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July 22 10:33 PM
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What can be done to restore our pheasant population?


Dear Woods-N-Water News:

I am writing this response in regards to Tom Huggler's article in Conservation Corner as it relates to pheasants in Michigan, as published in the September issue of your magazine. I agree with most of Tom's article. However, we need an explanation of what can be done to restore pheasant hunting in Michigan.

In the 1800s thousands of pheasants were originally planted in Michigan. That's how they arrived in Michigan. I remember when schools were closed in the Thumb area in the early 1960s for the first day of pheasant hunting. There were more farms during this era.

However, there are millions of acres in Michigan that do set idle today. What also happened during this time is that the DNR recognized predators and placed bounties on species such as raccoons and fox. We did not have coyotes in Michigan. One of the greatest problems with pheasants is the predator population which the DNR ignores. There is very little chance of survival when the fox and coyote eat the birds and the raccoon, skunk, and other predators eat the eggs. I don't care what you do you will never eliminate a species completely. However, you need to control them.

The next area the DNR needs to concentrate on is the planting of pheasants. The majority need to be hens and planted in the spring. The young chicks will all be wild. The DNR spends millions on fish plants with a very small percentage living until maturity. This also needs to be done with pheasants. Pheasants Forever is a great steward in planting habitat. However, they do not plant birds, which is a shame. The DNR, MUCC, Bird Dogs Association, Michigan Trappers and Pheasants Forever need to develop a plan to accomplish this goal. I know this works, as it is done in other areas of the country.

In regard to funding, a small amount could be added to small game licenses as they do successfully in Iowa and South Dakota.

The real deal will be that a lot of people in the above mentioned organizations will have excuses as to why it will not work or will want to spend thousands on studies. With this attitude they will be correct. However, I have seen the results when you control predators on a large scale, create great habitat, and plant birds year after year until they are capable of reproducing in numbers that will again support wonderful pheasant hunting in Michigan.

Sincerely,

Gary C. Hagen

Grand Lake Sportsmen's Club, President

MUCC Director

Presque Isle, MI

Gary C. Hagen
September 25, 2007

REO-Ted S
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