Sport hunters in the Hawkeye State had a terrible year last year when it came to small game. Department of Natural Resources biologist Todd Bogenschutz says it was a record season — but not in a good way.He says the state set an all-time record low harvest for pheasants, quail, rabbits and partridge. Bogenschutz says a loss of conservation reserve land, wet springs and a record snowfall two winters ago have been hard on small game. Bogenschutz had predicted the pheasant harvest would be around 600-thousand — the survey shows it was much worse at around 470-thousand.The big surprise was a 27-percent drop in Iowa residents who hunt. He says 70- to 80-percent of the small game hunters go after pheasants, and the number of home state hunters usually doesn’t vary much.He says the number of non-resident hunters also dropped 27-percent, but he expected that based on predictions the pheasant numbers would be down. Bogenschutz says the record warm temperatures this past winter bode well for the pheasant recovery.He says most of the birds that hatched out probably made it through the winter. Bogenschutz says the spring weather has been cooler this year, but the rain has been mixed.He says the southern portion of the state has been wet, but the north and west had been drier, and that should help the birds. The 2001 pheasant harvest dropped 53-percent from 2000. The new record low harvest was well below the previous record of 724-thousand set in 1984.
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