Iowa’s most popular hunting season begins Saturday. Pheasant hunters take to the field with reports that pheasant numbers will be down a little due to some wet-rainy spring weather. But, Rod Slings of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says there’ll be plenty of ringnecks available as they anticipate between 800 and 900-thousand birds harvest by 130-thousand hunters. Slings heads up the D-N-R safety bureau, and says pheasant hunters have to add orange to their hunting attire this year. He says Iowa’s new law requires the orange for hunters of upland game birds, which include: pheasant, hungarian partridge, quail, rough grouse and woodcock. Slings says the orange requirement is designed to make it easier for hunters to see each other. You have to wear at least a cap, hat, vest, coat, jacket, sweatshirt, sweater, shirt or coveralls that has material that’s at least 50 percent blaze orange. While the blaze orange is a requirement, Slings says some common sense safety is important to a good hunt. He says you always want to remember who you’re hunting with, you’re hunting with your family and friends and he says that’s “critically important.” In 2003, Iowa hunters shot just over one million ringnecks with continued a rebound from 2001 when the harvest of 470-thousand hit an all-time record low. He says the year before last there were five hunting related incidents, and last year there were 15. He says the number of hunters went up and consequently, the number of injuries went up.A U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service survey from 2001 estimates Iowa pheasant hunters spent over 53-million dollars in the state. That same survey said the impact of the money on the economy had a multiplier effect that hit nearly 97-million dollars.
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