We invest extensive resources in our 21 CRP fields to provide everything wildlife needs to thrive. This starts with the backbone of a pheasants habitat needs in well maintained native grass. We use controlled burns to prevent the native grass from becoming too thick and rank, strip disking to open up the ground for broods to use as bugging areas, inter-seeding to provide more forb and legume growth (that studies show increases insect numbers by 300%), and food plots to provide an excellent food source during fall and winter. The goal is always to provide quality habitat for pheasants to use during all stages of their life cycle. Another benefit to our CRP fields is that every field has at least 2 sides that has pivot irrigated cropland. These fields are typically planted in either corn, beans, milo, or wheat. The constant moisture provided from the pivot irrigated fields provides moisture for the birds during the drier summer months, as well as some cooler vegetation to escape the summer heat. We believe that this is a key reason why our bird numbers remain so high even during the drought years.
When mother nature provides abundant moisture like she has the last couple of years, the pheasant population numbers are amazing. We recently set a record on our road side counts by spotting 307 pheasants in the 1 hour prior to sunset! Because we have 12,000 acres and 21 CRP fields, most of our fields only get hunted 2 or 3 times per season, ensuring that late season hunts are as good as early season hunts. Because we are much further South than the other pheasant states, late season hunting is typically quite comfortable. Average highs in December and January are around 45°, which is very comfortable as your walking through CRP grass. The fast action will keep your blood flowing as well. Some of our best hunts have occurred in January, as the birds will tend to flock to the best habitat, which our CRP fields provide.
Here is a aerial photo of one of our CRP fields. It shows pivot irrigated corn or beans on the East, South, and North, along with 4 food plots running through the ½ mile by ½ mile (160 acres) of native grass CRP. A hedgerow is located north of the homestead on the NE side. You can see other CRP fields that we have that are set up similarly on the North, as well as the SE and SW corners.