Release

Goosemaster

Well-known member
I am against the release of pheasants by montana fwp. I don't think it's a good idea. This will effect the wild bird gene pool.
 

Fox Walker

New member
You bring up valid concern. If there have been strains of pheasants that tend to survive better in the current climactic conditions of Montana. They may in fact have a genetic advantage that could be diluted by the release of new strains of birds.

I think you are probably right Goosemaster, but I have put quite a bit of thought into this and am having trouble saying I agree 100%.

The counterpoint being:

All of the pheasants we encounter in North America are nonnative and were genetically evolved in East Asia over the course of millennia not decades. Genetic diversity is known to contribute to heartier populations. So there is the chance that the influx of released birds may make some positive contributions to the gene pool.

Additionally, the released birds will probably be the first ones eaten by predators. This may contribute to more of the wild birds surviving the winter. That is always a good thing.
 
Additionally, the released birds will probably be the first ones eaten by predators. This may contribute to more of the wild birds surviving the winter. That is always a good thing.
Or does this mean more predators survive the winter because of the extra food which then mean more to prey on spring chicks? Ecosystems are very hard to balance.
 

gimruis

Well-known member
stocking pen raised birds will do nothing for the proliferation of wild birds, they will all die before they breed
Studies have shown that the release of pen-raised birds does nothing to increase reproduction. The only reason to release birds is to "hunt" them, if you can call it that. They don't even come close to surviving until mating season. And even if they did, their urge to do so is long gone having grown up in a chicken coop.

The route to increasing the population of wild birds is 1) more and better habitat, and 2) ideal weather like mild winters and good reproduction/nesting. We don't have any control over variable number 2, the weather. We do have some control over the amount of habitat and the quality of that.
 

Goosemaster

Well-known member
Or does this mean more predators survive the winter because of the extra food which then mean more to prey on spring chicks? Ecosystems are very hard to balance.
That's true.I have been seeing a real increase in hawks, owls, falcons, eagles in Montana since they started releasing pen birds.I agree that most won't survive, because I've witnessed it first hand. In the helena area they released a bunch of birds.I hunted it in November, and saw 2 birds.That tells me those released birds only lasted 2 months.
 

PeteRevvv

Active member
"Wild strain" genetics is an invention of breeders, game farms and government agencies. Wild captured birds that are bred don't produce chicks that survive in the wild after being pen raised any better than generations of farmed birds. Chicks learn survival skills from the hen. If you release a dozen young incubated chicks into a newly hatched nest or recently failed nest, the hen will pick them up as her own brood and raise them. I've seen farmers quickly restore wild bird numbers with this method after a hard winter. It takes an intimate knowledge of the ground to know where the nests are, careful watching for when eggs are laid and some good guesstimation to get your incubation timing down so that you have new hatched chicks within days of the majority wild hatches. You'll never get that skill, investment and wide-spread effort from a government program that would make a difference.
 
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