February 12, 2009

Pheasants Forever sets up feeding program

Some years pheasants in North Dakota seem as thick as grasshoppers. It’s easy to assume that they have the same survival mechanisms as all wildlife. A winter like this one is hard on all wildlife. The heavy snow makes getting to feed impossible for many animals, and the bitter cold makes getting enough food a daily challenge.

The pheasant population is especially hard hit in a winter like this partly because they are immigrants, and haven’t had time to adapt completely to North Dakota winters. According to Jim Bonderud this latest snowfall is the worst kind.

"We’ve lost a lot of birds already," Bonderud said. "Where they’re getting fed they’re getting by. With this wet snow and they’re saying 30 to 40 miles per hour winds, wet snow is what kills pheasants. The wind blows it up their nostrils and they suffocate."

Bonderud, a charter member of Pheasants Forever, said the group is working hard to get as many birds as possible through the winter. They’ve set up trailer loads of grain around the county so that individuals can access feed to put out for the pheasants. The group has a feed trailer set up in Beulah south of the Cenex station, in Hazen at the Elevator and in Pick City across the street from Scott’s Bait and Tackle.

It’s getting expensive. The group has spent $2,500 so far this year. With corn screenings costing $100 a ton it takes $180 to fill the trailer in Beulah. And they’re filling it two times a week. The group is hoping for donations from the public.

"I don’t know how long we can sustain this," Bonderud said. "We’ve had a few donations already. I got $180 donation from a guy in Hawaii that hunts here. He asked what a load costs (and said) he’d pay for a load."

The Weather Network