The annual survey by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources shows the pheasant population declined 22 percent over the past year. D-N-R wildlife biologist Todd Bogenschutz says the drop was unexpected. He says it’s “puzzling” that the count is down as the winter and spring weather were pretty good, but something has happened to hamper the pheasant reproduction.
Bogenschutz says the survey indicates a harvest that’ll drop compared to last year. He says it looks like we’ll harvest 700 to 750-thousand birds, down from last year’s harvest of 800-thousand birds. Bogenschutz says the roadside survey is usually pretty reliable in predicting the pheasant season future — but he says it’s not perfect.
Bogenschutz says it did appear that in parts of the state the broods were pretty large and a lot of broods were not with hens. He says some broods had birds that were already “coloring up,” an indication that the hatch was early, so it’s possible the survey was late and could be off.
Bogenschutz says there will still be lots of good pheasant hunting in parts of the state. He says they had better counts in north-central, central and northwest Iowa, and in west central and southwest the dry weather had counts down as much as 35 percent. Bogenschutz says you can see the entire survey at: www.iowadnr.com.
Related web sites:
See the Pheasant survey