The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Outdoors

March 22, 2014

Zaktansky column: Habitat critical in pheasant recovery process

Program evolves as some farms pull out of CREP

(Continued)

Lessons learned

“What we’ve learned from pheasants is that they don’t need long expanses but moreso pockets of cover along with cropland nearby for brood and food,” DeLong said. “Just a little bit on every farm would be fantastic.

“One thing we’ve found is that pheasants in general are not big dispersers. They live most of their life within one square mile,” DeLong continued. “On a farm with good habitat including some cover, food and nesting areas, there is no need to move.”

Which means that every farmer can do his/her part to contribute to the pheasant recovery efforts without sacrificing large swaths of revenue-generating land in the process.

“Pheasants Forever says a field should be at least 10 acres in size — or at least five acres here and five acres there. The new farm bill includes the opportunity for new CREP signups and farmers are telling us that they offer more money to those who renew or get involved for the first time,” Appleman said. “Who’s to say that a farmer can’t do half-and-half, with CREP on one part of the farm and crops on the other? The combination is ideal for pheasants and having a steady guaranteed income on part of the land to supplement the crop part seems like a good idea.”

A pheasant restoration update meeting is open to the pubic and scheduled for Wednesday, April 9, at 6 p.m. at the PPL Montour Preserve Enviromental Center. For more information about the program, visit the local Pheasants Forever chapter website at centralsusquehannapf.org or contact DeLong directly at (570) 380-0833.

Email comments to jzaktansky@dailyitem.com

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