Two Iowa locations are ranked by Pheasants Forever among the nation’s top 25 locations for pheasant hunting. South Dakota is a popular hunting ground with six of the top locations, but Okoboji and the surrounding Great Lakes region is ranked ninth, and Le Mars and Plymouth County was rated at number 23.
The editors of the wildlife sportsman’s magazine says “Plymouth County and the northwest corner of Iowa currently provide the best pheasant hunting opportunities in the Hawkeye State.” Bob Puetz serves as Plymouth County’s Pheasants Forever chapter president.
“We have been known to have some of the best hunting around for quite awhile, other than South Dakota, so it’s kind of a surprise,” he says. Puetz says the ranking may help attract hunting tourism to the area.
He believes Plymouth County may have received the rating based on the local chapter’s efforts of constantly adding habitat acres for pheasants. Puetz says they are constantly trying to add more hunting ground and will have a surprise announcement soon on more land.
The state trend shows a decline in pheasant numbers, but Puetz believes the trend will reverse itself in Plymouth county.
“I think there were real good hatches this year. I think our opportunities are going to be better, we didn’t have a hard winter, we had a dry spring. I think the pheasants had a good opportunity to hatch,” Puetz explains. “I think there’s a possibility that we could actually see good pretty good numbers.”
Pheasant hunters overall in the state took a record low 109,000 pheasants in 2011.
By Dennis Morrice, KLEM, Le Mars