I have no idea what is going on out there but it sounds like your populations are doing well. Good for you guys. The people that I know that hunted pheasants in Colorado last year did a lot of complaining. I have never done it but I plan on giving it a whorl this year. I know of two private land owners that have really managed their properties well and have a ton of pheasants. Pretty much all the vegetation on the property is native and it is in amazing condition. Too bad neither of them allow people to come onto their properties for hunting. They both use pheasants as an indicator species for overall habitat and ecosystem health. The pheasants are doing amazing so I wish I could do a little population control.
I can't speak for New York, but I know that across the lake in Vermont, they have never seemed to take a foothold. I don't know if the agriculture there is not the right kind, or if it's too many predators and the snow in the winter, or what it is. Just have never seen one there, and heard about them very rarely.
My impression is that the pheasant populations are doing ok in southern New York State, but still can't seem to get established much north of route 90 due to winter kill. In my area, the birds are released every year and seem to get wiped out annually by predators and winterkill. I don't think I have heard of a single brood that was raised wild within 100 miles of me in the past decade.
I used to pheasant hunt in southern Iowa and like was said, they really went down the tubes, but the turkey hunting and great whitetails are unreal there now. I started going out to ND for pheasants and it is fantastic out there.
Understanding wind currents and thermals in hilly, broken terrain can often be incredibly frustrating. I've found that collecting and storing milkweed seed pods during the late summer has made me a better hunter in the bluff country that I hunt. These little feather like seed dispersers will float on the lightest of air currents and will show you what the wind is not only doing right at you're location but more importantly down range. I like to use the off season to float them...