By Esme Murphy

By Esme Murphy, WCCO-TV

ALEXANDRIA, Minn. (WCCO) — With this cold winter even wild birds are struggling for food.

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Near Alexandria, the hunting group, Viking Sportsmen, is trying to help. But, feed prices are at record highs.

The pheasants being raised in pens on Roger Wittmer’s game farm in Osakis are nice and plump, he said.

“This year, the wild birds are wanting inside the pens because they have it pretty nice inside the pens. They got all the food they want to eat,” Wittmer said.

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This year, Wittmer is also putting feed out for wild pheasants, even song birds, who are all struggling.

“I’ve talked to a few people who say they have fed twice as much this year as they did last year, when it comes to song birds. You can see that translates to game birds, too,” he said.

Every snowy winter throughout central Minnesota hunters put out feed for wild birds to help them get by, but this year the price of corn has gone up to $6.50 a bushel — nearly three times what it usually is.

The hunter’s group Viking Sportsmen has been asking for donations to help feed game birds. Pheasant hunting has become big business in the Alexandria area and hunters are determined not to let high prices and heavy snow change that.

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If you’d like to help, head to the Viking Sporstmen’s website.

Esme Murphy