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Thread: Pheasant Travel Distance

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Posts
    844

    Default Pheasant Travel Distance

    So, some of you have heard me mention already that in some of my favorite areas, very little corn or soy beans got planted due to all the water.
    I know pheasants will eat any number of things, but as we get closer to winter, their preference turns to corn, beans, sorghum/milo.
    Whether the crop is standing or has been picked, it's easy food.
    Standing crops also provide cover.
    The bugs & much of the "green stuff" they might eat all summer long are either gone or extremely difficult to get at.
    Corn provides the nutrition they need to get through a hard winter. (I've heard beans are really difficult to digest, yet they eat them a lot.???)

    I'm beginning to think that even though pheasants hatched in a great field & thrived there all summer long, 1 of 2 things are going on now:
    1. They've migrated & found new roosting cover near corn/beans. (In my hunting areas, this could require moving several miles.)
    or....
    2. They're travelling great distances daily from roosting cover to corn/beans & back. (Maybe this is 1.5-3 miles???)

    What are your thoughts? Is anyone else thinking this is going on? How far will a pheasant family migrate (if at all) in order to be near corn/beans? Or how far will they travel daily to get it, only to return to the same roost?

    Been hunting these infernal birds nearly 40 years & don't know the answers. Never really had to worry about it. Food sources & roosting cover have always been virtually adjacent to one another.
    "Most pheasants in South Dakota don't react too well to #5s." -The Hunt for Red Rooster

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    487 miles from home in northeast Oklahoma
    Posts
    55

    Default

    Excellent question. I don't know the answer, but my simple brain says they will "migrate" some distance to find the Holy Trinity: food, water, shelter, not necessarily in that order.
    And once they find it, they migrate no more.

    How far? I've read one article say over 5 miles. Will they fly 1-2 miles away and see what they find? I can easily see that happening. How many times have we watched birds fly 1/2 mile or more after they busted out of cover?

    One more thought: pheasants probably aren't going to go great distances between food and cover unless they're forced to. It just doesn't make sense. Higher exposure to predators, greater burn of energy traveling 2 directions especially if they have to fly. Makes more sense that once they find what they need, they'll roost up somewhere relatively close to food, within the food if possible or so close they can walk to it.

    My $0.02. I'm interested in other's opinions too!

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vammy View Post
    Excellent question. I don't know the answer, but my simple brain says they will "migrate" some distance to find the Holy Trinity: food, water, shelter, not necessarily in that order.
    And once they find it, they migrate no more.

    How far? I've read one article say over 5 miles. Will they fly 1-2 miles away and see what they find? I can easily see that happening. How many times have we watched birds fly 1/2 mile or more after they busted out of cover?

    One more thought: pheasants probably aren't going to go great distances between food and cover unless they're forced to. It just doesn't make sense. Higher exposure to predators, greater burn of energy traveling 2 directions especially if they have to fly. Makes more sense that once they find what they need, they'll roost up somewhere relatively close to food, within the food if possible or so close they can walk to it.

    My $0.02. I'm interested in other's opinions too!
    If they fly a mile or 2 when flushed they will travel double that 2 eat if needed. I watch pheasants fly a mile easy to roost while I am in the stand deer hunting.

  4. #4

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    I've never seen a pheasant fly more than a mile
    I think they roost within a half mile of chow. They are interesting birds, and sometimes I feel bAd about killing them.They are fun to watch!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    487 miles from home in northeast Oklahoma
    Posts
    55

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    Quote Originally Posted by westksbowhunter View Post
    If they fly a mile or 2 when flushed they will travel double that 2 eat if needed. I watch pheasants fly a mile easy to roost while I am in the stand deer hunting.

    Yup; I've definitely watched pheasants fly off into the horizon after flush until I couldn't see them anymore. Easily more than a mile. And have watched them pile into a slough in the evening a few years ago; closest food was probably just under a mile away.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vammy View Post
    Yup; I've definitely watched pheasants fly off into the horizon after flush until I couldn't see them anymore. Easily more than a mile. And have watched them pile into a slough in the evening a few years ago; closest food was probably just under a mile away.
    Flying a mile, IS A LONG WAYS! I agree, they will go a mile for chow.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Goosemaster View Post
    Flying a mile, IS A LONG WAYS! I agree, they will go a mile for chow.
    Not all for a pheasant in western Kansas. They might run a mile, flush, then fly a mile.

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