Outdoors with Forda Birds---By John Andreoni
The Auglaize Chapter of Pheasants Forever will be holding their annual banquet on March 28, 2015, and from what I understand, tickets are at a premium. The event will be held at the fairgrounds, and the site provides adequate room to handle the large crowd. As usual, there will be a live auction, silent auction, and other fund-raising activities to keep the evening exciting. Those purchasing any level of sponsorship will be included in a special drawing for a shotgun. A gun will be given away for every ten sponsors. Each sponsor will receive a framed print or .40 caliber handgun depending on their level of sponsorship. In the past, this annual dinner has always been well run and organized. All of the money received from the fundraiser is kept in the area.
I’ve always enjoyed taking part in this annual event and have attended most of them since the local Pheasants Forever chapter formed over 25 years ago. That’s a long time, and a lot of good work has been done by many dedicated people over the years. Of course, the mission statement of Pheasants Forever is: Pheasants Forever is dedicated to the conservation of pheasants, quail and other wildlife through habitat improvements, public awareness, education and land management policies and programs. It’s a well worded statement, comprehensive, and broad based. Many consider that increasing the pheasant population is the main goal and challenge of this philosophy. That might be true in some parts of the country. However, reading between the lines, one finds that reaching that goal in this neck of the woods is something not likely to happen, at least at the present time.
According to the Pheasants Forever viewpoint, the creation of habit will increase the population of pheasants, quail, and other species. This is true, but only if there is available acreage to develop into such an environment. In an agricultural area such as what we live in, the amount of available acreage for conservation is based directly on the price of grain. If grain prices trend high, all available land is put into production. It makes perfectly good sense to operate this way if you are trying to maintain a profitable business operation. On the other hand, if grain prices go lower, it becomes more economically feasible to put marginal land into some other form of cover, especially if this acreage is subsidized by a conservation program of some sort. A piece of land devoid of cover will not support a gamebird population.
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