It appears this winter will go down as one of the coldest and wettest in Iowa history. The long winter has taken a toll on the state’s wildlife population. Todd Bogenschutz with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says it’s been difficult for pheasants, deer, squirrels and other animals to find food.
"Winters that have a lot of snow and long periods where the ground is white tend to be tough winters. This winter had both of those, particularly on the eastern side of the state," Bogenschutz said.
The DNR pays special attention to the pheasant population because the birds are so important to hunters. "We could experience 60 percent loss of our pheasant population in east-central Iowa and other areas that got heavier snow," Bogenschutz said. "If you go up in northwest Iowa or near Omaha, we’re only seeing 30 percent (loss)." Bogenschutz says the situation could improve by the time pheasant hunting season opens in October.
"If we have a good spring, birds have the potential to make a recovery from some of those winter losses," Bogenschutz said.