The latest Iowa Department of Natural Resources roadside survey shows the pheasant populations across Iowa are nearly unchanged compared to 2006. D-N-R research biologist biologist, Todd Bogenschutz, says that’s good news considering the tough winter the birds had to endure.
He says he’s pretty happy with the numbers considering the March blizzard in the west, and then the ice storm in eastern Iowa, along with heavy rains. Bogenschutz says the hotspots for hunting should be about the same too. Bogenschutz says north-west, north-central and central Iowa still have the best densities of birds, with a few upward trends in north-east and east-central Iowa.
Bogenschutz says the surveys usually give a pretty good picture of what to expect when hunters take to the field. He says based on this year’s count, hunter will harvest between 700 and 780-thousand roosters. Last year hunters took about 750-thousand. Bogenschutz says one concern in the future is the amount of acres that’ll be taken out of the conservation reserve program. He says over 124-thousand acres of land will come out of the program October 1st.
October of next year another 215-thousand acres will come out of C-R-P, some 400 square miles, which he says will have an impact on the pheasant habitat. Most recent estimates show Iowa pheasant hunters have approximately a 150-million dollar annual impact on Iowa’s economy. The 2007 pheasant hunting season runs from October 27, through January 10, 2008. The full roadside report can be downloaded from the D-N-R’s webpage at:www.iowadnr.gov/wildlife.