From 2014 MN DNR Roadside Survey
Southwest Minnesota bird numbers jumped 22% on a stable back half of summer and a late hatch may once again provide surprisingly good hunting and underrepresented chicks in the 2014 roadside count. For the entire Roadside Survey, click here; or visit the DNR's pheasant hunting page.
The average number of pheasants observed (28.7 birds/100 mi) increased 6% from 2013 but remained 58% below the 10-year average, 71% below the long-term average, and 89% below the benchmark years of 1955-64. The pheasant population has steadily declined since the mid-2000s in conjunction with the loss of CRP acres, and pheasant indices over the past 4 years are comparable to the indices calculated in the mid-1980s . Total pheasants observed per 100 mi ranged from 10.4 in the Southeast region to 62.1 in the Southwest. The pheasant roadside index increased in the three southern regions (Southwest, 22%; South Central, 17%, and Southeast, 40%), but decreased slightly in the West Central (-5%) and Central regions (-1%). The most substantial decrease occurred in the East Central region (-33%).
The range-wide hen index (4.1 hens/100 mi) increased 18% from 2013 but was 61% below the 10-year average. The hen index varied from 1.0 hens/100 mi in the Southeast to 6.7 hens/100 mi in the Southwest region. The hen index increased in all regions (range: 14-50% increase) except the East Central region (-28%). The range-wide cock index (4.6 cocks/100 mi) decreased 11% from 2013 and was 44% below the 10-year average. The cock index increased in the West Central (13%) and Southwest (6%) regions but decreased 8-42% in the other regions of the pheasant-range. The 2014 hen:cock ratio was 0.99, which was greater than 2013 (0.68) but still below average (1.42 ± 0.36) for the CRP years (1987-2013).
Across their range, the average number of pheasant broods observed (4.4 broods/100 mi) increased 28% from last year but remained 58% below the 10-year average and 66% below the long-term average. Regional brood indices ranged from 1.4 broods/100 mi in the Southeast to 9.1 broods/100 mi in the Southwest. Only the East Central region showed a decrease (-37%) in the brood index compared to 2013. Average brood size in 2014 (4.6 ± 0.2 [SE] chicks/brood) decreased 15% compared to 2013 (5.4 ± 0.3 [SE] chicks/brood) but was comparable to the 10-year average (4.7 ± 0.1 [SE] chicks/brood). The 2014 brood size index was 16% below the long-term average (5.5 ± 0.1 [SE] chicks/brood).
The median hatch date for pheasants was approximately 16 June 2014 (n = 177 broods), 5 days later than the 10-year average. The distribution of estimated hatch dates for observed broods was relatively unimodal and normally distributed, which suggests that the late spring and heavy rains in June may not have been disruptive to nest incubation across the entire pheasant range. In fact, our survey data indicate that 22% of broods were estimated to have hatched in the 2-week time period after the heaviest of the June rainfall events. Estimated median age of observed broods was 8 weeks (range: 1-14 weeks), but successful late-season nests tend to be underrepresented in roadside data because very young chicks are hard to detect during surveys.
Last Updated ( Monday, 08 September 2014 10:27 )
Lyon County Pheasants Forever (LCPF) is asking area hunters and conservationists to keep calm, support habitat and show their true colors this fall with the chapter’s “Keep Calm and Yell Rooster” apparel fundraiser, supported by Borch’s Sporting Goods of Marshall.
Capitalizing on the popular “Keep Calm” internet meme, the chapter has put its own spin on the now-legendary play on 1940s English WWII propaganda to appeal to sportsmen with a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor. With a rooster rising over the popular parody, the shirt will catch the attention of anyone familiar with the shock and awe that can occur while hunting pheasants in the Lyon County area.
“What’s the most exciting moment in the field each fall? When that big, brightly colored rooster gets up flapping and crowing right in your face,” said LCPF President Nick Simonson, “it’s enough to rattle any hunter; but this year’s shirt helps LCPF raise funds for its habitat mission and help hunters stay cool in the moment, reminding them of exactly what they need to do, ” he concluded with a laugh.
In blaze orange, the shirts also double as legal field apparel, providing hunters with safety and visibility when trekking through cattails, brush and grass in the area. Long-sleeved tee-shirts are available for purchase at Borch’s, located at 1309 East College Drive in Marshall, and long- and short-sleeved tees and performance wicking tees, as well as sweatshirts, are available through the Borch’s online ordering system (https://borchs.tuosystems.com/stores/lcpf2014) or by calling (507)532-4880. Long-sleeved tees available at Borch’s store run from size small to XL for just $20 or $21.50 for an XXL. $10 from every shirt purchased at the store or via online order will go to LCPF’s efforts to create the James Meger Memorial WMA to be located in Lyon County as a tribute to the late local wildlife artist.
“We’re proud to partner with Borch’s on this fundraiser; they’ve been a perennial sponsor and constant supporter of all the chapter does in the area for habitat and hunting,” said Simonson.
More information on the LCPF Keep Calm and Yell Rooster fundraiser can be found at on Facebook (www.facebook.com/lyoncountypf) and on Twitter, (@lyoncountypf). Since 1983 LCPF, through fundraisers such as this one has helped preserve, improve and open public access to over 2,500 acres of huntable lands in the Lyon County area.
By Johnny Doublehaul
In keeping with last month’s theme of terrestrial insects, few panfish can spurn an ant struggling in the surface. Of course, the pheasant gives us just the right materials to counteract the surface tension resistance of dry hackle. As the PT fiber body waterlogs, it works against the leggy fibers helping to make the fly look even more edible. Add in a rooster neck ring feather for a wing, and you’ve got all the visibility in the world in this month’s pattern – the PheasAnt!
Start your thread near the middle of the fly, and tie down a set of 7-8 PT fibers back to the bend of the hook (1). Wrap those fibers forward and back until you start running out of length, you may want to hold them in place with a thread wrap each time you come to the front of the thorax area. When you start to run low on length, tie off with a couple of thread wraps, and trim (2).
Next, tie in a dry fly hackle with the curvature facing forward (3). Tightly wrap that hackle forward so that it forms a solid hackling to counteract the weight of the PT fiber body; when you are about 1/3 of the hook shank back from the eye, tie the hackle off and trim the excess (4). At that point, select and all-white neck ring feather and tie it in so it goes over and through the top hackling, forming the wing of the ant, and providing a visible post for far casts (5).
Finally, tie in a set of 5-6 PT fibers to make the thorax of the fly (6). You will want the thorax to be slightly smaller than the abdomen was, hence the use of less fibers for this portion. Advance your thread to just behind the hook eye and as you did with the abdomen, wrap the PT fibers back and forth, forming a small thorax,. Use the thread to hold the material in place at the front of the thorax, if needed. When complete, tie off and trim the PT fibers and whip finish and trim your thread just behind the hook eye.
Your PheasAnt is complete; now find some ‘gills and go get ‘em!
Last Updated ( Friday, 12 September 2014 07:35 )