posted on June 10, 2014 08:47
Tim Ricketts and a few of his fellow pheasant hunters recently started the Great Basin chapter of Pheasants Forever.
The chapter have a specific five year goal of raising funds to preserve habitat suitable for pheasants and to raise awareness for the sport in the local area. Part of this mission will be to acquire 2,000 acres of local land.
Another aspect is that the chapter wish to host a number of summer camps to encourage the next generation to start pheasant hunting and a special Father’s Day trap shooting event.
Tim Ricketts is particularly fond of pheasants. “They are a really majestic looking bird,” Ricketts has been quoted as saying, “to watch one get up and fly away is just awesome.”
The main push of the conservation work is to encourage development of pheasant friendly habitat. Normally this habitat is present on farmland where vegetation can provide cover for pheasants.
According to Nevada Department of Wildlife, the pheasants used to be popular in certain parts of the area. But due to residential development and the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, significant habitat has been depleted and the numbers are dwindling.
The wildlife department stated that in 2012, 379 hunters over a combined 1107 days took only 437 birds. When compared to South Dakota – that is an insignificant number.
Another major problem for pheasant habitat, beside residential development, is the farmers’ choice of crop. Many farmers are now growing more alfalfa than before. This plant isn’t so good for pheasants and reduces the amount of vegetation and water in nearby ditches to where the plant is grown.
Ricketts hopes he and his new Pheasants Forever chapter can help convince farmers to accommodate more bird friendly practices – he has already got one ranch onboard.
If Ricketts can get more farmers to collaborate is another question. As Ricketts admits you can’t force a farmer to plant something on his private land.
And even if they do succeed to bring in more farmers to their pheasant friendly practices, the group have one more problem – the rain.
According to Mike Dobel, the supervising biologist for western Nevada, the region receives very little rain than more pheasant-friendly areas. Without this rain, the vegetation which the birds rely on for food and shelter will not grow.
Do you think the farmers should change what they grow? Will it make a difference?
Let us know in the comments below.