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.
Out here in Colorado, and in the units that I haunt, it is a tricky game to figure out how far to pack in on a rifle hunt. You want to get away from the masses that have moved game away from the roads but might want to stay close enough that you are taking advantage of the animals forced movements. There is no universal distance but I like the 1.5 to 4 mile range for day hunts where I am not planning on bivying out. This keeps you in that productive buffer zone where the animals are really...