Q: How is Minnesota's pheasant population being affected by the lack of snow this winter?
A: The lack of snow is a great benefit to pheasants. Pheasants rely heavily on waste grain in crop fields for food, which becomes buried under snow in severe winters. The DNR provides food plots on wildlife management areas, and some private landowners do the same, but only a small fraction of Minnesota’s pheasant population has access to food plots. Similarly, pheasants rely on grass, cattail and brushy habitat for winter cover. In severe winters, grass is buried in deep snow and not useful as cover. But in mild winters, cover is widely available. This should result in greater survival of birds over winter.
-Kurt Haroldson, assistant regional wildlife manager