High Plains Public Radio

pheasant hunting

Edmund Garman / Flickr Creative Commons

Smith Center, KS, physician Joe Barnes is a hunter. He purchased farm land for hunting, and was disappointed the land looked so barren following harvest. He was consulted by Pheasants Forever Farm Bill biologist Tyson Seirer on ways Barnes and his tenant producer could make crop fields more hospitable for pheasant and quail at little additional expense.

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

As farmers across the Midwest have simplified the landscape and plowed up grassland to grow more corn and soybeans, habitat for pheasants, quail and other grassland birds has become increasingly scarce and their numbers are falling.

In Nebraska, wild pheasant concentrations have fallen 86 percent since their peak in the 1960s. The pheasant harvest during hunting season in Iowa is off 63 percent from the highs reached in the 1970s. In areas that used to be overrun, you’ll struggle to find a pheasant now.