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California is a worried state. Over the past three decades there has been a general population decline of pheasants in the state. Recently the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) hosted a pheasant ecology workshop. The event, held on April 30 and May 1, examined what the causes of the recent population decline could have been.

Held with help and in cooperation with Pheasants Forever, numerous groups attended the seminar, including: state and federal scientists, public and private land managers, and representatives from other hunting and conservation groups like Ducks Unlimited and the California Waterfowl Association.

All those in attendance reviewed research that was conducted during the US Geological Survey and heard from numerous national pheasant experts. Data collected demonstrated that there were severe environmental conditions that could be contributing to the declining population.

For instance, agricultural practices, historical wetlands being replaced with forests, climate change and a growing threat from an emerging raven population that hunt pheasants.

“The combination of modern analysis tools and on-the-ground land management techniques helped us chart a map forward, which is especially important during the drought,” said Matt Meshriy, a CDFW Upland Game Program Scientist. “We look forward to collaborating with Pheasants Forever and other conservation partners interested in this species.”

During the workshop, there were presentations given by Dr. Les Flake from the South Dakota State University and Dave Musil, the senior research biologist for Idaho Fish and Game.

Pheasants were a good source of income for the state of California. They were introduced into the state in the 1890s and by the middle of the 20th century, a quarter of a million hunters spent 800,000 days in the field. In 2010, there were only 100,000 days of hunting from about 30,000 hunters. This is probably due to the continued decline of pheasant populations.

Have you been hunting in California? What are your experiences?

Let us know in the comments below.


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