Dillon Wildlife Area

WINGMASTER1

New member
I took my 2 sons ages 14 and 12 and a friend of theirs age 11 to Dillon for the youth pheasant release hunts and was angrily disappointed in our division of wildlife who manages this area. I have hunted the pheasant releases there for 15 years and it has been pretty good. My boys were able to get plenty of shot opportunities in previous years and had lots of fun, but this year was as awful for opportunity. The D.O.W has leased a lot of the wildlife area to farmers and we found 80 percent of the fields available to hunt last year were in standing corn 8+ feet high. I called the D.O.W district in Athens and found out these lease are for 5 years, so things will get no better here. After expressing my concerns to a supervisor they refered me to call the Woodberry office as to these are the guys who actually manage the area. I spoke with the gentleman who actually signed the farmer leases and he admitted to signing away more ground then in the past but tried to make an excuse that generally the corn would be picked and it would not be that big an issue. I disagree that the corn would be all picked by the last 2 weekends in September and hunting pheasant in cornstalks is not the best situation in my opinon i'd much rather hunt a weed field where my german shorthair can point on a holding bird as opposed to running the open cornstalks.
 

WINGMASTER1

New member
Call Athens DOW office

call the Athens DOW office (740-589-9930) if your agree with the conditions at Dillon. This is a major release site for The youth hunts and regular season hunts and it is unacceptable that our wildlife areas are leased out to agriculture in such a way. I understand that if not mowed or farmed the fields become trees. but there are areas that used to be fields( the corner of 146 and pleasant valley rd) that have been famed the last 8 years and never turned back over to the hunters and let the ground grow idle.
 

gobucks

New member
Just goes to show you the DNR only cares about deer. The local PF chapter has offered to go in and do work to several wildlife areas at no cost to DNR and the DNR tells them no. I hope the deer get a sever case of CWD or something that nearly wipes them out just to hit the state pocket book.
 

Choclab42

New member
So you think your deer herd being depleted would help matters. I'm sorry you feel that your dnr dosent help bird populations but idk if wanting other game species to die out is the best way to go about trying to fix the problem.
 

Jetifantasy

New member
Just goes to show you the DNR only cares about deer. The local PF chapter has offered to go in and do work to several wildlife areas at no cost to DNR and the DNR tells them no. I hope the deer get a sever case of CWD or something that nearly wipes them out just to hit the state pocket book.

The states pocket book is filled from our pocket books . The number of pheasant hunters in Ohio will never supplant the deer hunters . Sportsmen of all genre need to work together.
 

Prairie Drifter

Well-known member
Wingmaster1,

I don't know if I can help or hurt your perception, but if you'll help me form the background, I might be able to help you understand what is going on on the wildlife area you're discussing. One problem I've seen over the years is that hunters come to a "Wildlife Area" or "Public Hunting Area" and expect to see whatever they want to hunt. For instance, the area I manage attracts numerous "Pheasant" hunters every year. However, as a possibly more educated pheasant hunter, I can tell at 65 miles per hour driving through my wildlife area that it is not "Pheasant" habitat. Average harvest of pheasants on my area is less than 10 with many years being less than 5. However, they keep coming with the expectation of better results.

If Ohio is anything like Kansas, many of the wildlife areas are centered on riparian corridors and/or reservoirs. As such, they have a much faster successional evolution than surrounding uplands and easily grow out of the successional niche of upland birds. When you look at the cost of changing those acres back to a lower successional state, you frequently would spend more money to do the work that you would spend to purchase new land that is already in that successional state.

On the area you are talking about, the cropland IS the lower successional habitat and corn is good for pheasants as a food/cover type for certain parts of the year and can successfully be hunted with pointing dogs when in the stubble state for pheasants. What I see in eastern Kansas on wildlife areas is a hard timber edge right up to the cropland edge. Fallowing any field for more than about 2 years allows woody invasion that is difficult to set back, much less come back in on with farming equipment and get into farming condition. The fact that this is a put and take system leads me to believe that the existing habitat lacks a full adaptive profile to maintain a pheasant population. That being said, I can surmise that the best management of the area is for deer and turkey BECAUSE THE HABITAT DICTATES IT.

I talk to a lot of hunters on my area. I am continually surprised by their lack of knowledge about the species that they persue and the habitat that is required to support them. Even stocked birds need habitat that will support them until their eventual demise. Let me know if I'm totally off base here. I'm running somewhat blind, but know that this is very prevalent with wildlife areas here. We could do so much if we'd just buy some land in pheasant country that is already upland and not susceptible to the advanced succession of these riparian areas when left untended for a short period. Sounds like your DNR is trying to provide opportunity where it would otherwise not exist on this area.
 
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Jetifantasy

New member
Wingmaster1,

I don't know if I can help or hurt your perception, but if you'll help me form the background, I might be able to help you understand what is going on on the wildlife area you're discussing. One problem I've seen over the years is that hunters come to a "Wildlife Area" or "Public Hunting Area" and expect to see whatever they want to hunt. For instance, the area I manage attracts numerous "Pheasant" hunters every year. However, as a possibly more educated pheasant hunter, I can tell at 65 miles per hour driving through my wildlife area that it is not "Pheasant" habitat. Average harvest of pheasants on my area is less than 10 with many years being less than 5. However, they keep coming with the expectation of better results.

If Ohio is anything like Kansas, many of the wildlife areas are centered on riparian corridors and/or reservoirs. As such, they have a much faster successional evolution than surrounding uplands and easily grow out of the successional niche of upland birds. When you look at the cost of changing those acres back to a lower successional state, you frequently would spend more money to do the work that you would spend to purchase new land that is already in that successional state.

On the area you are talking about, the cropland IS the lower successional habitat and corn is good for pheasants as a food/cover type for certain parts of the year and can successfully be hunted with pointing dogs when in the stubble state for pheasants. What I see in eastern Kansas on wildlife areas is a hard timber edge right up to the cropland edge. Fallowing any field for more than about 2 years allows woody invasion that is difficult to set back, much less come back in on with farming equipment and get into farming condition. The fact that this is a put and take system leads me to believe that the existing habitat lacks a full adaptive profile to maintain a pheasant population. That being said, I can surmise that the best management of the area is for deer and turkey BECAUSE THE HABITAT DICTATES IT.

I talk to a lot of hunters on my area. I am continually surprised by their lack of knowledge about the species that they persue and the habitat that is required to support them. Even stocked birds need habitat that will support them until their eventual demise. Let me know if I'm totally off base here. I'm running somewhat blind, but know that this is very prevalent with wildlife areas here. We could do so much if we'd just buy some land in pheasant country that is already upland and not susceptible to the advanced succession of these riparian areas when left untended for a short period. Sounds like your DNR is trying to provide opportunity where it would otherwise not exist on this area.



You are exactly right . Our stocking system is at its core put and take designed to last two or three days . It is only state land often bordered by other less than appropriate habitat. Rooster only so no propagation is intended, also extreme over hunting occurs on those release dates . It provides an opportunity where none exists and does increase small game licensing . This year the state has modified its restoration program in some limited areas.:rolleyes: we will see where that goes.
 

Maggie&Max-GSP

New member
I agree about the dillion wildlife area. in years past with our german shorthairs, dillion has been very grateful to us. This year the hunting was tough, without our garmin we would have never harvested as many birds as we did, but the word is the birds next year will be released at tri valley wildlife area where they have a sustainable population of hens and they are hoping to release the roosters and get some wild population back. also the cover and fields at that area is a lot more bird hunter friendly.
 

huntsem

Member
I've seen areas where successional woody growth is inhibited for many many years if those areas have the right kinds of field grasses and forbs dominating the area. I usually see an abundance of golden rod on wildlife areas in my part of Ohio and golden rod doesn't appear to resist successional woody growth as well as grasses, like switch grass, little blue stem and indian grass do. Brush hogging every couple of years doesn't seem to knock down on the golden rod and that's pretty much how most of those areas are managed.

I've also noticed on wildlife ares in my region that some fields are leased to row crops, mostly corn and soy and there is never any amount of crops left standing to provide food and over winter cover along any edges. In many cases everything gets cut down to the bare ground pretty much. These areas also obviously get a heavy dose of herbicides as all that's left after harvest pretty much is bare dirt. I would also expect common doses of insecticides as well.
These are after all "wildlife area" and not "heavy agricultural production areas". I think with publicly funded lands like these they should be managed with the most up to date wildlife friendly and conservation supported techniques as possible to the point where they can be showcases to the average farmer who wishes to be more compatible and less intrusive to wildlife and conservation. Sadly such is NOT the case in my part of Ohio.
 
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Prairie Drifter

Well-known member
Huntsem, I agree totally and think wildlife areas ought to be showplaces of how to manage for wildlife. We should rarely "match" what you see across the fence! One obstacle to that end is that those wildlife areas use the same farmers as across the fence and often they are using equipment that is set up to farm that way. I think those contracts ought to be bid out with the wildlife friendly practices required in the prospectus then supervised to make sure those practices are followed.
 

Anrab

New member
I went round and round for years with the DNR about management of the wild life areas.
Here is my rough summary.

The State has a designation for wild life areas, recreational use and wild. The recreational designate (Delaware, Killdeer, Dillon,?etc) is where the birds are released, thus no active management to improve habitat. The wild areas (Deer Creek, Big island, ..etc) are places where there is an established wild bird population and these are managed accordingly. A lot depends on the area manager, the one who seems to do the best IMHO is Deer Creek, they rotate the fields and seem to have a good mix of nesting and winter cover. Big Island seems to be the worse, they lease the high ground to crops and in wet years the birds have a hard time nesting. But some years when the weather works out there could be good hunting.

It was explained to me that there are two main reason the state leases some of the wild life areas to farming.
1. To keep the fields from reverting back to woods, (good idea and effective if rotated properly) .
2. The cost of the leases is applied to road maintenance. (not sure about this one)

I would definitely like to see the leasing program audited just to make sure that everything is on the up and up.

Barna
 
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