The Livingston County Chapter in Action

Did you know that the Livingston County Landowners and Operators have planted and maintained over 10,000 acres of grassed waterways in the last five years? The Livingston County Chapter has been one of the leaders among Illinois Chapters of Pheasants Forever.

Filter strips are grassed lanes along streams, creeks, wetlands, drainage ditches and rivers. They filter sediment, fertilizer, and pesticides from storm runoff water and generally help improve overall water quality and wildlife habitat, either as nesting cover or winter cover in the country.

Most filter strips are 66 to 72 feet wide. They are usually planted with a mixture of Smooth Bromegrass, Alfalfa and Timothy. Warm season grasses also can be placed on filter strips and provide better winter cover. The seed is provided to landowners free of charge from the Livingston County Chapter of Pheasants Forever.

The USDA will pay you cash payments each year for 10 to 15 years for planting filter strips. The strips are also eligible for a reduction in real estate taxes by trimming the assessment to 1/6th of the cropland rate. Contact us at (815) 383-1640 if you have any questions about this program.



Pheasant History & Facts

The pheasant, like many Americans, is an immigrant to North America. The first successful introduction of pheasants to this country occurred in 1881 when Judge Owen Nickerson Denny (US consul to China) shipped 30 Chinese ringnecks (26 survived the journey) to his home in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Eleven years later Oregon opened a 75-day season and hunters bagged 50,000 pheasants. They were subsequently released in 40 of the 50 states. The pheasant thrives in a farmland landscape with ample (20%+) undisturbed grassland habitat. Pheasant populations increased and reached all time highs in the mid-1900s before suffering severe population declines.

To better understand why populations declined so rapidly, one must understand the Pheasant life cycle and the habitat requirements of the pheasant, as well as how the landscape was changing throughout that time.

Pheasant Facts

  • Imported to the United States: 1881
  • Location of initial release: Willamette Valley, OR
  • Average hen weight: 2-2.5 pounds (20 in.)
  • Average rooster weight: 3.5-4 pounds (36 in.)
  • Flight speed: 38-48 mph
  • Favorite foods: Corn, seeds, insects
  • Preferred habitat: Undisturbed grass
  • Average nest initiation: Early May
  • Average incubation start: Late May
  • Length of incubation: 23 days
  • Average first hatch: Mid June
  • Average clutch size: 12 eggs
  • Average nest success: 40-60%
  • Average hen success: 50-70%
  • Average rate of chick survival: 50%
  • Major nest predators: Fox, raccoon, skunk
  • Major adult predators: Man, fox, hawk, owl
  • Survival-mild winter, good habitat: 95%
  • Survival-severe winter, good habitat: 50%
  • Survival-mild winter, poor habitat: 80%
  • Survival-severe winter, poor habitat: 20%
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