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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When the PGC came to the conclusion that the ring neck pheasant could not sustain a wild population in the northern half of the state, what were the reasons. Was it the colder climate, soil fertility, lack of nesting cover, pastureland vs. cropland? If you look at north eastern Pa. today, it looks alot like the southeast looked in the 60's, a lot of small farms with overgrown idle fields, old orchards, meadows, cover on roadsides and cropfield edges. There also seems to be alot of alfalfa fields which should be good for nesting cover.
I don't believe the winters are more severe than North Dakota or Minnesota. Both states have excellent wild pheasant populations.
Did the Game Commission use truely wild birds in the early days of stocking the North?
There is and have been pockets of wild birds in the north. These pockets are isolated, making it impossible for them to spread.
I think the CREP Program has also added a lot of habitat to the area.
Because of development the southeast will never be what it was, it may be time to take another look at the northern half of the state.
 

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I believe it was based on available habitat. It was not based on being too far north. Certainly the pheasant populations of Saskatchewan prove it is not being north that's the problem. I think you have a good point about changes in the north. Bradford county, as an example, has one of the highest CREP acres in the state and may be a good choice for wild pheasant expansion. It would be great if we could get a Pheasants Forever chapter in that area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Lynn,
It seems hard to get LARGE numbers of poeple in this area motivated about pheasants. They seem interested and would love to see pheasant on their property. But if you mention working their land to improve habitat you lose them. I own 30 acres in Eastern Bradford County. Most of the area around me is owned by people who use it for deer and turkey hunting. It is a mix of old fields, woodlots, and croplands. I think the reason it is such a hard sell is because there just isn't a history of pheasant hunting in these northern counties.
 

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The good news is that you don't need large numbers of people. It's hard to get large numbers of people interested in anything. 10% of the people do 90% of the work in every group. If you can get 5 or 6 guys interested, more will get involved for banquets, youth hunts etc. I have a nephew who lives in Bradford county. I think he may be interested in getting involved if somebody ran with it.
 

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I grew up in Bradford County and now live just accross the county line in Sullivan and would love to help get a chapter started up here. Let me know if there is anything I can do. I think the area could be an awesome place for wild birds.
 

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Can you guys PM me your name, address and phone number and I'll try to get the ball rolling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hey guys I got this interesting response from our PF regional biologist.

Dan, Feel free to post;
You make a lot of good points in your post. I cannot adequately defend or dispute your question regarding PGC's conclusion that the northern half of the state could not sustain a wild population without knowing first hand what conditions the decision was based on. More than likely, the decision was based on the available habitat suitable to sustain a wild pheasant population, or at least that is how the decision should have been based. First off, I don't think we should look at the northern tier as a whole. There is "big" woods and vast expanses of it primarily across the central counties of the northern tier. It's a no-brainer that wild pheasants will not sustain themselves in the big woods region. There are, however, a great deal of small farms and open landscapes to the northeast (i.e. Bradford County, parts of Tioga and Susquehanna Counties), and the northwest (i.e. Erie and Crawford Counties) that hold potential for wild pheasant. Sure the northern half of the state is typically colder than the southern half, but I agree with you that our northern tier is no worse than the severally cold and windy climates of Montana, and the Dakota's. Adequate winter cover is necessary indeed but was probably not a limiting factor in the northern tier. An absence of secure nesting cover was likely the reason pheasants could not sustain themselves in the farmland areas of the Northern tier. From what I have heard, even though the farms of the northern tier had the small farm flair ideal for pheasants, they were intensively grazed with livestock. An intensively grazed pasture can be a desert for pheasants similar to corn fields after harvest. What you were left with was a steep transition from mature woods to intensively grazed pasture. You mention that alfalfa is good nesting cover for pheasants and it is. Alfalfa is a magnet for nesting hens. However, alfalfa is a death trap because of the frequency and intensity that it is harvested during the nesting season. Other secure nesting cover is needed. Unfortunately for the farmers today in the northern tier, it is a tough world. The small family farms are not making it and the big farming is vacating the northern tier. Just as you said in your post, you are seeing better habitat today (the idle fields, old orchards, etc.) because allot of these small family farms are getting out of the business. That is also why farmers in the northern tier are grasping on to the CREP program, which is growing at a fast rate in Bradford and Tioga Counties. I agree that these northern counties are becoming more conducive to pheasants. And we should continue to investigate the potential that lies within these areas of the northern tier as they may someday soon be capable of supporting a wild pheasant population.
I have been recently getting some correspondence from sportsmen from Bradford County who are interested in starting a Pheasants Forever Chapter in their area. If anyone is interested they may contact me via phone at 570-925-5870 or by email at [email protected].

Thanks,
Shon

Shon Robbins
Regional Wildlife Biologist
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Shon,
Thank you for your response. It is certainly an exciting time for pheasants in Pa. I have always wondered about wild pheasants in the northern counties. I love this part of the state and having wild ringnecks would truely make this God's country. Thanks again.
Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I thought I would bring this post back up because of all the interest I have seen this year while talking to hunters in the field.It is also possible that Bradford County may get some wild birds when that day comes!
 

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I think Bradford County would be a great place for a WPRA due to all the CREP that is there. I think the reason that pheasants never took hold there is because wild birds were never released.
 

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Southern Luzerne.... a large # of acreage has been placed into conservation. Being south of the traditional 'south of route 80' demarcation line it makes sense to start in traditional areas then move north with success.
 

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I always laugh when I hear guys say northern PA is too cold for pheasants... With the correct habitat, northern PA is well within their limitations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
CJBS2003,
I agree,as does our Regional Biologist.The type of soil does play a role, although that is not fully understood.There seems to be no reason why, that with proper habitat ,we shouldn't be able to have wild pheasants in this area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
LCSMITH20,
So far all the WPRA's are in the traditional pheasant areas,I am sure the PGC will continue to look at these areas first!

It's exciting to know that there are other area's of the state that can support WILD PHEASANT!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Sorry,I don't have the inside information!I do think it has been discussed.It certainly has a lot of land in C.R.E.P.!There are a couple other areas that might be in front of it!I am not sure if the Gas Drilling in the area will affect the C.R.E.P..I also would love to see this areA become a WPRA!
 
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