“How will it affect fall populations?” “How susceptible are pheasants and quail to the disease?” “Does Pheasants Forever or Quail Forever have a role to play?”
All great questions, but unfortunately, there is little known about the disease regarding its impacts on wild upland bird populations in the United States. The role of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever is simple: keep delivering our mission of wildlife habitat conservation (remember, we’re a habitat conservation group, not the CDC). If our wild bird populations do become infected, we’re going to need quality habitat – and lots of it – to help populations recover.
Here’s what we can tell you:
The current avian influenza outbreak in the United States has affected over 35 million birds, the vast majority of which have been in commercial poultry operations. Over 240 individual outbreaks have been recorded in 29 states since January 2022, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The risk for human transmission remains low, as the CDC has only recorded one non-fatal case in Colorado.
The risk to wild birds is variable. As of May 1, there have been 899 confirmed cases in wild birds nationwide. Migrating waterfowl are often the culprits of transmission state-to-state, and their close proximity to one another also makes them much more susceptible. Of the confirmed cases in wild birds, snow geese are far and away the most common, followed by Canada geese.
The Pheasants Forever National office, The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, and the Minority Outdoor Alliance all joined forces on a new outreach program to be piloted in 5 states. Colorado was one of the five and South Metro Pheasants Forever was asked to spearhead the project here.
On Sept. 17-18, 2022, nine members of various minority communities who were interested in learning to hunt and six minority members of the hunting community were hosted by Pheasants Forever volunteers at The Bluffs Hunt Club in Byers, Co. The event was the first 2 day learn to hunt event done by the PF chapter. Our guests were provided extensive training in gun safety, hunting techniques, and conservation on Saturday. There was the extensive practice in gun handling and clay shooting in the afternoon. They were able to spend the night at the Bluffs lodge and enjoyed the hospitality of the Bluffs’ owners and each other. New relationships were forged over some brews. Sunday, our newly trained hunters were hosted for an actual hunt at the nearby Valhalla Hunt Club near the town of Bennett.
PF volunteers provided pointing dogs, guides, and field safety officers for hunts over terrain that included wooded river bottoms and crop fields. Our new hunters were able to combine their recently acquired skills to live bird hunting and do so safely with the added excitement of harvesting the game.
Subsequently, some guests of this outreach participated in another hunt and even attended a PF monthly chapter meeting. Everyone is encouraged that this type of outreach achieves the goals of introducing new participants to the sport of hunting and to conservation.
Congratulations to SDPF auction winning hunt teams of Doug & Wendy Heersink, Matt Sawyer & Natalie Wurzer, and Mark Campbell & Joe Nobles!
Total raised for both chapters was $6,425!
Ever wanted to have access to bird-heavy, private land in mid-Kansas? Here is that unique opportunity!
South Metro Pheasants Forever is partnering with Kansas PF Smoky Hill Chapter 424 for a two-day hunt on private lands near Hays, Kansas. Six hunters and an SMPF chapter representative will travel to Hays on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, and return on Sunday, Jan. 8. We will stay in a lodge and hunt on Friday, Jan. 6, and Saturday, Jan. 7. Pheasant (limit 4) and quail (limit 8) abound on the properties we will hunt. The property owners will hunt with us (they know where the birds are!). Note: in the event, we get snowed out, a secondary date of Jan. 19-22 will be held.
- Bids are for a 2-person team and start at $1500/team ($750/person).
- Each team of 2 hunters should have a dog
- Hunt will be awarded to the highest 3 (2 person teams) bidders.
- New bids must exceed the previous high bid (cannot bid for 2nd/3rd place).
- All funds, minus expenses, will be split between the two chapters.
- Auction will start on Sept. 10 at 8 am and close on Sept 24 at 5 pm.
- Read details below on how to bid.
Hunters are expected to be experienced with hunting safely under a variety of conditions including blocking, covey rises, etc. All hunters are responsible for their own, and others, safety.
- Access to more acres than we can hunt in 2 days.
- Lodging in a bunk style (1 room) building converted into a fully equipped lodge (not fancy).
- A field lunch and simple dinner will be provided.
- Dogs/kennels allowed in lodge.
Not included in the hunt:
- Hunting licenses, dogs, shells (this is not an outfitters hunt).
- Breakfast or snacks (fridges are on site so food can be stored as needed).
- Drinks, water, personal items.
- Motels nearby if preferred
On Saturday, August 20th the Brekke Veterinary clinic and JPAW Training held a hunting (and other dogs too) rattlesnake avoidance clinic. Dr Jay is a Pheasants Forever member and contributor to our PF Journal of Conservation and an expert in the veterinarian care of hunting dogs.
From the pictures, you can see 2 different dogs with their owners approaching the snake cage. In the second set of pictures you can see that the dogs learned the avoidance lessons!
Good job JPAW training and Brekke Vet clinic and a special thanks from Gracie and Linc, the two successful graduates!
Fourteen 4-shooter teams had a grand time breaking clays at the chapter’s July 30 tournament at the Silver Creek Sporting Club in Kiowa.
Stay tuned for a wrap up and photos!
On May 25th, Oxy, STEAD school, Pheasants Forever and the Barr Lake team all partnered to provide protection and food for our bird friends of all varieties.
400 feet of nesting, berries and shelter were on the agenda for planting. First, the holes (185 of them) were dug. Six cubic yards of compost and mulch were used to make our new plants welcome as we tucked them into the ground. Our new residents- 35 Junipers, 60 each of chokeberry and sumac bushes were planted.
There were approximately 60 people present to do the planting -20 students and 5 adults from STEAD school, 30+ Oxy employees, the Pheasants Forever Habitat and outreach chairs, and a half dozen employees from Barr Lake.
All enjoyed the morning of connecting to each other, and to the wildlife that we are helping protect!
In partnership with Barr Lake and Oxy, SE Metro Pheasants Forever Chapter joined the national effort for “Hands-on Habitat”. This project highlighted dry lands habitat development in Barr Lake’s Educational Plots. Previously, the primary development has been with the pollinator plot. This project planting included planting rabbit brush and prairie dropseed plants. It also included a dry land seeding of a grass mix specifically designed by the National Pheasants Forever wildlife team. The mix included Blue Stem, Indian Grass, Switchgrass as well as several other native grasses.
Sept. 25 was National Public Land Day!
South Metro Pheasants Forever and Oxy joined to participate in two events at Barr Lake State Park that day.
The first was the painting of a mural depicting our pollinator plot and the multicultural volunteers responsible for the creation of the pollinator plot.
The artist, Dominic Velando, sketched the mural and guided the volunteers in the painting. Thanks Dominic! The second was adding more pollinators plants to the plot!
On Thursday, August 19, PF and Occidental volunteers teamed with Barr Lake staff to complete the next stages of 2 projects. The first project, an exciting project that will continue for the next month, is the mural project.
The first step was to build the fencing structure needed as the surface for the mural. The team measured, dug holes, measured again, widened the holes and finally cemented in the upright structure beams for the fence. It was hard work, and created many laughs as the structure took shape!
The next steps on the mural will take place in September as the fence is finished and the mural sketched in for the final painting stage on National Public Land day, the 25th of September. At the same time as the posts were being planted, additional planting was taking place in the Pollinator Plot. More rabbit brush, coneflowers, and others joined the growing plot. The additional plants were gently placed by the Oxy team as the PF team helped with both projects!
It was a great team day. Thanks Oxy!!