Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Now that winter is here and upland hunting season is over, many hunters and conservationists like myself are concerned with Ohio’s dwindling population of ring-necked pheasants, and the birds’ ability to survive should we face a harsh winter. Some ask, “Should we be feeding pheasants?” Pheasants Forever, of which I am a card-carrying member, has some answers to that question.The organization’s biologists say the key to carrying pheasants through the winter is quality thermal habitat. While this is no consolation this winter in places where such habitat has not been established, 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. Which means it’s time to start 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, according to Pheasants Forever:• 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.To contact a Pheasants Forever representative in your area with your winter habitat or pheasant feeding questions, visit pheasantsforever.org. To order seeds for Ohio planting to benefit pheasants, visit pheasants-forever.myshopify.com/collections/ohio.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 including 22 here in the Buckeye State.If you want to learn more about promoting pheasant populations in your area, I offer the following local contact information for PF chapters and rep throughout the state.Franklin County: Charles Antonides, [email protected]; (614) 390-4822; greatercolumbuspf.comUnion County: Larry Wright, [email protected]; (614) 565-0117Deer Creek: Andrew Bosworth, [email protected]; deercreekpf.org/Marion County: Joe Schelb, [email protected] County: Deb Roberts, [email protected]pfofficers.org; (937)407-1012Knox County: Christopher Fletcher, [email protected]; (740) 599-6617Wyandot County, Chad Baker, [email protected]; (419) 294-3396Southeastern Ohio: Jessica Milligan, [email protected]; (740) 438-7503seohiopf.orgCrawford County, Eric & Jodi Honaker, [email protected]; (419) 563-0406Hardin County, Tom Kier, [email protected]; (419) 634-0824Miami County: David Garlow, [email protected]; (937) 440-8048; miamicountypf.orgAshland County: Gordon Garling, [email protected]; (567) 203-2879Clinton/Highland County: Maxine Carson, [email protected]; (937) 402-4079Seneca County: Val Gillig, [email protected]; (419) 934-3891;senecacountypheasantsforever.org/Hancock County: Mark Plesec, [email protected]; (419) 722-6771Auglaize County: Mark Langsdon, [email protected]; (419) 394-7486Darke County: James McClurg, [email protected]; (937) 526-8216Mercer County: Constance Stachler, [email protected]; (937) 548-5068Black Swamp: Nick Langhals, [email protected]; (419) 236-3450North Coast: Tim King, [email protected]; (440) 888-9072Erie/Ottawa/Sandusky: Jessica Brough, [email protected]; (419) 277-8483Butler County: Donald L. Streit, [email protected]; (513) 319-3850.