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Wisconsin pheasant movement study, 1936-37

Wisconsin pheasant movement study, 1936-37

Jour Wildlife Management 2(1): 3-12

Wild pheasants trapped in winter from managed refuges may be cheaper and better than artificial reared pheasants for replenishing understocked range. 210 pheasants were trapped, marked, and released under selected conditions in southern Wisconsin during Jan., 1937. Where food and cover were good and coverts of ample size, there was no dispersion; where food was good but coverts small and scattered, the released birds held well in some instances, but in other plantings they (and also the resident birds) adopted a circuit type of ranging similar to that of the large carnivores; where food and cover were both poor, dispersion was immediate and complete. Heavy pre-existing population density did not clearly accelerate dispersal of released birds from good well-fed cover. Heavy pre-existing population density further increased by releases seemed to increase the predation rate. There was no clear topographic orientation in the movement of released birds, but birds released on poor cover within sight of good cover promptly moved to it. Birds released on good upland cover within sight of good lowland cover moved to the lowland. There were no returns to home range except by accident. Crop damage near refuges, once started, may continue despite stringent reduction in density of pheasants. The study disclosed an unexplained difference in weight of pheasants from the 2 areas trapped. In general, the Ohio plan is admirably adapted to that transition period in which the farmer, while willing to help feed, is still inclined to let the state worry about winter cover. Under that plan the pheasants are wintered where cover happens to exist and then artificially redistributed so as to stock summer and fall range which would otherwise be vacant. This reduces spring congestion and crop damage. It is an artificial system but less so than the dependence on pen propagation toward which most States are steadily drifting.

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Accession: 026103197

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DOI: 10.2307/3796138

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