2 The typical rooster pheasant weighs just under 3 lbs Up to 36 inches
3 Ring-Necked Pheasant The camouflaged hen up to 20 inches wings beat more than 3 times per second. 48mph at top speed.
4 Ring-Necked Pheasant Pheasants may fly a mile or more and normally level off at 25 feet.
5 Rugged Game Bird The pheasant is well equipped to withstand Minnesotas weathers if adequate cover and food are available. It is found in both rural and suburban areas. Pheasants are usually most abundant in farm country containing a mix of row crops, small grains, hay and pasture.
6 Rugged Game Bird Intensive farming has altered the ideal habitat mixture. Corn and soybeans cover the land during the growing season. In the winter, barren desert of plowed soil. Diet is corn, wheat, oats, soybeans, and wild plant seeds.
8 Rugged Game Bird A pheasant can survive a week without food even in severe weather conditions. The ring-neck is probably the least susceptible of all game birds to disease and parasites. Although pheasants are hardy most live less than one year.
9 Rugged Game Bird Winter storms, especially sleet followed by strong winds and cold temps can reduce the population by ½ in a matter of days. Predators such as the red fox, great horned owls, and large hawks take pheasants. Without adequate winter cover, pheasants seldom survive a severe storm.
10 Winter Cover During most winter storms cattail marshes provide good cover. Other cover in the order of importance is: Brushy river bottoms, farm shelterbelts with evergreens, brushy deciduous woodlots, and areas of dense shrub cover.
12 Pheasant Numbers The hen pheasant is the key to the ring- neck populations. The population can be sustained only when sufficient hens survive the winter and find safe nesting and brood cover. 1 rooster for 19 hens is enough for reproduction.
13 Pheasant Numbers Since the 60s-70s population has declined about 90% because of loss of safe nesting cover. Pheasants usually start nesting in late April or early May. 2 to 18 eggs are laid over a period of days. Eggs require 22 – 24 days of incubation. If hens are forced to abandon their nests, or if it is destroyed they will re-nest up to 5 times
14 Pheasant Numbers Re-nesting sometimes produces 50% of the years chicks. The chicks feed almost entirely on insects for the first month. They then switch to grasses and weed seeds between five and six weeks of age.
16 Pheasant Numbers About 40 –70% of the hens eventually raise a brood. The remainder are killed by mowers, predators, or just unsuccessful nester. Cover Requirements Pheasant cover requirements differ throughout the year. Safe nesting and winter cover are most important.
17 Necessary Cover Undisturbed grassland and/legumes provide cover for nesting, brooding, and loafing. Begin nesting as soon as new plant growth reaches 6-8 inches (peaks mid May) Today, because so much land in MN has been converted to row crops, un-mowed roadsides may be the most reliable source of safe pheasant nesting cover.
18 Necessary Cover Studies have shown that un-mowed roadsides may contain twice as many nests per acre as other kinds of nesting cover. Safe nesting cover must be undisturbed for at least 35 days and not be mowed until after July 31, if at all.
19 Aging Pheasants Normally, 7-9 out of every 10 roosters shot in the fall are young of the year. Young roosters have dull colored, blunt spurs less than ¾ in length. Adult spurs are shiny black, pointed, and over ¾ long. Another method that can be used is to grab the lower beak. If the beak bends the bird is a juvenile.
20 Habitat Management Currently MN has an estimated 40,000 square miles of pheasant range. Any useful pheasant habitat program must provide the basics. Undisturbed grasslands for nesting, brooding, and roosting. Large cattail wetlands (10 acres or more) and/or 10 or more rows of shelterbelts with evergreens for dependable winter cover. Corn or sorghum food plots adjacent to dependable winter cover.
21 Habitat Management Since 1983 MN pheasant hunters, 18 years or older, are required to purchase a $7.50 pheasant stamp. Funds generated by this stamp are used specifically for the Pheasant Habitat Improvement Program (PHIP) Over 85% of the PHIP funds are used for the habitat improvement programs.
22 Habitat Management This include: Roadside management, cost-sharing with landowners for undisturbed grassland cover, food plots, and large shelterbelts with evergreens. The remainder is used to encourage changes in federal farm legislation favorable to pheasants and for research and administration.
23 Habitat Management Currently the Pheasant stamp generates between $350,000 and $500,000 annually. The amount of money each county in the pheasant range receives for habitat improvements is based on: 1. % of land in public ownership 2. Amount and distribution of key pheasant habitat on private lands and the potential longevity of these areas
24 Habitat Management 3. Current pheasant abundance 4. Land rental rates for agricultural land 5. Private land use practices 6. Local government and citizen attitudes toward wildlife 7. Presence of an active Pheasants Forever or MN Pheasants chapter
25 Roadside Management About $100,000 stamp dollars and other wildlife funds go toward enhancing roadsides for wildlife. There is over 500,000 acres of roadsides in MNs pheasant range. Not mowing between April 1st-Aug 1st pheasant numbers can be 2-3 times higher.
26 Impact of Federal Farm Programs $20,000 of stamp money is used for development of federal farmland retirement programs. (CRP, CREP) This is important because studies have shown that farmland retired for more than one year results in an increase in pheasant #s.
27 Habitat Management Minnesotas pheasant population ranges between 15 and 50 birds per square mile in the fall. In the 50s and 60s, with more habitat, fall populations ranged between 50 and 150 per square mile