP and a food plot back when those numbers were hit. Since then the landowner has taken about 100 acres out of CREP and will not allow a foodplot. The reduction in bird numbers shows the difference as would be expected with the reduction in habitat.
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Last edited by Lynnappelman; 02-14-2019 at 11:17 AM.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-16-2019, 09:56 AM
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When this program began it was all about the numbers. Wow! Look how many birds we flushed! What an overwhelming success!
I took part in one about 6 years ago. NOW as the program is slowly withering away it is suddenly about *** ratios? Couldn’t be a better spin if a politician dreamt it up. All this program proves is that if you throw enough money at a pheasant project it can be successful. The problem is that farmers raise crops and not pheasants. This was a certainty at the beginning to anyone with the brain of a tick. PA cannot support wild pheasants to any scale without government subsidies and farmers willing to tak a cut in pay to do it. Not going to happen.
The other problem is that we are overrun with predators. I know I will be branded as unenlightened and a Cro Magnon, but back in the day when we had pheasants the Game Commission encouraged predator reduction even had manuals on how to trap hawks and even sponsored hawk shoots. Of course farm habitat has changed drastically. There are still places with seemingly good pheasant habitat, Gamelands at Colebrook, Middle Creek, and Blue Marsh, no wild birds.
So let us all rejoice in the new found religion of pheasant ratios! Right down to the day when the flushing survey puts up one cock bird and one hen. 50%!! A resounding success!
Here’s a novel idea, how about putting all that time, money and resources into habitat for our state bird.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-19-2019, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grouse28 View Post
When this program began it was all about the numbers. Wow! Look how many birds we flushed! What an overwhelming success!
I took part in one about 6 years ago. NOW as the program is slowly withering away it is suddenly about *** ratios? Couldn’t be a better spin if a politician dreamt it up. All this program proves is that if you throw enough money at a pheasant project it can be successful. The problem is that farmers raise crops and not pheasants. This was a certainty at the beginning to anyone with the brain of a tick. PA cannot support wild pheasants to any scale without government subsidies and farmers willing to tak a cut in pay to do it. Not going to happen.
The other problem is that we are overrun with predators. I know I will be branded as unenlightened and a Cro Magnon, but back in the day when we had pheasants the Game Commission encouraged predator reduction even had manuals on how to trap hawks and even sponsored hawk shoots. Of course farm habitat has changed drastically. There are still places with seemingly good pheasant habitat, Gamelands at Colebrook, Middle Creek, and Blue Marsh, no wild birds.
So let us all rejoice in the new found religion of pheasant ratios! Right down to the day when the flushing survey puts up one cock bird and one hen. 50%!! A resounding success!
Here’s a novel idea, how about putting all that time, money and resources into habitat for our state bird.
Grouse 28 you clueless Cro Magnon. I was just trying to state the scientific reason for the flushing survey. If it is more than you can understand, I am sorry I didn't use stick figures so you could get it. We had thousands of acres of CREP when we started the program. CREP is a soil conservation program, not a pheasant program. The money thrown at it was mostly PF money for trap and transfer of wild birds. There is no reason to hide any information. Habitat is reduced so bird numbers are reduced. Predators play a roll but with good habitat predator losses are controlled. Basic wildlife biology. Look it up.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-19-2019, 10:04 PM
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Lynn, you’re right I can be a dense SOB at times. Please explain to me then why there are no pheasants at Middle Creek anymore. Hundreds of acres of protected habitat where one could drive through and see scores of pheasants. Now they have vanished, and they have not been hunted. Yes I know there is is some put and take on a small portion of the land, but for the most part it is off limits to pheasant hunting.
Sorry, I do not subscribe to the Kum By Yah thesis of predator and prey. Just ask the elk guides in Idaho and Montana that quit certain areas after the wolves moved in. We have more predators than ever before, and new ones. Coyotes, mink in the SE part of the state and now a few Fisher here as well. Trapper numbers are way down so there are more Foxes, possums, skunks, not to mention hawks.
All I was trying to point out is that widespread pheasant, (and quail) restoration in Pennsylvania is a dream without subsidizing CREP and willing farmers to set aside land for this experiment. We will never have a sustainable, huntable population of pheasants in PA. Not even sure we did even back in the glory days without all the additional stocked birds that were put out, but at least we did have habitat. Now farms are biological deserts and that will not change.
Excuse me now, I want to complete some drawings of pheasants on my cave wall, maybe chip a few flints.

Last edited by Grouse28; 02-19-2019 at 10:06 PM.
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