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CRAZYEYES

Pheasants this winter, how are they doing ?

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Dotch

They've behaved typically here since the snowfall. They spent most of their time foraging for feed once the fields opened up now they're back at the feeders again, hopscotching between farmsteads. There were about 30 here again yesterday morning while I was moving snow. I think someone made a good point that SD is not SW MN is not SC MN, etc. The types of cover vary from area to area and while one place may boast lots of cattail slough cover or large tracts of native prairie grassland, others such as the area we're in have farmyards 1/4 mile apart with spruce, pine, plum, etc., where the birds are able to get along quite nicely in crummy weather. The potential carrying capacity isn't as high per acre but survival thus far doesn't appear to be an issue. That said, we ain't seen what March will dish out yet and that can be one of the worst months from an ice storm standpoint. In the meantime, enjoy observing the birds, plan(t) more habitat and support your local PF chapter. grin

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CaptainBly

I know it has been talked about before. Feeding the wildlife. I don't know how much of that is being done with corn prices the way they are.

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Dotch

I can't speak for every area but I know it hasn't stopped anyone around here. Those of us who can appreciate the tough go the pheasants have had have taken it upon ourselves to feed them just like we always have. They really don't eat that much in the grand scheme of things. It doesn't have to be the traditional ear corn or shell corn deal either. I feed livestock so I have some excellent screenings from a neighbor's rotary screener I've fed all winter in a feeder I wasn't using. I've also mixed it with the cheapo mixed bird seed I've found on sale. Mixing their diet up a bit is probably not a bad idea. In addition, I have a couple garbage cans of ear corn from the hand yield checks we take in customers fields in the fall. No reason to let it go to waste or become volunteer corn by tossing it back in the field. Since the feeder's in the yard, feeding only what they'll consume per day helps keep the bunnies, raccoons, oppossums, deer and other critters from cleaning it out at night.

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CaptainBly

I understand. I belong to a sportsmans club in MN and they have been buying corn and hay for years. They pay farmers for leaving food plots. But it really isn't that big of a club. They have guys complaining that they are not doing enough. They have guys coming from 30-40 miles away to get corn. They say the DNR has told them to go there of they want corn. And some of the guys that are complaining are farmers that have bushels of corn.

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Jack Peterson

I have only seen one pheasant on my property since January 1st. Ouch. It was a rooster, and I saw him last week during the "thaw." I haven't seen any tracks in the lowlands/swamp, along the woods, or along the standing corn. I have been watching a herd of 15-20 deer across the road, and they are struggling for food as well.

I think my population of pheasants is down to a dozen, mainly due to the snow, the TWO to THREE FREAKING weeks of below zero, and the over abundance of predators/hawks. I have three local hawks, and man I sure wish it was legal to get rid of them, or at least trap them and relocate them.

Really hoping that winter goes away a.s.a.p!

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pureinsanity

For all you who want to feed the pheasants and help save them. JOIN a PF chapter. I realize most of you are already but anyone who is concerned about the pheasants or their ability to hunt them in the future needs to do this. Every year food plots are put on certain WMA's in my local area. Every year a volunteer uses his equipment to pick these food plots and distribute the corn to fellow PF members for FREE to help feed the pheasants.

Join a chapter and donate what you can, its for a good cause. With out PF many WMA's wouldn't be here today OR the habitat at most of these WMA's. Shelter belts, nesting grounds, water, and a food source courtesy of PF.

Google Pheasants Forever and find out if your county has a chapter or not. Attend a meeting, you will not be disappointed with what you hear at these meetings.

I started going to meetings when I was age 4. I would go with my dad as he was a founding member to a local chapter. You would not believe what you will learn from these meetings, or this local pf chapter. More importantly you will meet some great people and good friends while doing it along with gaining lots of knowledge about pheasants and other wildlife habitat.

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CodyDawg

Dotch and pureinsanity nailed it. PF is out there doing projects to help, we need more people involved. My chapter is on its 3rd gravity box of cob corn that we give away to folks for feeding the pheasants. The best answer, however, is to have habitat and food plots established. That is what gets numbers of birds through the year. Please, join a PF chapter and get involved!

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Arago

I agree completely. If you are a rooster hunter you owe it to yourself and your children and their kids to join PF. Habitat does not magically happen. We All need to create it, or have barron fields and no birds.

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MuleShack

I was out this after noon trying to find and get some pics of the local bald eagles and ran into these two guys. I actually seen about 8 birds, but only got to snap two of them.

full-17729-6197-img_7199.jpg

full-17729-6198-img_7230.jpg

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pureinsanity

How long you been at the big K Mule?

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Farley

Went for a walk with my 7 month old GWP last night after work around 5:30 till sundown. Walked all the way accross our big slough out in the middle of the section (a large section). Saw over 100 birds, Schultz is still learning he got up maybe a half dozen or so. Judging by what I saw in the fall\early winter and what I saw last night, looks to me like our slough lost maybe 20% of the birds. Unless a bunch of new birds moved in. We left 3 rows of standing corn along the west side of that swamp, and there is also a corn food plot about 1/2 mile away. We released around 200 birds throughout the last summer and banded them with zip ties so hopefully the ones that made it to winter, made it through the winter (I'm guessing 20% made it to the winter). Coyotes dont seem to be as big of a problem as I thought they were going to be. A few tracks but none fresh. Schultz was fired up to say the least, he didnt know which direction to turn, there was roosters cackling in every direction. We live in Central MN.

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MuleShack

How long you been at the big K Mule?

over 2 decades shocked

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pureinsanity

snow cover and extreme cold weather has folks worried about the birds being able to survive. Unfortunately, many good intentioned people who set out corn actually harm the pheasants more than they help them. Carefully consider the following:

• Feeding must take place close to high quality winter cover of at least 10 acres, such as cattail sloughs and willow thickets. It is extremely rare for a pheasant to starve, but death by freezing is common.

Poorly placed feeders actually draw the pheasants out and away from their protective winter cover. They cause birds to congregate and expend energy competing for the food. Instead of saving birds, poorly placed feeders will actually add to freezing deaths.

• Feeders attract predators and expose pheasants to death by predation. Many more pheasants are lost to predators each winter, than to starvation. Feeders give predators a focus point, not unlike a bait pile.

• Once feeding starts, it must be continued. If pheasants are fed for a period of time and then the food supply disappears, the birds may become more stressed than if they had not been fed at all.

• A poorly designed feeder may make an easy meal for more efficient foragers such as deer and turkey, taking away any benefits for pheasants.

• Proper winter feeding may help the birds temporarily, but it is not an effective long term plan. THE KEY TO SAVING PHEASANTS IN THE WINTER IS HABITAT!

Resources spent on establishing high quality winter cover will yield far greater results and the best winter survival rates.

The lesson to be learned from a tough winter is that we need to plant more, high quality thermal cover in the spring. Please do all you can to educate your friends and family on proper winter feeding. By doing so, you will help save birds.

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harvey lee

Boy do I agree with that. Winter cover is so much more important than food. Even with the food and no winter cover, the birds will have a tough time survivng.

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Grayfox

These boys have been hanging close to the house since late December. Been putting out corn for the deer and birds and all these guys showed up. They roost in my spruce trees in the background and a short 40 yard fly to the food. The picture isn't very good but that morning there were 21 roosters and 1 hen that came out. Not sure where the other hens were but maybe a little more wary of coming out in the open? We took one rooster 2 years ago but haven't had the urge to hunt them the last few. It's nice to hear them cackle and watch them strut around in the sping though.

Rob

2-13-11RockRiverandpheasants003.jpg

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harvey lee

Nice winter cover.

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MuleShack

Kind of intesting that you see all Roosters...

Are the females the only smart ones to stay in cover? grin

Or are they the ones taking the hit?

When i was out last week, i only saw roosters too. One had flown from the snow into an evergreen tree just as grayfox had stated.

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muc33

You should see the cattle feed lots around here. When the feed wagon goes by the pheasants come out like wild fire! Beef and Pheasants eating together. I will try to snap a few pictures. It works I guess.

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rkhinrichs

my dad owns land west of Long prairie, and says are pheasant feeders are being hit a lot, had to refill the feeder, also the standing corn is getting hit hard to. but still a lot of snow in the swamps as well.

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pureinsanity

my dad owns land west of Long prairie, and says are pheasant feeders are being hit a lot, had to refill the feeder, also the standing corn is getting hit hard to. but still a lot of snow in the swamps as well.

The deer are getting it not the pheasants. @ my fathers house we have a crib feeder. At night if you would flip a light on there would be 23 deer at a time feeding on the corn. We would go through a crib feeder in less than a week.

Since than we have modified the crib with 8 foot sections of hog fence. We drive fence posts in the ground and build a box out of the hog wire (small openings at the top, big openings at the bottom. The pheasants can walk right through the hog wire and the tweetie birds can perch on the little openings. The deer can only stick their head through a couple openings we made larger for the birds. the spacing is too close for the deer to jump over the fence. They won't even attempt it. They might get a cob or two but for the most of it they spend to much time trying to get food from it so they just go find another source.

Now the corn is strictly for the birds...

The neighbor has been putting out round bails for the deer. A current herd of 24 have been spotted eating these bails.

If you want to protect our pheasants you should put up hog wire and stop the deer from stealing all the corn.

If anyone is interested I can find some pictures

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rkhinrichs

no thats what we have! i dont thing we have a hog fence, but we have a fence around both of are feeders. its high enough (6 ft) so deer cant jump over the fence, but small enough so they cant land in the fenced in area. and there holes in the fence that the ROOS can walk through!

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pureinsanity

glad to hear then smile

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CodyDawg

we have feeders out right next to our big willow swamp and the birds arent using them at all. there are still birds there, but they dont use the feeders. also, i dont know how much i believe the part about predators focussing on feeders. We have had feeders out for years and i have NEVER even seen a predator track by one. Putting feeders too far out in the open can cause predation by owls, etc. I wouldnt hesitate to put a feeder out due to possible predation issues. Having said all that, winter cover is by FAR more important than feeders. Feeders are but a band aid.

One thing I would caution is going out and jumping these birds. The birds are stressed and if you cause them to fly, they are using valuable energy that they need. Save the wildlife viewing for later.

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pureinsanity

we have feeders out right next to our big willow swamp and the birds arent using them at all. there are still birds there, but they dont use the feeders. also, i dont know how much i believe the part about predators focussing on feeders. We have had feeders out for years and i have NEVER even seen a predator track by one. Putting feeders too far out in the open can cause predation by owls, etc. I wouldnt hesitate to put a feeder out due to possible predation issues. Having said all that, winter cover is by FAR more important than feeders. Feeders are but a band aid.

One thing I would caution is going out and jumping these birds. The birds are stressed and if you cause them to fly, they are using valuable energy that they need. Save the wildlife viewing for later.

Like you said above, if it is in the wide open than their will be areal predators in the sky. The fact that yours is close to good cover the predators will only try if they are desperate.

and you are correct winter cover is key, corn is just a band aid

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Dotch

Some winters like this one the feeder in the yard here gets used heavily. 2 winters back the squirrels & bunnies consumed far more ear corn than the pheasants ever did. Snow is deep this time around and it is an emergency measure. I've never considered it as anything more than that. Our yard happens to contain habitat the pheasants like and as some of the plantings we've done grow, the number of birds seeking refuge there has increased. When you see birds walking across the yard while shaving in the morning, that's a clue. We leave a sunflower/corn/sweet corn food plot every year but that got tapped early on and has been buried since late December. 2 years ago even the squirrels didn't get it used up. I think we need to be a little careful we're not denigrating people too much for their feeding efforts in a winter like this one, particularly if they don't have acreage to build habitat of their own. We all do what we can do, given the circumstances. That said, you also have to put your money where your mouth is. I antied up my PF sponsor membership again and have some ongoing wildlife habitat improvement projects for the spring & fall. This will include for the pheasants some winterberry and crabapple planting as well as a reconfiguration of the corner of the pasture where the plum and sumac can run farther on down the hillside. Best of all, all I have to do is move the electric fence. The plum and sumac will do the rest on their own. grin What are others doing?

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pureinsanity

Some winters like this one the feeder in the yard here gets used heavily. 2 winters back the squirrels & bunnies consumed far more ear corn than the pheasants ever did. Snow is deep this time around and it is an emergency measure. I've never considered it as anything more than that. Our yard happens to contain habitat the pheasants like and as some of the plantings we've done grow, the number of birds seeking refuge there has increased. When you see birds walking across the yard while shaving in the morning, that's a clue. We leave a sunflower/corn/sweet corn food plot every year but that got tapped early on and has been buried since late December. 2 years ago even the squirrels didn't get it used up. I think we need to be a little careful we're not denigrating people too much for their feeding efforts in a winter like this one, particularly if they don't have acreage to build habitat of their own. We all do what we can do, given the circumstances. That said, you also have to put your money where your mouth is. I antied up my PF sponsor membership again and have some ongoing wildlife habitat improvement projects for the spring & fall. This will include for the pheasants some winterberry and crabapple planting as well as a reconfiguration of the corner of the pasture where the plum and sumac can run farther on down the hillside. Best of all, all I have to do is move the electric fence. The plum and sumac will do the rest on their own. grin What are others doing?

My father started a chapter for a county. Ive been a part of pf since I can remember as a kid. 1986 I believe. I have had my share of blood sweat and tears in several habitats all over the county that you, me, our kids and their kids will be using for life! Helping at corn pick ups, helping at banquets, and attending many of the banquets and spending money for habitat. Every dollar donated is turned into additional money. So everyone needs to keep that in mind.

Good job on your habitat at your house! It is amazing how that helps.

When I was 7 years old I helped plant over 300 evergreens and other shrubs and such for the birds. 20 years later, the shelter belt is so thick and blocks all the elements out!

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MidwestArcher

Even the little things help in this crazy winter weather, My dad and I always try to keep up on feeding the pheasants in heavy snow by throwing corn out in the ditches where we normaly spot them hiding from the elements. over the years we've heard our county getting pounded with lower and lower numbers but around our block you wouldn't believe the numbers! and they are spreading out fast. Last day of the season we counted over 60 birds and that was un heard of a few years back. great to see that in midwestern wisconsin.

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rkhinrichs

your right if your going to have a feeder, you need good ground cover but also cover from the flying preditors, mature pine trees next to other key cover works well. but over all habitat/variety is the key, and a varity off food source is a great idea to!!!

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CodyDawg

my projects this year include adding about 9 acres of nesting cover to one of our farms. In addition, maintenance on the shrub and winter cover plantings in the form of thistle control and replanting any that died. Of course a food plot will be planted.

On the other piece, we have enrolled about 27 acres into CCRP so we will be planting nesting habitat and establishing a shelterbelt. Food plots are being expanded yearly on this place too. Of course, some of those are focussed on deer...butttt....a guy has to do what a guy has to do!

as far as supporting PF, I am the VP of our chapter and we get involved with habitat projects all over the county as well as youth education. In fact, tonite is our 3rd night of firearm safety training that I am teaching.

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pureinsanity

my projects this year include adding about 9 acres of nesting cover to one of our farms. In addition, maintenance on the shrub and winter cover plantings in the form of thistle control and replanting any that died. Of course a food plot will be planted.

On the other piece, we have enrolled about 27 acres into CCRP so we will be planting nesting habitat and establishing a shelterbelt. Food plots are being expanded yearly on this place too. Of course, some of those are focussed on deer...butttt....a guy has to do what a guy has to do!

as far as supporting PF, I am the VP of our chapter and we get involved with habitat projects all over the county as well as youth education. In fact, tonite is our 3rd night of firearm safety training that I am teaching.

Congrats! Thanks for all you do for helping make our kids futures better!

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