A statewide survey by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources shows the pheasant population has increased for the second year in a row. DNR wildlife biologist Todd Bogenschutz oversees the annual roadside survey. He says better winter weather helped.
“We had a really good winter this past winter, our snowfall was below normal and that brought a lot of the hens that we produced last year through the winter and into this spring, so statewide we saw the counts jump up another 37 percent,” Bogenschutz says. Bogenschutz says the pheasant survey numbers vary in different parts of the state. The bird numbers improved last year after several years of decline, and he says that’s renewed enthusiasm in pheasant hunting.
“There was a lot of buzz last year, we had more hunters come back and our harvest jumped up and we had a lot of good reports from regions of the state — especially central and northwest, north-central and southeast,” Bogenschutz. Bogenschutz says he expects the good survey numbers will bring out more hunters this season. “I think we will probably have a few more hunters and I think success will be a little bit better — and at least in some regions it will be kind of what we expect for Iowa,” Bogenschutz.
The pheasant hunting season will start October 31.
(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)