Pheasant recon trip...AKA geezer hunt.

Vladimir Steblina

Retired Forester...now fishing instead of working
#1
So I went through the Columbia Basin and over to the Snake for the geezer hunt.

If you liked last years pheasant season, this one will be slightly less enjoyable.

The state is continuing to plant fewer birds each year. I believe it will be totally gone is a few years.

But, the disappointment for this year was the fewer number of wild birds. There might be a sampling bais since the weather was a bit warmer this year than last. Also my hunting times this year tended to be in the middle of the day rather than morning and evening.

But my dog flushed less birds and covered lots of ground without even getting birdy this year. Usually, he trips over birds even under poor scenting conditions.
 

Jim Ficklin

Genuine Montana Fossil
#2
Bad news indeed, Vlad. I didn't even go out - too warm around here & Rattlers are still out.

Funny how some states like the Dakotas & Nebraska have figured-out that Pheasants equate to big $$$$ but the WDFW has not. There are a lot of "Feel Free to Hunt" areas in this state, many of which feature less cover than a grasshopper could hide in and no birds. What a great deal for hunters!
 

Guy Gregory

Active Member
#3
The leg and WDFW have created an industry...the "pheasant preserve" industry, who consume prison-raised pheasants and sell property access and birds to hunters. That industry does now and will continue to oppose any efforts to go back to the wild birds we knew. Of course modern agricultural practices generally preclude wild birds in any significant numbers..there's no real cover near cropland anymore. But, for those of you who wished to reduce pheasant/upland hunting to an exercise of chasing chickens thrown out of a truck for 25 bucks a pop, you win.

I pursue wild birds, and feel fortunate to have obtained one or two at the end of a season. Wild bird hunting these days is reduced largely to long armed hikes with my dog. I guess that'll be good enough for me for the last few years I'll be going.

By the way, look at the limits and bird populations: for waterfowlers, these are the good old days.
 

Alex MacDonald

that's His Lordship, to you.....
#5
My opinion of Fish&Wildlife is about the same as my opinion of congress. F&W talks about "opportunity", but really work to see to it nobody actually has it.
 
#6
Of course modern agricultural practices generally preclude wild birds in any significant numbers..there's no real cover near cropland anymore.
One of the largest issues. My family used to farm sugar beets around Sunnyside and Prosser, and CRP just isn't what it used to be.

My opinion of Fish&Wildlife is about the same as my opinion of congress. F&W talks about "opportunity", but really work to see to it nobody actually has it.
Just like hunter success, I've found that the level of effort I put in directly correlates to my positive perception of the experience, as well as often the success. There are quite a few guys that could be spending some time to improve the current situation, but aren't chipping in. That's how it goes. I don't think there are any one of us or group of us that is going to change what the government wants to do, or modern human usage (farming practices, wineries, horse farms, etc.) but also see a large gap in folks getting involved and participating to be the change they would like to see.

...and never mind that pheasants are like steelhead and salmon, the biggest draw. I'll walk around after huns or quail in tranquil privacy all day if I have a choice.
 

MotoBoat

Active Member
#8
I hunted wild Eastern WA Pheasant with my Dad during the 70's and most all of 80's. Was 1988 when we stopped hunting Easter WA, began hunting SW ND, that was until 2015. Each year, previous to the Upland bird season I would check for crow counts and bag limit. Montana and North Dakota will fluctuate their upland bird possession limit to reflect that seasons bird population. Whenever there was a water drought or bad winter, Pheasant populations suffered, and the possession limit dropped. Seemed like good conservation based on conditions. A possession limit is 12 Rooster Pheasant for each hunter, unless conditions are bad, in this cast I have experienced a possession limit as low as 9 birds per hunter.

Although no longer hunting ND, I still hunt Western WA release sites, hunting only because of my dog. When talking to a WDFW bio about Eastern WA and comparing other states (ND, Montana, SD) conservation practices. I asked why WA state has such a high 15 bird possession limit on Pheasant as compared with other states such as Montana (9), ND (12), and SD (15). Why WDFW does not fluctuate Pheasant possession limit based on wild bird population. His response was "we have not found a significant population increase or decrease based on Rooster Pheasant count". Rooster Pheasants will service (cleaned up verbage) several hens, so Rooster numbers are not significant.

Eastern Montana, ND, and SD have significantly larger numbers of Pheasant than WA, yet there game dept. have a very different view point when it comes to wild bird management.

That conversation took place 10 years ago. Perhaps, like as has been said above. WA state management practices were headed toward and are now a "pen raised" management FIASCO!

SAD!
 

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