Iowa’s pheasant season opens this morning and 50-to-60,000 hunters are expected to be in the fields statewide.

Iowa DNR wildlife biologist Todd Bogenschutz says a good season is expected, despite predictions of falling number of pheasants. “Our counts indicated the population was down about 30% but we’re not sure that’s completely accurate just because it was so dry in August when we did the count,” Bogenschutz says. “We don’t get the best counts when that occurs.”

There’s optimism, he says, for healthy populations of game birds.”We’re probably down a little bit but we don’t think we’re down 30%,” he says. “Hunters should see good numbers as far as pheasants. It may be a year fairly similar to last year. As far as quail in southern Iowa, it looks like quail are in abundance and quail hunting is going to be as good as last year and maybe a little better.”

Bogenschutz says weather is always a factor that can impact opening weekend, especially if the weather is effecting Iowa’s harvest season.

“When we started the season this month, it looked like crop harvest was going to be well along and then we got a bunch of rain and slowed it down, so standing crops could be an issue in portions of the state,” he says. “I know parts of the state are moving right along and other parts don’t have much out at all yet.”

There are no major rule changes for hunters this year. One of the primary rules remains, hunters are required to wear at least one item of clothing that’s at least 50% blaze orange. They’re also reminded to get permission if they plan to hunt on private property.

The hours for hunting daily are from 8 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. and the season runs through January 10th. Learn more at

(By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)