Redtail Hawks #1 upland enemy!!!!!

Discussion in 'Upland Game Forum' started by duckmaster56, Mar 23, 2002.

  1. duckmaster56

    duckmaster56 Guest

    Redtail Hawks #1 Upland Enemy!!

    Would like to hear what you all have to say about some thoughts I have. When the DNR protected the hawks back in the early 60's that was more than likely a good thing back then. Now 40 years later the Redtails are in over abundance. They have no preditor, they are the preditor!

    It is sad to see Redtails kill clutches of wild born chicks (the parents were birds that were turned lose the previous year). Take a short drive, the redtail hawks are everywhere!

    Here in NE Indiana and NW Ohio the upland game has dimished over the last 40 years. Farming, chemicals and weather have all been blamed. Now that there are alot of no-till farmland, I believe that redtails are now the #1 reason for deminishing upland game. The redtails should be controlled in someway.

    I developed my love for nature and being a sportsman, hunting upland game, with my father and grandfather. Now a days there is not enough upland game to spark the full interest in future young sportmen and women.

    In return , the anti-gun and PETA organizations are winning a SILENT BATTLE that no one is noticing. I for one, think it is time to stand up and stop this! The future of guns and hunting are slowly but surely coming to an end. The redtail hawk seem to be there efficient tool.
  2. blacktail

    blacktail Elite Refuge Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    oregon coast
    We hunters hate competition, wether it be the guy set up 80yds down wind of us on a public refuge or a bird of prey, skunks, coyotes, etc...

    I wonder how hawk tastes..................
  3. Before I reply I just want to say that my education and career path is in wildlife biology.

    Speaking from a scientific standpoint I disagree with the post. There is no doubt that predators (not just red tails) kill some species of upland game. But the impact of avian predators can be limited with simple habitat modifications.

    Most avian predators (hawks, owls, etc.) hunt from high perches, like high trees especially snags (i.e. standing dead trees). By removing trees that may serve as hunting perches avian kills will likely be reduced.

    Proper management of quality nesting and hiding/escape cover is also very important. The majority of private land owners do not manage habitat at all on there property. With a little effort in proper habitat management most landowners would see a significant increase in upland game. Quality nesting cover leads to higher nest success which equals more birds. Hiding and escape cover also helps birds to hide from avian predators which also equals more birds.

    My suggestion would be to read up on habitat management, talk to biologists in your area to get assistance, and even hire a private consulatant to assist with developing a managment strategy.

    Some predator control might help game populations, but nest predators (skunks, raccoons, oppossums, rats, etc.) most likely have much more of an impact than avian predators. And, while not documented, some theories suggest that avian predators may actually help improve nest success by preying on some of the nest predator species.

    just my $.02
  4. silvermallard

    silvermallard Elite Refuge Member

    Sep 27, 2001
    Predator populations are generally self-correcting. When food sources become scarce enough that they are working hard for a meal, the predator population will diminish...moving on to greener pastures and/or dying of starvation. However, this does not mean that there won't be years of low game bird and rabbit #s in a given area. There will. But the game species will generally re-populate once the predation decreases. Nature's kinda funny that way. This does represent a challenge to the wildlife manager, though. Ideally, you don't want these widely varying cyclical population densities. You'd rather have consistently healthy numbers. But the balance is delicate. Messing with it should be entered into with fear and trepidation.

    As an avid wingshooter, no one loves high densities of game birds more than me. However, I believe the hawk has more of a right to eat game birds than I do. I, after all, can eat chicken, pork, beef, etc. in readily-available supplies from a local supermarket. Wild predators have no such luxury. I think SOME management of avian predators is probably warranted in many regions, but the expertise to do so responsibly on the local level simply does not exist in most places. Unfortunately, I must admit that most hunters given a license to shoot/trap hawks would over-do it. Let's face it, no one is going to reduce them to possession, so a bag limit would be largely unenforceable.

    This is a good issue to take a close look at from time to time. I agree that the raptor populations seem to be burgeoning while game birds are at a dangerous low. But, like I said...fear and trepidation. Raptors do a lot of good wildlife management work, too...and are themselves wildlife. I don't want to live in a world free from hawks, eagles, owls, coyotes, wolves, foxes, skunks, coons, possums, nutria, otters, muskrats, beavers, lynx, bobcats, and mountain lions. You get rid of the feral cats and dogs and you'd make a huge dent in predation of game birds and rabbits! East of the Mississippi River, I'd dare say feral cats are the #1 threat to upland birds...not the redtail hawk. And why just the redtail? I see more waterfowl and upland birds taken by other hawk species, eagles, and owls than I see taken by Redtails. And I consider it a beautiful spectacle of nature...something I hope to see while afield.

    Finally, I could not agree more with the previous response. Proper cover/escape habitat goes a long way to improving the balance of things. It is also the most lacking...hing-cut trees, deadfalls, brush piles, cover and food plots planted in 10 acre minimum squares w/good fringe cover immediately adjacent. This is what "Quail country" used to look like. Today, those fence rows, treelines, and native food/cover plots are all but gone. This is the primary reason for our lack of upland game bird populations. You eliminate this kind of habitat, and you make the upland game easy work for the predators! You know, it also makes them easy work for the human hunters, and I have been faced with heavy resistance from hunters on this issue for precisely that reason. WE are our own worst enemy...not the Redtail Hawk.

    That's my opinion.

  6. B52-man

    B52-man Elite Refuge Member

    Jan 30, 2002
    I agree with duckd n dawgs...cats are killing machines.:eek:
    A buddy has a cat that kills anything and everything daily.It always brings it's PRIZES to the front steps.I've seen birds,mice,frogs,snakes,squirrels,chipmunks,and rabbits.The thing kills just for the joy.:mad: I've offered to take in for a trip,but his wife say's NO WAY!!!.
  7. wdlfbio

    wdlfbio Elite Refuge Member

    Oct 24, 2000
    Maple Valley, WA
    I'm sure that in certain areas tails take many of our game birds. But, are these truely game birds? If someone releases pen-raised birds, and some of those actually make it to breeding, the genes that are being put out are pretty flimsy. I suspect it is usually the weaker individuals that are being taken. The better instinctual, more fit, birds are living to produce even more fit offspring. It is the weaker strains that are being taken, and rightly so.

    Plus, in most cases, rodents comprise the majority of a tail's diet. Look at the research, it's there.

    The red-tail population continues to grow throughout the nation, and they are predators, but I doubt they are having the negative impact on game species the way many people think they do. What something appears to be and what it turns out to be are often separate issues, especially when nature is involved.

    A typical red-tail will seek an area with regularly dispersed perching sites and accessable food. Generally heavy cover has greater densities of prey. However, this same cover hides the prey well and makes hunting more difficult. Lighter cover, generally holds lower prey densities, but it is much easier to hunt. So, when looking at things on an engeretic scale, hunting the lighter cover is more profitable. Red-tails, and ourselves, will catch/kill fewer prey individuals, but will expend less energy to do so (compared to hunting heavy cover). Providing adequate cover and fewer hunting perches can do more to protect game species than removing red-tails.
    Removal is bandaid, not a cure.
  8. Goldy

    Goldy Elite Refuge Member

    Apr 15, 2000
    Fowlerville, Michigan
    I have to agree with ducks n dawgs. Proper land management is the key to game bird success. As president of our county's Pheasants Forever chapter, I've worked with our local wildlife biologist and landowners on many projects.

    The #1 most important factor is to provide large areas of undisturbed nesting cover. These areas should be out in the open, not next to hedgerows or tree lines.

    Winter cover, (switchgrass, native prairie grasses, cattails) with an adjacent food sorce are the next most important cover types.

    Lets face it, we're never going to be able to shoot hawks. Cats, on the other hand....
  9. duckmaster56

    duckmaster56 Guest

    If any of you still have any old Field and Stream mag.from the early 60's . there are articles on how good the hunting for pheasant is in N W Ohio.Now there are redtail hawks sitting on every mile of road.I have heard all of the ,create habit and they will come.Where are they to come from when there is'nt hardly any left???If you say they migrate you better cut all the power poles [pirches] ,if you think they are going to get to the new habitat.....Redtail hawks could be controled without eliminateing them! The # of licence sales are way down.Could that be because we are losing the interist of our future hunters??????
  10. Waders

    Waders Elite Refuge Member

    Sep 11, 2000
    East River, SD
    The most important factor in having more game birds is habitat.
    Ducks n Dawgs, I think the new CRP bill is going to encourage tree plantings with new enrollments. What do you think about that? I understand the need to help wildlife that depend on trees but I'd like to see more of the tall grass prairie go back to the way it was without the tress and roosts for raptors.

Share This Page