A bill that has passed its first step in the Iowa Senate Tuesday would allow more farmers to create game preserves on their land to boost pheasant hunting in the state. The bill allows landowners to offer hunting on as little at 40 acres of land for pheasants, quail and partridges.
Senator Steve Sodders, a Democrat from State Center, says pheasant hunting has deteriorated dramatically in Iowa. “Farming has tore out trees we’re losing habitat. So, I think it’s much easier for someone with land out there to be able to find 40 acres along a certain waterway or tree line that they are not going to take out, as opposed to trying to take out a big chunk all in one spot,” Sodders says.
Current law requires landowners to have at least 320 acres of land for game preserves. Sodders says there are benefits for hunters and everyone else when the birds are released.
He says the owners put the birds out in the morning before the hunt. Some of the birds are going to get away, and they’re going to hunt some of them. Lack of habitat is one of the factors cited in the decline of pheasant numbers in the state, along with poor weather conditions that have hurt the development of young birds.