Stocking pheasant and quail......any experiences?


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We have been slowly transitioning old pastures to a variety of NWSG, switchgrass, pollinator mixes, and just letting go the end it will be close to 20 ac in a patchwork type pattern. I would love to try and see if I can get a few birds to live on the place, not necessarily to have a great hunting population or anything but just because I think it would be cool!

Has anyone done any stocking of birds and have any advice? What about sources?

The percentage of birds that survive from your stocking will be very small. Obviously some will survive as pheasants are non native and were originally stocked to start a population. Biggest thing is finding a grower that has minimal contact with their birds and transitions them over to native food or food plots before selling. A bird that is used to not being afraid of anything that resembles a predator and only knows how to eat from a feeder and drink from a waterer doesnt last long in the REAL world.
I know many who have tried - even on very large acreages - and at least with quail, it has been a lesson in futility
Do you have a native population at all? I've read all the stuff that says the same thing these guys have said (they won't survive), but if given better habitat, ground nesting predator control, and supplemental food, your native population might take off. I don't know, but that might be the best use of your resources.
I tried it once. Notice I said once. That’s all it took for me to realize a vast majority of them don’t make it. All you’re doing is creating an all you can eat buffet for every hawk, eagle, coyote and bobcat around.

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One thing that can help with quail introduction is a "soft" release. Where you build a small predator proof enclosure and open the door during the day and allow the quail to come and go as they want. Late afternoon you shut the enclosure and leave a quail entrance (same as used on call back pens). That way the birds have security at night. Idea is they learn to fend for themselves on a gradual basis as opposed to being throw to the wilds all at once!
I would have liked to smuggle a few live birds back with me from SD last fall! As they figured out with turkeys years ago trap and transfer of wild birds is about all that works. I have said for years if I could just get a family of pheasants to find my place I think they would like it, they just have miles of clean fence rows and barren crop fields to go through to get there!
About the best chance of that working would be to trap wild birds and move them. I would check into the legality of that, however, before doing it.

I can also tell you that pheasants will not survive in many areas of the country. People have tried many years to get them going in KY and it just doesn't work.

My place is a quail and rabbit haven. High number of each......
The property where I hunt locally has a quail population of about 30 birds or so. He trained dogs and raised them. They had a "coop" that they could come back to every day and they seemed to do ok. He raised 100's and most have either been hunted or caught by predators. The covey is growing yearly and we tend to shoot 3-5 every year while rabbit hunting. I don't hunt them exclusively, but they are a target of opportunity when they flush at the end of a run while kicking up rabbits.
One in a you're saying I have a chance! haha

This is pretty much the response I was expecting. There used to be a good population of both quail and pheasants across Ohio, but several hard winters about 35 yrs ago pretty much wiped them out. There are some pheasants here and there due to efforts of the ODNR and private landowners, but in general there is not much of any population in the state anymore.

I may look into it more, but deep down I know it is HIGHLY unlikely that I would every get a population to live.
I was invited on a hunt in S. Dakota once where they released thousands of pheasants late summer. The survival rate was high , the birds mingled with local wild birds and it was difficult to tell the difference between the two. Seems the key is how the birds were grown in flight cages and released. There was a robust ag program managed strictly for pheasants which I'm sure helped a lot as well.

I've seen same with quail though admittedly it is easy to tell difference between wild birds and pen raised. Again the difference is the flight cages they are raised in. Nonetheless I wouldn't expect as good pf success with quail. Still love to hear them whistling irrespective of source.

Going from memory but seems I recall something like " The Covey Rise " system for trying to establish raised quail. I can contact a quail biologist buddy if interested in more detail.
I've got property up in mn and was talking to a pheasants forever guy. He told me they release pheasants right before they lay their eggs. I guess the thought is to not get the released pheasants to keep alive but the next generation. Wild hens will adopt orphan chicks and help them survive. He also said for best success to hunt the predators and feed corn during the winter. Without supplemental feeding their mortality is quite a bit higher.

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