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Pheasants Wintering Well in 2008

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Phesants wintering good in the far north zone Clay County hope they don't get plowed under this sommer.

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Pheasants are doing very well in southwest Minnesota. No snow all winter, except for December. They are spreading out now again and looking very fat and sassy. I actually some one rooster "playing around" with a hen the other day. That one must be a little confused. Even if we get a harsh blizzard now in March, they should be fine. They have not been stressed and as I said, well fed. The key, and it always is, is the spring. If it is cool and wet, this large population of carry over birds won't mean much in October.

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A few of us were just talking about this the other day...how it seemed to be a good winter for the pheasants. It is hard to imagine that the hunting could get better than this past fall, but with a good spring breeding season, we might have just that...

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I don't know what part of SW MN you are looking at Sko, but I know pipestone and Rock counties have been snow covered almost every day since December. We got snow and it never left. I think this winter has been MUCH tougher on birds than the past few. Snow cover mixed with EXTREME cold/wind is not a good recipe for pheasants...

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As one heads east and north across southern MN, there isn't as much snow until one gets into SE MN proper where the snowmobiling has been excellent. Fields in SC MN have been clear for quite awhile. Only bad thing is we have to wait for the snowpack to the south in IA to melt down before we warm up much. Hopefully we don't get hooked by a couple blizzards or worse, several ice storms in the meantime. So far, the pheasants continue to be in good shape. Their winter cover has remained open enough so many of them are spending a lot of their time there. Not seeing near the numbers along the roads as a couple weeks ago. Even though it doesn't feel like it, they know spring is coming. Hopefully for them it is a dry warm one.

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Lincoln and Lyon counties is where I have been seeing the birds. Many! I cannot imagine that Rock and Pipestone would be having issues. Yes, you might have had more snow, but those birds are able to get down to the ground and get what they need for survival. I think they are OK as well. What hurts birds the most is lots of snow early, more snow after that, then a big blizzard in March. Or an ice storm. We have not had any of that in SW MN. We get a big blizzard now, they are going to be able to handle it. Our biggest concern is CRP. I have seen some grass plowed up already...

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I'm with lawdog on this one. With the snow we have had and the constant winds a lot of cover has been filled in that was available the last few winters. I think the birds are getting plenty to eat but they are also a lot more vulnerable to predators this winter. I know on the last day of the season this year I found three separate spots where hens had been eaten by either a fox or coyotes. There are still birds out there maybe just not quite as many as last year at this time in the far southwest corner.

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The biggest threat will be the loss of CRP and the current farm bill that is up in the air. Wait to see a lot grass get plowed under soon if not already... Grass=pheasant habitat.

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Just pulled in to pheasant camp last night in Charles Mix SD. Woke up to 6" of new snow and roosters fighting outside. Late this evening I saw a couple 25 bird flushes as they lifted out of milo food plots into roosting cover. Temporary inconvience for these birds. Mating is on the mind and the roosters are getting stupid.

The roosters looked a little thinner than usual and I am wondering if that is effect of winter or just younger birds.

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