Iowa’s most popular hunting season is going to be a little tougher this fall after one of the best years in a decade. Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist, Todd Bogenschutz says their survey finds a 34 percent drop in the pheasant population. Bogenschutz says poor weather is the culprit. He says the past winter was a little more toward normal, so the birds didn’t have the bonus of a warm winter. Then he says more importantly, we got rain right at the peak of the birds hatch. He says the state had rainfall in May that was about four inches above normal — and parts of the state had rain that was one foot above normal. Bogenschutz says hunters took over one million birds last year, and it was starting to look like a repeat performance until the skies let loose. He says we were looking good up until mid-May, and he says it could have been a “phenomenal” year, and then the rains started to come. Bogenschutz says this year will likely be similar to 2002 when the pheasant population was recovering from a disastrous year in 2001.He says things weren’t super, but hunters were generally happy in 2002. He says they had to work a little bit to find the birds and he says that’s what he expects this year. Bogenschutz says the best way to describe this pheasant season would be “spotty.” He says there’ll be spots that didn’t get the heavy rains where there’ll be a lot of birds, and then other spots that got heavy rain where you can’t find a thing. He predicts hunters will take 800 to 900-thousand birds. The pheasant season opens October 30th.
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