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Pheasant Hunting

Discussion in 'Ohio Small Game Hunting' started by Buster24, Dec 30, 2017.

  1. Just joined recently and am curious as to whether any of you have hunted pheasants at Delaware or Killdeer Plains. What what be my chances of jumping a ring neck or two at this time of the year. I have hunted S Dakota and Iowa and realize that these two places will not be like that. just have an itch. Any info will be much appreciated. Thanks.
  2. Deleware is big and if you don’t have a dog it’s gonna be rough. I hunted it alone once and didn’t flush a thing after hours of beating brush. Never hunted killdeer before

  3. Tough this time of year. Harder without dogs. I believe some people are still getting some birds out of the thick stuff at Delaware.
  4. Thanks guys for the info.....hunted both sites this past week with snow on the ground...walked app.13-14 miles both days, checking snow for tracks and hoping to jump a bird or two or even a rabbit. Nothing....not even a sign....not even a rabbit. Ohio is quickly becoming a graveyard of hunting. I feel the ODNR is making enough money off of deer hunters that they don't give a crap about us small game enthusiasts. I mean...if they want to get serious about increasing the pheasant population why not set a goal of releasing 100,000 pheasants a year for 10 years. Also, put a bounty on fox, coyotes, and any other varmints. Try obtaining CRP ground...just do something positive and see if it works. I go to Iowa and they have no more cover than we do....although they are losing CRP ground and before long if they don't do something they will be in the same shape as Ohio.....South Dakota is a different story...great hunting there. Well, I do not plan on buying another resident license in Ohio...taking my money spent in Ohio and going to Iowa or South Dakota next year. At least I will have something to show for the hours spent in the doesn't have to be a lot of game, just a pheasant or two that my son and his daughter can shoot to give them an idea of how much fun, relaxation, and bonding can occur while hunting pheasants!!!!!!
  5. That all sounds good on paper but not realistic. Dismal survival rates for planted birds on top of generally poor upland cover in our great state. And the final nail in the coffin, we have the 5th highest number of hunters in the country.
    Blackcat 86 likes this.
  6. By not buying a license in Ohio all you’re doing is taking money out of the funds for conservation and game management. I get why you’re frustrated and I am too, but look into joining pheasants forever and starting a chapter to help with habitat improvement. Pheasant numbers are dismally low in Ohio and I doubt they’ll put the funding into trying a re introduction program, but if more and more people show interest maybe they could. Going out of state and not putting any money or interest into it will be a sure way to never see them wild again though.
    Blackcat 86 likes this.
  7. yes, I know that, but odnr doesn't really care....making easy money off of deer hunters....also read somewhere that back in the 60's 30% of the population bought hunting licenses compared to 4-5% now....I am just a bit disappointed when I see my grandchildren wanting to partake in hunting, but small game is gone. I am serious to those out there about Iowa and South Dakota...I have literally jumped flocks of 40-50 pheasants at one South Dakota when the birds come out to feed before roosting it looks like a bunch of chickens back on the farm!!!!
  8. Most of us feel your pain. Deer hunting is something I truly love and enjoy but I’m not naive, I know that commercialized deer hunting has destroyed small game hunting in Ohio. Growing up hunting in the 2000’s you could still occasionally find places that allowed squirrel, rabbit hunting. Now if you are lucky enough to find a place to hunt deer the other hunters won’t allow small game hunting even if the landowner does. DNR promotes and makes Big $$$ from deer hunting. They don’t sell permits for squirrel, pheasants or rabbits. When hunter recruiting keeps dropping they can blame whatever they want but there is a big difference in how many of us were introduced to hunting and the nowadays idea of expecting to shoot a big buck on your first ever hunting trip as a toddler is not good for the future of hunting as a whole.
    catchdog, tracker 6 and Matt Wolfgang like this.
  9. Iowa has much more in terms of necessities for pheasants than Ohio, including set-asides and more....just the way it is.
    While Iowa lost set-aside sign-ups in recent years, I believe they have regained a bit of ground...they may even be in the top 3 or 4 country wide now....not sure.
    Regardless, there is near zero comparisons between the two states re pheasants...even less so for SD.....really, no comparison.
    Without understanding the differences and the challenges unique to areas, comparisons are impossible and so, solutions are not transferable....waste o’ time.
    *edit...there is absolutely no reason to believe that Iowa will ever turn into Ohio, as regards pheasants. Bad information is too easily started and...repeated as truth.

    Releasing 100K pheasants in Ohio would be a mistake.
    It would be more of a mistake in believing that any such release would increase pheasant populations beyond the short term/very limited area or in any appreciable degree in Ohio.
    PA released 200K pheasants during one recent period and, has buckets more cover....scant improvement in pheasant populations resulted, other than possibly in some limited areas in the Susq. drainage......much more is involved than a simple dumping of any species....or PF-type organizations.
    Be nice if more folks realized those problems.... with dumping elk, for example.
    Increased pheasant releases would take commitment and work and $$$s.....not just trucks with cages packed with birds. That commitment is not present...DNR or hunters or non-hunters.

    That is not to say that any or all state release pheasant programs are bad or serve no purpose by delivering no value.
    The programs do provide, as one benefit, an opportunity to maintain or develop an interest in pursuing hunting in other than with the presently popular glamour little a concern as that is these days. Stepping stones should not be neglected or reckoned as too expensive on their face alone.
    The release programs should be looked at other than as being saviors wasted.
    OH has no more future as a pheasant state than WY.....both release programs have high hurdles.
    All...should be looked at fairly and w/o agenda and/or w/o poor information.

    Granted the ODNR has written off some species and with others, they see no urgency or little is an old story and one not unique to Ohio.
    However, so have written the “caring” Ohio hunters, in the largest and saddest part.
    Kicking only the ODNR....with deer or pheasants or whatever, is just more of the some old boring message board attitude, one backed by little more than trite comments that sound good on the surface or enable blame to be focused too narrowly and waaay off base.

    edit* Birdhunters, with dogs, travel more for the dogs than for the birds, as difficult as that may be to understand.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
    Bryan six and Badcreep like this.
  10. Habitat loss has played a large part in the downfall of rabbit and pheasant. When I talk to old guys they all say the rabbit and pheasant died off with the removal of fence rows. Take a drive through the country in NorthWest Ohio farming areas, the only place you will find thickets is along rivers and creek banks. The fencerows are gone.
    Bryan six likes this.
  11. What them guys said above: Habitat and Pittman-Robertson funds. Read up on both to see how they affect our avocation.

    Back in the late '50s and throughout the '60s, I could find upland game along railroad tracks and on the edges of parks, even on a college the city!. Birds and bunnies were literally everywhere. I went away for 20 years and came back to small game nirvana. I bought a little piece of paradise, where the birds and the bunnies could play, joined PF, enrolled in the CRP and watched our Springer pups chase pheasant chicks in our front yard. I once experienced a 20+ flush by our crick! I wish I could say what the + was, but I lost count.

    Then something happened. Over the past decade or more I have witnessed the absolute demise of upland habitat in our township. Grain prices went through the roof, fence rows disappeared, clean farming practices replaced stubble fields, houses (including ours) sprung up everywhere, small farmers died off and their widows sold out to the biggies. Now, I ain't faulting anyone on making money off their land, and the landowners have gotta do what they gotta do to make a buck. And them machines ain't making money when they have to make a turn to avoid a ditch or reach the end of a field with a multiflora rose and scrub tree fencerow blocking the way to the next field. And as I'm sure you may know, that is some of the best habitat in which small game can flourish in NW Ohio.

    CRP has been the biggest boon for upland game since the mid-'80s. Ohio once (1993) had nearly 366,000 acres (Almost 572 square miles!) enrolled in the program. Much more knowledgeable people have written all about it's successes and its failures. Search and you will find.

    I agree with the frustrations of small gamers in Ohio. But running away from the problem ain't gonna fix the problem. There's an ill wind a-blowing in Ohio for hunters. Aside from the coup in the DOW, I see our upland habitats fractured, fluid, and administered by bureaucrats more interested in crossing T's and dotting I's than upland hunting success. I understand that the CRP ain't just about hunting. In fact our PF chapter has been told just that by our local bureaucrats. Well, egg on my face! I wish it much success in cleaning up our air and water and soil and I believe it has a positive impact on all that.

    OK, I see I'm out of time. Stick around and help fix the problem less it follow you to wherever you should travel. Thanks for reading and be sure to tip your waitress.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
    Bryan six and Badcreep like this.
  12. Deehntr56

    Deehntr56 Staff Member Mod

    South Dakota would be the spot to have some good pheasant hunting still even after A bad winter, a drought – and the biggest killer of all, habitat loss – has South Dakota pheasant numbers down(2017 brood survey was down 45% as well). But the state still has more birds than anywhere else.

    A good week there is not a bad deal-here is the 2017 forecast and breakdown, and even a map for each state and what to expect.,-More.aspx

    Now-Back to my nap that my dog just woke me up from barking at several deer in the yard.....eating acorns.....:whistle:
  13. I live in what used to be pheasant capital of ohio. My grandfather told me stories of van loads of hunters (much like Amish to public land deer grounds) coming from all over to hunt. The land scape filled with fence rows unplowed fields, brushy harder to farm areas in those days. Now it's a wasteland. Movie futuristic farming with wind mills mega dairys enormous machinery I believe the largest heads made for taking beans the 1st large scale solar farm soon coming I've heard of. But amongst these odds rabbits live, pheasants dont. I think hawks owls and coyotes are sometimes as bad as farmers they r all thriving. Eagles r coming back in a big way here as well. Loose loose for upland with predators man and beast.....
    Buck Buster likes this.
  14. What, exactly, were you expecting? You were chasing pen released birds on a very popular piece of ground at the twilight of the season. Was this your first time to these areas? Did you have a dog? This late in the season "a pheasant or two" most likely takes 2x the effort and a good dog (or in my case, 4x the effort and a marginal dog). I don't want to sound like a jerk but it's important to be realistic.

    non-squirrel small game is hurting. CRP will never hurt but Ohio is beyond the point where habitat alone would make a real difference without serious planning. Quitting is probably the worst thing one can do if they want change.
    Bryan six likes this.
  15. Man...I guess I will have to lower my expectations if I want to hunt small game in Ohio...I described the hours I spent in the field....I did have a very good dog plus 2 more individuals....never even saw a bird, no, I will continue hunting the bush and giving our odnr...a gov't run entity money so they can release 1400 pheasants a year at Killdeer Plains.....sounds like a viable solution to maybe...just maybe seeing a rooster pheasant.....also, while I am here I can say that South Dakota is also releasing birds to the current pheasant population..

    I can agree that Ohio is a done state as far as pheasants...the good ol days are I stated before...I feel sorry for my children and grandchildren for never getting the opportunity to hunt this great bird close to home!!!!
  16. SDakota is releasing birds on public land? Or just private preserves?
  17. Beat me to it....other than the odd test project or the somewhat questionable replacement requirement of a certain %+ of pheasants matching harvest from private land.....does SD actually have a state pheasant release program like Ohio...or WY or PA or....wherever?
    That would be surprising given the extreme differences present.
    I wager the answer is no...comparably.

    Quickly looking...the above was as of nearly three years ago.
    Could the state recently have released some pheasants?...doubt it but.....the drought and CRP decline and much more has begun to dramatically effect the big business and image of pheasant in SD.
    As with Ohio’s DNR, many “hunters” have questions re the SD DNR and their advertisments and manipulation of the public’s perception of bird numbers....same for the requirement of private pheasant release requirements.

    As implied before tho....there is a profound difference between less and none...especially as regards wild or semi-wild pheasants.
    SD has certainly not suffered like unlucky portions ND or MT last season.....those places often saw true devastation and many places would not allow vehicles off the roads and into the fields for fear of fire....would there even be pheasants present...i.e....left.
    So, SD likely saw a bit more pressure from birdhunters moving south.....drought and hunter additivity and more all have their effect upon stressed bird populations.

    Good luck to any of the birds and all the states they call home in the coming months....recovery from the broken drought was bad enough but this last season went farther in far too many ways and, areas.

    *edit T. Runia, SD upland game biologist:
    “For that reason, South Dakota—like most states with abundant wild pheasants—doesn’t stock birds, even in poor years. Runia states, “We’re certainly going to concentrate on efforts to increase habitat, which is proven to produce pheasants.”
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
  19. I read on a South Dakota forum that the SD division of wildlife was releasing pheasants....but who knows...I believe about 5% of what I hear anymore....but, it would not surprise me since a huge part of their economy relates to pheasant hunting!!!

    I will see if I can find the post or article because I found it kind of iffy when the person stated that SDNR was keeping it very hush hush as they did not want it out there to influence non resident hunters who come to SD every year to hunt wild pheasants!!!
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
  20. As before, the idea on any major scale would be unusual but not out of the question given the perfect storm of issues the last couple of years.
    Limited stabs may have found an appeal in trying to pretend or quickly satisfy hunters and visiting hunters.
    It will be a tough go off the pheasant business areas.....the National Grassland was thought especially hard hit re sharptails and that place may well be all on it’s own.

    Hunting forums tho are poor places to find info on such things.
    Again, good luck where needed....pheasant releases, if used, will be more a band-aid than an effective treatment when an entire body is ill.
    Badcreep likes this.