Iowa’s annual roadside survey of small game animals, from pheasants to quail to rabbits, is now underway. DNR wildlife biologist Todd Bogenschutz says specially-trained crews will cover 210 routes across Iowa totaling about 5,000 miles during the coming two-week period. “It gives us a real good indication of what our small game populations are doing and what hunters can expect,” Bogenschutz says. “Mainly pheasant hunters are most interested in what’s going to happen this fall and how it compares to last year. The survey is our best statewide snapshot.”

He says it’s too early to predict what kind of season pheasant hunters will see. He notes, this past winter was quite harsh while many areas of Iowa had flooding this spring and summer — all of which could impact the various wildlife populations. “Most of our critters are fairly resilient so we’ll wait and see,” Bogenschutz says. “Right now, we’re thinking we’re going to see small declines or maybe populations real similar to last year.”

The roadside surveys first started in Iowa in the 1930s and were standardized in the 1960s. The survey began yesterday (Friday). The results should be ready by early to mid-September.

By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City