Pheasant rooster along fence.

Pheasant rooster along a fence.

State wildlife officials don’t have complete numbers yet, but early indications are the state’s pheasant population has solidly recovered from several down years and hunting season is off to a great start.

DNR wildlife biologist Todd Bogenschutz says there were no reports of any pheasant hunter injuries, while weather conditions varied across Iowa for the opening weekend.

“It was a little wet, especially on the eastern side of the state, but the temperatures were cooler which probably worked well for both the dogs and the hunters,” Bogenschutz says. “We had some fairly good reports around the state.” Bogenschutz says hunter numbers were up for the first weekend.

“In northwest Iowa, there were lots of hunters and lots of good reports,” he says. “Down here in central Iowa, it was the same thing. That band continued over into Washington and Louisa County and then we had reports from up in the northeast where things weren’t quite as abundant but people still saw birds.”

Around 50,000 hunters participated in Iowa’s pheasant hunting season last year, up from 40,000 the previous year. Bogenschutz says we may hit 60,000 or more this year. Iowa’s pheasant hunting season runs from October 31st to January 10th.

(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)