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Pheasant comeback starts with predator control


Dear Woods-N-Water News:

I have been reading some of the articles about the demise of the pheasant population in Michigan and the main gist is that most people feel that it is do to the lack of habitat. While I believe that this is a contributing factor, I think that two things that happened about the same time are also big contributors to this problem.

The first is that when DDT was no longer used the hawk populations have skyrocketed.

The second thing that happened is that the bottom fell out of the fur market, in particular raccoons.

There have been many studies done on the breeding populations of ducks in the prairie pot hole region of Canada and they found that one of the main predators of the duck eggs was raccoons. Their studies showed that raccoons ate up to 80% of the duck eggs. I think that is an easy assumption to make that they are one of the main predators feeding on pheasant eggs.

When they were doing the "put and take pheasant hunting" years ago, we would go out to the areas that they released pheasants and we would find piles of feathers, which what was left after the hawks got done.

There isn't much that can be done for the hawks, but if I wanted to try and increase the pheasant population on my property, I would start a very aggressive trapping program for raccoons. The state estimates that there are over 50 raccoons per square mile in Michigan, so it would take a lot of trapping to try and reduce the population to a reasonable level.

Sincerely

Alan Frisk


January 05, 2011

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