As a result of my expanding family, I just recently took on a second job with a past employer that has created a new relationship with Landco and Briney’s Bird Farm. Prior to going to college, I worked for Briney’s Bird Farm and Riverview Hunting, where I was in charge of maintaining the flight pen operations and trying to help get the new hunting program kick started. After college I worked for Milt Briney for a short time frame before taking the Land Manager position on the prestigious “John Buck Farm” just outside Astoria, Illinois. I learned a tremendous amount over the years at the “Bird Farm” and the “The John Buck Farm” that I think many of our readers will find fascinating and helpful if they are interested in trying to improve and establish a wild population of upland game on their properties. Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to throw out a few ideas and strategies that have proven successful for me in the past, and I think many of you will be surprised as to how an upland game program on your farm can also improve deer numbers and increase the aesthetics and marketability of a farm.
Some properties are not going to be suited for game birds, but many of the properties that already have existing, CRP, CREP, or even old strip-mined properties are perfect properties to implement a game bird program that will certainly add another dimension to your recreational opportunities on your ground, not to mention a more diverse habitat. We also have for sale some perfect properties that already have implemented upland game programs and will over the next few years establish a strong wild bird population with the use of “hand reared” pheasants and quail. Check out this video shot on our 1000 acre Fulton County listing last fall. This video is proof that quality game birds from quality bird producers and sound habitat management is all you need to establish a great bird program on your property. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCm3ceUMHFI
One of my favorite text books mandatory for my Game Preserve Management degree from Southeastern Illinois College, was “Game Management” by Aldo Leopold. Throughout most of the book he discusses the fact that “hand reared birds” can be implemented to sustain and grow an upland bird population once the basic needs of food, water, and cover have been established on a property. He also discusses the importance of “good quality” game birds, which brings me to the most common statement I hear when discussing a release program with land owners and even biologists. “Pen raised birds are far to stupid to live in the wild. Heck most of them can’t even fly”.
Like many things in life the old adage of “you get what you pay for” could not be any truer than what you get when buying “pen raised” or “hand reared” birds such as pheasant and quail. To try and state that all pen raised birds are created equal is like saying that all Labrador retrievers, Thorough bred horses, or Whitetail deer are created equal. If that was the case every button buck that is born will undoubtedly turn into a 200 inch deer by the age of four years old. It just isn’t true and it brings me to the point that finding a quality breeder/producer is just as important as establishing the right types of your basic elements (food, water, and cover.)
In the next article I am going to go over some of the basic fundamentals that game birds need to flourish and thrive on a property. I will also try to explain how good quality bird producers such as Briney’s Bird farm implement the same basic fundamentals during the rearing process that ultimately produces a bird that has the right stuff to successfully survive in the wild.
Anyone that has taken a Biology 101 class knows that food, water and cover are the basic essentials needed for any living animal. Learning how to micro manage those three essential elements will be the difference between a successful release program and a waste of time. I think that our readers that are interested in improving the deer hunting on their properties will also benefit from some of the articles coming in the near future. I hope you all enjoy the read, and I look forward to hearing some of your questions, responses and opinions.
“The Central thesis of game management is this: Game can be restored by the creative use of the same tools which have heretofore destroyed it—– axe, plow, cow, fire and gun.” (Leopold, Game Management 1933)
Articles to come:
> Suitable properties, Habitat Enhancements, and Proper Licensing
> Getting what you pay for: Quality birds -vs- Cost Savings