The numbers are in for the 2005 pheasant season — and they show a 50-thousand bird increase. But, Todd Bogenschutz of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources tracks the roadside surveys of the pheasant population statewide and was not impressed.
Bogenschutz says the numbers weren’t up quite as much as he anticipated, as he thought hunters would take 900-thousand birds and they only took about 800-thousand. He says things were fairly slow in the southern and east-central part of the state for hunters.
Bogenschutz says the survey numbers usually give a pretty good read of how many birds hunters will take. Bogenschutz says the survey is an index, not an exact science. He says the survey showed a 19-percent increase in the pheasant population — and hunters shot 17-percent more birds. While the 800-thousand birds is an increase over the hunt in the fall of 2004, Bogenschutz says it doesn’t match up to some of the best years.
He says it’s “definitely a subpar year” as he says the historical average is one-million to one-point-two million birds harvested. Bogenschutz says it’s the first time in Iowa history when a 10-year pheasant harvest estimate has fallen below one million roosters.
Bogenschutz says overall the pheasant season was average. He says while it’s nice to have things turn out better than expected, this season was just about what he thought it would be. The D-N-R estimates just over 136-thousand hunters took to the fields during the pheasant season — with 29-thousand of them from outside of Iowa.