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I am counting down the days until Sunday. Curious what people are seeing for pheasants around the state. Not looking for location of any kind, just peoples opinions on numbers.
I haven't been able to scout nearly as much this year, and when I did some scouting a few weekends ago it seemed like numbers were down a bit. However, I then drove by a large ag field about a 1/8 mile from one of my spots, this field has been a sugar beet field for as long as I can remember but this year it was all corn. Wouldn't you know it right as I drove by there was a group of 4 roosters on the edge of the road, and another lone rooster a few hundred yards down. If numbers stayed the same form last year it will be a good season.
 

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I am working on a site from daybreak till dark six days per week that covers 120 mi.² including the formerly famous pheasant centric State game area, and I very seldom see any pheasants.
With 12+ hours of daily windshield time involved, in a rural area that I’ve been looking at pheasants in since 1962, I’d have to say that there just aren’t that many anymore.
Some will say that they are hidden in the corn, but I would then point out that pheasant broods gravel twice a day, and I’m out here on these roads all day every day, and I’m not seeing them.
Even with the recent torrential rains and limited flooding, I made it a point to check out some weedy high ground areas and only found two broods.
I’ve been here since Sept 1.
 

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Numbers are up a tic for me at three locations then one other tiny location had three different broods in which I only discovered one brood last year.I haven't been back in quite some time now that grouse and woodcock season is here.
 

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Just anecdotal driving the dirt roads in monroe, wayne , and washtenaw I've seen a grand total of 6 roosters in the last 3 months. 3 were probably escapees from sexy pheasant preserve.

This pheasant resurgence hype isn't sucking me in. Kinda like following the lions.
 

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Number certainly have dropped since the early 70's. I used to be able to find birds anywhere, now they are not there.

When I mean anywhere I am saying just about any ag field with cover on the edges.

Sure there were hot spot SE Mich, NW Ohio, Iowa I would jump flocks not just groups but lots. Nothing like that now.

Will there be a recover ?? I doubt it. Not till farming changes.

If you asking about recent change...I would say slightly down.

If you want to see bird...come to inner Detroit where there is lots of wild areas where houses were torn down. You will see pheasants :) and hear them too. Nothing like the cackle of a cockbird.
 

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I wasn't alive during the heyday of pheasants in MI. I accept that they are not always easy to come by in this state, and that probably is not changing any time soon. But man do I get tired of the negativity surrounding it. Talk like that discourages the few young hunters that might be interested in taking a walk behind their dog.
My dog had 75+ flushes last season, sure some of those were the same birds on different weekends, but they are out there if you are willing to work hard and accept that some days might turn out to be way more walk than hunt.
 

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I wasn't alive during the heyday of pheasants in MI. I accept that they are not always easy to come by in this state, and that probably is not changing any time soon. But man do I get tired of the negativity surrounding it. Talk like that discourages the few young hunters that might be interested in taking a walk behind their dog.
My dog had 75+ flushes last season, sure some of those were the same birds on different weekends, but they are out there if you are willing to work hard and accept that some days might turn out to be way more walk than hunt.
If you had 75+ flushes in a season, I'd say that's pretty damn good. I never hunted the heydays either, so success is relative - and a 75 flush season in Michigan is successful, IMO.
 

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I wasn't alive during the heyday of pheasants in MI. I accept that they are not always easy to come by in this state, and that probably is not changing any time soon. But man do I get tired of the negativity surrounding it. Talk like that discourages the few young hunters that might be interested in taking a walk behind their dog.
My dog had 75+ flushes last season, sure some of those were the same birds on different weekends, but they are out there if you are willing to work hard and accept that some days might turn out to be way more walk than hunt.
I feel like that’s part of the issue is the guys who grew up when pheasant hunting was in its glory. Got so used to it being like shooting fish in a barrel that now that they actually have to “hunt” they don’t like it. Just like that put and take program they’re starting. I would have rather seen that money go into habitat restoration. Pheasants forever has proved time and again. If you establish the habitat you will establish birds. I’ve had the privilege of hunting a few states out west. And that’s the difference between here and those states. HABITAT is key.
 

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I wasn't alive during the heyday of pheasants in MI. I accept that they are not always easy to come by in this state, and that probably is not changing any time soon. But man do I get tired of the negativity surrounding it. Talk like that discourages the few young hunters that might be interested in taking a walk behind their dog.
My dog had 75+ flushes last season, sure some of those were the same birds on different weekends, but they are out there if you are willing to work hard and accept that some days might turn out to be way more walk than hunt.
Just curious how many days did it take to achieve the 75 plus flushes? I grew up in the heyday. It wasn't like shooting fish in a barrel. We just expected a opportunity to see some birds. I looked forward to October 20 just as much as November 15. That excitement went away around the mid 70's. Changed over to grouse. Sure there are pockets of birds but with today's habitat unlikely to change you and the few that choose to participate should have the fields to yourselves. I wish you much success.
 

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What I found strange this early year was the age hatches were pretty wide spread. I think there could have been a double hatches this year. No, it was not re nesting due to destruction. No hens were with the 8 week old chicks. The dog knows it's coming and can not wait till Sunday, worst than a kid at Xmas. Shot straight and be safe!
 
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So which hey day are we referring to. My dad grew up hunting in the 60s. People shot them with.22s sitting on fence posts and took opening day off from school to hunt. I started hunting in the 80-90s. Things I thought were good. I could hunt and get a limit with work. And saw lots of birds.
The 60s aren’t achievable but the 80s are. IMO
 

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My private land that I have developed for wildlife. I have always had assess to pretty good Pheasant hunting since the 70's. I remember up at Peck shooting those HUMONGOUS roosters that more died from lead poisoning than dropping out of the sky. They were another breed the DNR released prior to the Schuwan release. I still have some of those genes running around, no neck ring and LOVE the river valley.
 
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Discussion Starter #16
Just curious how many days did it take to achieve the 75 plus flushes? I grew up in the heyday. It wasn't like shooting fish in a barrel. We just expected a opportunity to see some birds. I looked forward to October 20 just as much as November 15. That excitement went away around the mid 70's. Changed over to grouse. Sure there are pockets of birds but with today's habitat unlikely to change you and the few that choose to participate should have the fields to yourselves. I wish you much success.
I went back and checked my logs, 75 was a slight exaggeration (My bad). I wrote down a total of 68 flushes in 14 days afield for last season. Out of those 68 flushes I harvested 10 roosters. I hunt mostly public, but have access to 3 pieces of private and I most certainly had better flush rates there. I missed the opener last year, but hunted a few days later and got my public land limit in 90 minutes. I finished the season with 5 off public, 5 off private. Worked wayyyyy harder for the public birds. My point is that they are out there, and I think we could do even better with minor habitat improvements. What Minnesota has been able to accomplish these last few years is impressive and could provide a good template for Michigan.
 

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I grew up hunting pheasants in milan township sw of town. In the heyday meaning late 50s thru the 60s between dad, gramps, brother and the 2 neighbor boys we would flush 50 birds plus out of the hundred acre cornfield we started in at 10 am. Late afternoon thru the evening we hit the wheat stubble fields with gramps and dads English setters. The briar and grapevine thickets along the wood edge held a covey or two of quail and some woodsy. To say we were spoiled would be an understatement.
 

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I thought when they started to let the road ditches go (uncut) until after nesting would have helped. Of course now we learn that the greatest aid for broods in the flowers ( Clover) which brings the bugs for the chicks.
 

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So which hey day are we referring to. My dad grew up hunting in the 60s. People shot them with.22s sitting on fence posts and took opening day off from school to hunt. I started hunting in the 80-90s. Things I thought were good. I could hunt and get a limit with work. And saw lots of birds.
The 60s aren’t achievable but the 80s are. IMO
Those were my heyday years as well.i have been searching for some estimated harvest records that I had for Michigan back then.If memory serves me well it showed a low in the late 70's where it was less than 70,000 birds and then a steady climb from that to a 265000 bird harvest around the early 90"s.Either a local magazine,A pheasants forever,Outdoor life,Or Field and Stream. I tried to search my collection but it's too much to go through.I remember some talk from that era(the 80's) Which was that land taxes went through the roof including are farm in Clarkston at that time and that was the end of the family farm era for many.Farms were lost and went idle and the crp program was a way of collecting income during those tough times during the recession.
I remember many of our spots were farms next to farms in which we put many,birds up in,corrals,alongside houses,barns,equipment and such.

My grandfather and his sister were considering selling the family farm due to taxes even though they were well off.One was Federal judge, and the other was Director of personnel,regional plant manager,and Chief negotiator at GM.I was told it was ridiculously expensive by my father.Another friend has his family's 40 acres in davisburg that they almost lost several times due to the taxes being delinquent.The debt was huge and his brother and sister bailed and signed of and now he owns it.I believe he paid nearly 50,000 in back taxes while struggling with more taxes becoming due through the years.He stated that with the two houses and two outbuildings that the taxes are half of what it was back then 30 years ago.This all contributed to the population spike back then.
 

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I thought when they started to let the road ditches go (uncut) until after nesting would have helped. Of course now we learn that the greatest aid for broods in the flowers ( Clover) which brings the bugs for the chicks.
There is still lotta places that will spray rd ditches tho, even if they let those areas grow without cutting until the hatches are done there's a lotta bugs that get killed.

My piece of CREP, although small maybe 15 acres, is sometimes unwalkable in the early summer and throughout the summer. Grasshoppers and crickets galore as well as a lot other of other bugs. Good year around covers of larger tracts, without any pesticides, and good year around food sources make good habitat.

Sunday can't come soon enough

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