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DonBo

DNR Asking for help feeding pheasants.

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DonBo

DNR offers pheasant feeding do’s and don’ts

(Released January 7, 2010)

Recent snowfalls have resulted in a deep blanket of crusty snow that is significantly limiting pheasants’ access to waste grain throughout much of their range in Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Providing feed for pheasants during such conditions can increase their chances of survival.

Pheasants can survive as long as two weeks without food, but they become more vulnerable to predators and adverse weather conditions when they are forced to spend time and energy in the open looking for food.

The DNR offers the following tips for feeding pheasants:

Do not place feeders near a road. Attracting pheasants (and deer) to roadsides can be dangerous to motorists as well as wildlife.

Feeders should be placed within 150 yards of good winter cover. This allows the birds to feed and then return quickly to cover. The most important reason for feeding pheasants is to keep them in areas of good winter cover, such as large cattail marshes, shrub swamps, or shelterbelts with at least four rows of evergreens where they stand a much greater chance of surviving winter.

Place food where birds have been seen feeding in an open, windswept area near thick cover. A high spot with a southern exposure is best.

Simple feeder cribs can be constructed of hardware cloth that is 3 to 4 feet wide (1/2″ mesh) and is double-wrapped and hog-ringed together to form a cylinder. Wire the feeder to a steel post or another object to keep it erect. Designs for constructing barrel feeders can be found on the DNR Web site.

Once feeding is begun, don’t stop until there are large, snow-free areas in fields. Pheasants become dependent on feeders. One of the biggest mistakes is to stop feeding before waste grain becomes available.

Now is also a good time to work with local clubs or wildlife managers to assess local habitat needs and plan improvements for next year, such as food plots near winter cover. For additional information on pheasant feeding, contact a local DNR wildlife office.

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Tom7227

From Pheasants Forever:

Why NOT to Feed Pheasants

* The biggest reason to shy away from feeding pheasants is that feeders attract predators and expose pheasants to death by predation. Feeders give predators a focus point similar to a bait pile.

* In fact, it is rare for a pheasant to starve, but death by freezing can be common. Poorly-placed feeders may draw the pheasants out and away from their protective winter cover and cause birds to congregate and expend energy competing for food. Instead of saving birds, this actually adds to freezing deaths.

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brittman

Once you start you need to commit for the entire winter.

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CaptainBly

So now what, DNR wants people to feed the pheasants. But the PF says not to it will do more harm than good. What do you do. For me it would be a personal opinion, I would start feeding.

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Tom7227

With all due respect to DonBo the label on this thread is his - not the DNR's. The post is exactly as DonBo has put it - they are giving you some info on what to do if you chose to feed. They are NOT asking for help feeding pheasants. The DNR and PF both know people are going to do it and are giving info on how to do it correctly.

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muc33

I agree with Tom on this not full fledged but in principal. Correct in the errors in feeding, and incorrect on the fact that the DNR and PF aren't asking for help in doing so. As a matter of fact our PF chapter has a corn wagon set up in town and signed accordingly and we are one of the most active chapters in the nation and very well respected and the National office is fully aware of our actions. So in some respect Tom, you are correct but the correct methods WILL save birds.

I would like to add that most birds really lack grit. This is so very vital. When you fill a feeder or spread some grain, Mix in some grit! It is absolutely critical!!!!

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Jmnhunter

and notice with the DNR suggestions IF you do feed them, do it close to their thermal cover

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WaveWacker

The DNR and PF as a whole aren't asking people to get out there and feed. As stated they are simply laying out some guidline so if one chooses to feed that they do it in a matter that in fact will potentially be beneficial and not detrimental.

I am very active in our local chapter of PF as well and let's not get into we are active this and well respected that. Every chapter is important and working towards the common goal of propegating the pheasant population and a growing trend toward youth outdoor education.

With that said...if a chapter chooses to spend their funds on such an activity that's fine. That's the nice thing about PF is that the local chapters dictate how/where/when to spend the funds that they raised. Maybe a chapter instead wants to focus on development of said preferred winter habitat (wetland restorations, woody tree cover planting, etc.). After all, without habitat we can fill grain wagon after grain wagon and it won't make a difference in the big picture.

So, it really comes down to individual budgets and prioritizing how to spend the funds available.

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Scott Stein

I'm feeding them right now. I doubt the chances of a pheasnt getting caught by a predator while eating near some thick cover is very high. I have 2 feeders about 40yds out from our windbreak and everyday there is at least 15 pheasants out there and I haven't seen a hawk/eagle or yote yet in the 3 weeks the feeders been out. So I'm going to keep feeding them,you guys do what you want but I believe it's the right thing to do.

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WaveWacker

Agreed. Not saying at all that feeding is bad. I have 4 garbage can style shelled corn feeders that I made plus some smaller piles that I maintain regularly. I have seen owls/hawks around so I opt to keep the food under the cover of brush or in very close proximity to the cattails, away from perch trees.

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vister

a few years ago we stopped raising pheasants. we would raise them up from chics, and put the blinders on and release them to the flight pen. we typically would release about 150-200 birds each fall. so we feel obligated to feed pheasants all winter long. when we get those deeper snows in the open ground, that stuff really piles up in canary grass meadows with some cattails and willows when the wind blows. pheasants can scratch out in the plowing, and road edges, but not their natural habitat, that is all blown in. which is why we take feeders out and fill them with wheat and corn once the snow flies. we are doing zero harm to the birds. like mentioned, keep the feeders closer to cover, and away from trees that areial pests can perch in!

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primetime49

we dont feed pheasants as when we did release birds-we used to fill the center of a 1/4 mile driveway 2 inches deep twice in winter,they liked food on elevated road and we also drove on it crushing it into gravel]mash- it drew in most other birds within a mile or two from any direction.this would feed couple hundred birds and deer really didnt take to much of it.

what we also dont do is farm,BUT luckilly the people that rent or own most farms in area[almost whole township]do not plow or disc corn down

they put the next years soybeans in between corn rows

pheasants here [we counted several hundred in a mile today] where this farm practice is done and only 30 to 40 per mile on corn fields that had corn stalks baled

It helps that no pressure has been put on birds last 3 years and now they are all wild not released birds[we did put several hundred birds out for 3 years in a 3 mile circle

they have plenty of cover and will switch to the soybean fields in about a month to month and a half

cover and feed is the way its really working here

also we do a lot of predator hunting which is everybodys favorite hunt as its year around

a friend at church this morning said he also saw several hundred birds yesterday at a spot we have seen them before

go out in the morning on large corn stubble fields near cover and a gravel road and look for birds

8:00 to 9:00 is Prime in morning

this warm weather has saved a lot of birds and yes a lot of predator hunters will be on the outskirts of these sightings to aid in preserving the birds

the public hunting areas around private farms seem to have a truck come and go and another is in parking spot as soon as other leaves and it goes on all weekend long all season

when the dogs and hunters leave for year these birds really congrigate

this weather is the best thing for population

thank God

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FCspringer

I agree with you 100% there Scott Stien, I take care of preditors on my land, there are very few hawks or birds of prey around so I just don't even see them. as far as the others, fox, coon,cats, skunks ect. I keep them at bay too. I trap and 22 them. The worst is cats, Right now all I have for tracks in the snow is birds. I am like you in that I have about 20 birds in my driveway every day and intend to keep them alive through this harsh winter. The fact is that it is very dificult for them to find any food now. So feeding in some areas is the only hope for many. i did however do it exactly how this thread started, to a tee. I slowly moved the feed from the hill top field to the grove and driveway, they followed. If I see a cat I'll shoot it. Hopeing to keep the 4 roosters and 16 hens around for nesting in the spring.

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Musky Buck

Hope it's not to late, our local pheasy pop. is in critical condition and the raptors are making hay now, they can't get under that ice, bad days ahead for them frown

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BLACKJACK

Hope it's not to late, our local pheasy pop. is in critical condition and the raptors are making hay now, they can't get under that ice, bad days ahead for them frown

I think predation by raptors is overblown. First off when people blame owls, pheasants are out during daylight hours, owls hunt at night, doesn't make sense to blame owls. Secondly, most of our hawks migrate to warmer climates when its this cold - when was the last time you saw a hawk flying around? Last November? Thirdly, I've fed pheasants within sight of my house, if raptors were a problem, you'd see them up in the trees and I never saw them by the pheasant feeders.

The reason I bring this up is that I live in an area where people brag about shooting hawks. I keep telling them its a Federal offense....

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Musky Buck

Instead of raptors I should've put predators and the raptors I see almost daily are harriers or whatever that white looking hawk is, lots of them around. I'm not trying to blame them, I think I'm saying the pheasant is an easy target for the predators right now because of the ice. The hard part is the pheasants were really starting to build numbers and in my area we might get set back another 10 years. We haven't hunted them, maybe we should've. So the owls I some nights see that hour before dark are hunting what in the cattail and willow slough they glide over.

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Riverratpete

probably mice, rabbits etc....don't know if owls will take down a pheasant.

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DonBo

probably mice, rabbits etc....don't know if owls will take down a pheasant.

Oh yeah, owls are one of the biggest predators of turkeys. Can't imagine a pheasant would be a problem for most owls.

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Musky Buck

It's just the pheasants I'm seeing now since the ice storm seem to stick out like a sore thumb, maybe I should add the ones that survived it, no way to tell what's around for certain but watching them run across these ice fields I'm wondering what or where they are trying to hide, you'd need a chisel to bust through this stuff. Glad I left up an old fence I meant to tear down last summer as it has lots of tall grasses in it and Monday's snow at least drifted there hopefully providing some cover. I could be way off, anyone noticing the effects of that ice or am I jumping the gun. The one thing I have noticed a surplus this late fall/ into winter was way more owls than I'm used to seeing, but they travel and maybe there's quite a food source on the farm this year. Turkey numbers way way down on the farm, who knows, went from 40-80 was common, there are 4 turkeys on my farm this year. But, they could've wintered elsewhere, that October rain could've altered the norm. Well I'm off to the gravel/dirt source the birds like to use for their gullet, chopped it up with a chisel once after the ice, now I can check if they've been there if I can make out a track. Times a wastin.

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FCspringer

I had a bunch of birds feeding in my yard every day, since the rain, down to 2. Doesn't look good. And Owls do kill pheasants. They get them in my bird pen even. Right through the net. Seen em trying offten.

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Musky Buck

The report is.......a bit better than expected, quite a few birds and the ice had quite a few open pockets in it in the willows and the top 2 feet of grass in there at least is exposed. But, the fox and coyotes are sniffing it daily the way it appeared, but time will tell.

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Musky Buck

PS. Came across a nasty frozen up Oppossum, they have way bigger teeth than I ever gave them credit for, ish.

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Riverratpete

huh..I did not know that.

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Tom7227
PS. Came across a nasty frozen up Oppossum, they have way bigger teeth than I ever gave them credit for, ish.
Hopefull that's one good thing that will come out of this winter - those ugly suckers will freeze out and get back where they belong. I don't think you saw them in MN until about 15 years ago. I was told they came up in the round bales that were transported from further south. They are so disgusting that nothing will even clean up the road kill.

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Musky Buck

Right on Tom and that's what I heard as well on how they got here. I've crushed quite a few of them. Had one get on the roof once and into the attic area of the house. The first encounter with one I thought I was dreaming, I didn't want to tell anyone because I figured they'd think I was nuts, the answer I got was they are all over the place. Horse people don't like them, some disease thing I think. Didn't realize this but you're right Tom, the crows don't seem to even want to pick away at them. I was encouraged to see quite a few pheasants last night, each day is also from here supposed to warm up a bit each day thankfully for the next 7 anyway.

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