BOONE - The first predictor of Iowa's fall pheasant population is in and the data suggests that one or two regions may see a slight increase in bird numbers.
"The nesting forecast offers a glimpse into how successful pheasant nesting will likely be based on weather data but the most reliable indicator for pheasant numbers is the roadside counts we do in August," said Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
"We are through the primary nesting season for pheasants and any pheasants that had their nest wash out or were otherwise unsuccessful will continue to try to nest for the next few weeks so there is still an opportunity for an increase in bird numbers," he said.
Statewide Iowa averaged nearly 38 inches of snow, which is more than 12 inches above the 1961-90 average. The state averaged an extra 1.6 inches of rain and was 1.3 degrees cooler than the average during the nesting season.
"The areas that had cover for the birds to escape the snow and rain will have better bird numbers come this fall," he said. "I expect we will have good hunting opportunities in the northwest portion of the state. There will likely be good hunting opportunities in north central and west central regions as well.
"The primary factors come down to weather, good quality habitat near food."
Results from the August roadside counts will be posted on the DNR's website around Sept. 1. Iowa's pheasant season opens October 29, and runs through Jan. 10, 2012.