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Raising the Pheasant/Quail Population...

Old 01-17-2007, 08:47 AM
  #1  
Fork Horn
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Default Raising the Pheasant/Quail Population...

Hello guys I have been pheasant hunting for the past 10 years ( I am now 20years old). My family farms about 6000 acres that I hunt every weekend during the Illinois Upland season. We have introduced some good cover for the birds; clover, cattails in the creek, tall grass, lots of fence rows. I am wanting to try and give more help to the pheasant population and maybe try to establish some sort of quail population because it is nonexistant. I am thinking about maybe putting in some food plots and raising a couple hundred pheasants and quail this summer. What I am asking is what do you think I should plant as a food plot. I have been leaning towards sorhgum because I think it would be a great winter cover but I am not for sure because I have not had experience with it. Also how much will raising and releasing those birds help the population. I know that I will probably won't make it explode but if I do this for 5-10 years could it do a lot for my area? Also will I need to plant some bushes and stuff for the quail? Can they survive in the tall grass, fence rows, and food plots? Thank you.
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Old 01-17-2007, 02:55 PM
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Default RE: Raising the Pheasant/Quail Population...

You will need to do some serious predator control. If you have a freind or someone that is a good trapper, you need to got them in there ASAP.

The same goes for predator hunters, you need to get someone that knows their stuff to get a jump start on getting foxes, coyotes, raccoons, skunks out of there.

Do this now not after you release birds.

My father and I use to raise pheasants many years ago. We started with a couple incubators and eggs. The following year, we had more eggs than we knew what to do with. ( gave many away) We would raise and release lots of pheasants. It always seemed like the didn't make it. You'd see them awhile then they would be gone. I think predators took a heavy toll.

We only had about 8 hens and 2 roosters. We kept the roosters seperated with 4 hens each.

Don't keep roosters in the same pen during the spring mating season. They will fight and kill each other. They are OK together in fall and winter though.

When you build a pen, make it rather high to get them to roost off of the ground. Throw some large tree limbs for them to roost on. most of the time the roost on the ground anyway.
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Old 01-17-2007, 03:44 PM
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Default RE: Raising the Pheasant/Quail Population...

Predator control is the first place to start. Then you have your cover....which it sounds like is pretty good. You might want some plum thickets. Sorhgum is a good choice for upland food plots and the thing to think about is upland birds love edge habitat. This constitute where habitats meet such as timber edges,field edges,fence rows,tall grasses, ect. Any time you have 3 or more of the habitats that meet at a certain area you will find more birds concentrated there because they have everything they need in one location. Also you might think about disking small rows in your food plots and tall grasses. This will allow some broad leaf plants or "weeds" to grow and creates excellent brood rearing cover. Raising and releasing birds is not a bad idea but before you do so i would make sure the habitat is best suited for them. You've got a good start though
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Old 01-17-2007, 04:28 PM
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Default RE: Raising the Pheasant/Quail Population...

Well as far as your habitat is concerned for quail, you need to plant some good brushy cover. Where it looks thick on the outside but underneath it is open for the birds to run around. You can make some brush piles, NOT THICK RABBIT brush piles but loose piles so the birds can manuever in them. like KSbowmansaid plum thickets are very good to. And the birds that you raise wont survive in the wild. They never have never will. Just my two cents.
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Old 01-17-2007, 05:16 PM
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Default RE: Raising the Pheasant/Quail Population...

You may want to check your state's game laws before raising and releasing birds. Here, it is not legal without a game farm license which is regulated. There is a potential for inadvertantly introducing disease or bad genetics into the native population.
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Old 01-17-2007, 05:19 PM
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Default RE: Raising the Pheasant/Quail Population...

Of course the pen-raised birds can survive in the wild, they were introduced as captive birds a very long time ago...they are not native to North America. They do have a much lower survival rate than wild birds, but they are not completely doomed upon release. The first thing you should do is have your habitat evaluated and determine what is lacking on your property. For most gallinaceous birds, nesting and brooding cover is the limiting factor as far as sheer numbers go. Something that adds food and cover like the sorghum you are talking about planting will be a good area for hunting once the season rolls around. Strips of switchgrass next to your sorghum plots would provide some excellent winter cover for your pheasants.

...well, I had something come up, I'll be getting more to you about this later
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Old 01-17-2007, 06:47 PM
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Default RE: Raising the Pheasant/Quail Population...

It would probably be better to try to improve the habitat and let the pheasant poulation that is in place increase than raising captive birds for release. If they are "dumb" birdsand they mate with your "native" population you may lose all self sustaining birds. It happened in Ontario and we're only now reintroducing "naturalized" birds that can fend for themselves and survive.

Dan O.
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Old 01-17-2007, 06:50 PM
  #8  
Fork Horn
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Default RE: Raising the Pheasant/Quail Population...

ORIGINAL: Wingbone

You may want to check your state's game laws before raising and releasing birds. Here, it is not legal without a game farm license which is regulated. There is a potential for inadvertantly introducing disease or bad genetics into the native population.
yep i have that taken care of
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Old 01-17-2007, 09:24 PM
  #9  
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Default RE: Raising the Pheasant/Quail Population...

Releasingquail isn't very practical. Within 3 weeks of release, survival rates of released quail will be 0 or almost zero. Pen raised birds are heavier and slower. Even the wild ones suffer about an 80% mortality rate each year.

Predator control also doesn't do a lot for quail. You may be able to remove predators now, but the presence of quail will cause other predators you cannot remove to move in on them, like hawks and other raptors.

Your best option is to provide enough cover the quail can escape predators. If you can get plum thickets, lotebush, skunkbush, or some other kind of bushy shrub growing about as far apart as you can throw a softball, you can at least give the birds a fighting chance.

Quail also prefer to nest in clumps of bunchgrass, like little bluestem and switchgrass. Predators know this and will check clumps for nests. If you've just got a good clump here or there, the predators will find all the nests. Increase the number of clumps per acre, and you will decrease nest failure.

Food plots and supplemental feeding for quail is no substitute for good land management. Food plots and supplemental feeding concentrate the quail, and the predators will focus on these areas and catch most or all of the quail.

If you ever get the chance, read Fred Guthery's book, Beef, Brush, and Bobwhites.
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Old 01-18-2007, 08:34 AM
  #10  
Fork Horn
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Default RE: Raising the Pheasant/Quail Population...

I wouldn't be releasing adult birds because I do realize that those birds will not be able to adapt very well. I am prolly going to the approach of 5 week old birds. I might try it this summer, i might not. Just wondering what you guys think.
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