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13

To Feed or Not to Feed? Pheasants Forever Has Answers

Feeding ringnecks can have negative consequences, not long-term solution to winter survival

Saint Paul, Minn. – January 7, 2010 – From the Dakotas and Minnesota to Iowa and Illinois, much of the core pheasant range is experiencing winter's first real test due to recent heavy snowstorms and extreme cold. Naturally, many hunters and conservationists have found cause for concern regarding ring-necked pheasants' ability to survive, and ask "Should we be feeding pheasants?" Pheasants Forever has some careful considerations.

Habitat is the Effective Long-Term Solution

The key to carrying pheasants through the winter is quality thermal habitat. While this may provide no consolation this winter, consider that resources spent on establishing high quality winter cover will yield far greater results and the best winter survival rates down the road. The lesson to be learned from a tough winter is the need to plant more high quality thermal cover this spring. Start your habitat planning now!

"More than anything, feeding is reactionary to the winter, when the best thing we can do is be proactive about improving quality habitat," said Rick Young, Pheasants Forever's Vice President of Field Operations. "Unfortunately, many well-intentioned people who provide corn and other grains as food sources actually harm pheasants more than they help them."

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.

Contact Pheasants Forever Field Staff

To contact a Pheasants Forever representative in your area with your winter habitat or pheasant feeding questions, click here.

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are non-profit conservation organizations dedicated to the protection and enhancement of pheasant, quail, and other wildlife populations in North America through habitat improvement, land management, public awareness, and education. "The Habitat Organization" has over 125,000 members in 750 local chapters across the continent.

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