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.
I've spent countless hours either on my hands and knees or bent over, messing up my back, looking for blood. One such instance I remember most was a hog hunt a few years ago in Mississippi. I had never shot a hog so when I poked a hole in this guy; I was determined to find him. Wearing snake leggings, I crawled on my hands and knees through the briars and the brambles and bushes where a rabbit wouldn't go. I found a spot of blood here and there but never the pig. And lucky for me, I didn't find...