The results from the DNR’s annual roadside survey show a 15% increase in the number of pheasants counted this year. Wildlife research biologist, Todd Bogenschutz says they counted 23 birds for each route.

“Our best, best statewide average since 2015, so I think it’s going to be a good fall,” Bogenschutz says. Iowa’s weather has a big impact on pheasant numbers, and Bogenschutz says a mild winter coupled with a good spring weather for the hatch are paying off.  “Dry spring, fourth one in a row, usually bodes well for nesting. So, we put it all together, we kind of thought populations would go up. And that’s kind of what the roadside counts showed,” he says.

Bogenschutz says we’re probably looking at a harvest of around 300 to 400-thousand roosters this year, which would be one of the better seasons.
“For the most recent 10 years, you know, it’s going to be right up there with one of the better ones over the last decade,” Bogenschutz says. “As we go way back to the 1960s, of course we had way more habitat back then and way more hunters, and so our harvests were a lot higher, you know, we had upwards of 200,000 hunters and we’d shoot anywhere from one million to two million birds.”

The hunter numbers this year will be around 60,000.  “I think for the habitat we have and hunters we have, success should be pretty dang good this fall,” he says. The youth pheasant season is October 21st and 22nd. The regular season opens on October 28th and runs through January 10th, 2024.

Radio Iowa