Bird Dog & Retriever News

Dec 2016 / Jan 2017 issue page 12

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sistant crops and fire suppression—eliminating bobwhite habitat, food and causing widespread population crashes. Just between 1966 and 2014, the nationwide population is estimated to have declined by more than 85 percent, and Iowa's population reached an all-time low in 2009. 
As such, 25 states—including Iowa—are now part of the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative, which encourages states to develop more bobwhite habitat and consistently measure its use.
"Bobwhite quail are the primary upland game bird in southeastern states, which don't have pheasants," says wildlife biologist Todd Bogenschutz, "so their long-term decline really brought states together—it's a national demonstration of the importance of good habitat."
Bogenschutz says habitat can be especially rare in Iowa, where most bobwhite-suitable areas are privately owned. 
"You don't see quail north of the third tier of Iowa counties because we're on the northern fringe of bobwhite habitat, so the increases in CRP strips and IHAP (Iowa Habitat and Access Program) sites in southern Iowa are great. We've also had four very mild winters in a row, which I think helps even more," Bogenschutz says.
Thanks to modern habitat management, including the reintroduction of fire, the bobwhite population is finally increasing. Harvest numbers from 2015 surpassed 28,000 birds, a 65 percent increase over 2014, and 2015 summer roadside counts were the highest since 1994.
Bogenschutz noted quail generally like shorter, less dense cover than pheasants, but management for one species is not exclusive of the other. "You can definitely have both birds in the same area," he says. "Both need a food plot and cover." Bogenschutz says pheasants stick to dense cover like cattails, whereas bobwhites like more space between things and even some bare ground, especially for nesting. "Bobwhite chicks are about as big as a bumblebee when they hatch, so even navigating through a mowed lawn can be difficult for them," he says.
Add density—bobwhites live in social coveys and each hen may have upwards of 10 chicks per brood—and it's easy to see why quail appreciate some open air. Bogenschutz says raspberry thickets, dogwood patches and moderately grazed cow pastures are particularly popular with quail, even in winter and even if located at the edges of towns. "The best thing we can do for bobwhite quail is make a lot of good habitat and hope they use it," he says.
The Great Late Pheasant Season
While the opening weekend of pheasant season is a highly-anticipated tradition, it may not provide the best hunting of the year. Hunting can be better later when winter weather arrives and fewer hunters are in the field.
The big groups of hunters are usually gone after the second weekend of the season, leaving only dedicated bird hunters, who have Walk-in Hunting Access tracts and other public lands to themselves. And it's often easier to get permission on private land after opening weekend, especially after the firearm deer season, which ends on Dec. 11 this year.
Colder weather and a little snow on the ground can dramatically improve hunter success because pheasants often congregate in heavy cover in these conditions. The cool air temperature and moisture will also help bird dogs find more birds.
And while it's easier to predict where you'll find late-season pheasants, you can't pull up to a likely-looking weed patch and start slamming doors and hollering at dogs. Late-season birds didn't survive a month of hunting season by being stupid, and success requires some strategy and stealth. In fact, a single hunter quietly following a close-working dog in heavy cover may have the best chance of surprising birds for close flushes. A small group of hunters will increase their odds of success if they park some distance away from the heaviest cover and approach quietly. Strategically-placed blockers will also add birds to the bag on late season hunts.
Hunting birds on a crisp morning in fresh snow is every pheasant hunter's dream. New snow provides great tracking conditions, providing sign of not only where birds are located, but also of where other hunters have already been.
Don't give up after the opening weekend this year. Watch the weather and make plans to hunt after the first winter storm passes through. Revisit the heavy weed patches that made you sweat on opening day and you'll likely find your best hunting of the year.
Plan Your Kansas Pheasant And Quail Hunt Now
Hunting prospects for the 2016-2017 upland bird seasons are better than they've been in years. After years of severe drought, precipitation over the last two years has restored habitat conditions and, in many areas, provided ideal nesting and brood-rearing conditions for pheasants and quail. Bird hunters ready to plan a hunting trip this fall should look no further than, where they'll find the official "2016 Up
J & L BOYKIN SPANIELS: For information on upcoming litters, stud service, training or just want to talk about the "little brown dogs" just call Jan or Larry Hinchman, Hammond, WI 715-796-5251
CROIXDALE BRITTANYS: Breeding Fld. Ch. Kay-Cee Bandit bloodlines Since 1973. Contact Jim Long, 208 W. Ash St, Roberts, WI 54023 715-749-3158






Outback Gun Dogs: Kirby Rust 785-476-2488 Kensington, KS
Saracen Cockers: Field Bred English Cockers. Due Nov. 9, 2016. Sire: NFC FC Warrener's Chuck-Will's-Widow MH. Dam: Columbia's Abby of Saracen (sire LC Hammer Spitfire SH, dam Ch Columbia's Macey MH). Confident, outgoing puppies, family companions. Excellent field trial/hunting background. Contact: Robert Deihl, Menomonee Falls, WI 262-255-3639

Vom Cranberry Creek Drahthaars: Mike and Wendy Hack, Nekoosa, WI 715-570-1013
BUCKEYE KENNELS: Professional trainer and breeding since 1955. See our dogs and our training products on our website. Dick Geswein, Waterloo OH 740-643-0148
Factoryville, PA 717-378-3357
English Springer Spaniel
Flush 'em High Kennel: See our display adv on page 2. Jim O'Shea, Glendive, MT 717-673-0664
Outback Gun Dogs: Kirby Rust 785-476-2488 Kensington, KS
Vanhorn Kennels: Our goal is to provide high-quality breed lines and excellently trained hunting dogs. Lester & Brenda VanHorn, Crosby, MN 218-546-7018
Can-Am Kennels: Alison's German Wirehaired Pointers Versatile Dogs with Outstanding Natural Abilities Sliver, Alice, and Alison Harycki Thorp, Wisconsin 715-669-3001


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Copyrights Bird Dog & Retriever News December 2016
Do not reproduce or retransmit in any form, and we surf the web, we'll find you.
Maintained by Dennis Guldan e-mail
Bird Dog & Retriever News, PO Box 120089, New Brighton, MN 55112,
Phone 612-868-9169 Adv deadline 1st of the month prior to the issue.