Tricounty News

Pheasant habitat

Good cover battles cold winter nights

Winter nights are a freezing

15 hours long, and it is certain the pheasant will be ravenous by breakfast time. The 10 grams of food in its crop at bedtime passed through the bird in four to five hours. When the crop is empty, the pheasant still has 10 hours of darkness till breakfast.

During these long nights, the availability of roosting habitat is extremely important to the pheasant. Thick standing grass, shrubby transitional areas, shelterbelts or cattail sloughs are all areas where birds can spend their nights. The quality (thickness and height) of this habitat determines how much energy the birds need to stay warm ... in the same way that the quality of your windows and insulation determines how high you need to set your home thermostat to stay warm.

Without good roosting cover in which to spend their winter nights, the birds must use more fat to survive until breakfast. A couple weeks of cold, 15-hour nights without any roosting cover will reduce energy levels to the point of killing pheasants.

Minnesota pheasants rarely starve, but they do die from exposure to the elements.

Join us July 22-24, 2011 at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center in Lanesboro to learn how to establish youth outdoor programs in YOUR chapter.

The PF/QF No Child Left In-doors initiative is dedicated to working with members, chapters and our conservation partners to provide opportunities for youth and their families to share our outdoor traditions and develop a conservation ethic.

Registration for the 2011 "Focus on Forever" conference is open to all who share our goal and are passionate about providing outdoor opportunities to kids and their families. Here are just a few examples of sessions that will be offered at the 2011 Focus on Forever Conference:

* How to Teach Wingshooting Skills

* Starting a Youth PF or QF Chapter

* Leopold Education Project (LEP) Activities

* Outdoor Adventure Clubs for Families

¥ Young Guns Ð Using Shooting Sports to Build Stronger Chapters

* Providing a QUALITY Mentored Hunting Experience

* Habitat Projects for Kids

* Building Your Confidence as an Instructor

* Catching Kids on Angling