The wait is nearly over for bird hunting enthusiasts in Iowa. The 2007 pheasant season opens on Saturday. Todd Bogenschutz is a wildlife specialist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in Boone. Bogenschutz says hunters shot about 750,000 roosters last year and he expects similar numbers this year.
The DNR is reporting that bird numbers are average to very strong across central, north central, and northwest Iowa. In the southwest, pheasants have declined by 37 percent compared to last year. Pheasants may have plenty of cover on opening weekend.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture reported on Monday that 59 percent of the state’s corn crop had yet to be harvested. "That may reduce opening day success (for hunters) a little bit, depending if farmers can get in the fields this week," Bogenschutz says of the standing corn. "But, those birds are still there later in the season, so it can actually provide a little better hunting later too."
An estimated 120,000 hunters are expected to take part in the opening weekend of the pheasant hunting season, which runs through January 10. DNR regulations allow hunting daily from 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.