LAKE CITY, Iowa — The cold has harshly impacted people this winter, but the weather has also threatened the survival of Iowa pheasants.
“It was below zero. Pheasants were all sitting there huddled up freezing, looking like they were going to die any minute, so I went and got some corn and threw it out,” said Gus Macke, a Pheasants Forever member, and also a car dealer in Lake City. “Came back a half hour later [and] the corn was all gone, so in the last two weeks, I’ve been feeding them all the time. Now the minute you pull up, they fly, they’re gone, they’ve turned back into wild pheasants again.”
Macke’s nephew, Tony, has worked with the Pheasants Forever volunteers to help secure three wagon loads of corn. The wagons were placed at locations around Calhoun County where people could bring buckets to get corn to feed the pheasants.
“The response from the people that are physically watching it happen is just overwhelming,” said Tony. “It’s a good deal … Once in a while we have to help them out. They help us, we help them.”
Tony said that due to Facebook and word of mouth, people were picking up corn almost right after they put the wagons out last Wednesday.
“Literally at 3:30 we put the wagon here last week. By 4:30, we’d already had a dozen people that had come out and got corn,” said Tony. “The pheasants can dig through snow, there’s no doubt there, but when they get down to an inch of ice, Mother Nature is thrown them a bad deck of cards this year.”
Tony Macke said they hope the weather will improve soon so that the grain would not be needed.