BOONE – Results of Iowa’s statewide survey of upland game are in and show a small gain in pheasant numbers in southern Iowa and fewer birds across northern Iowa. Overall, pheasant hunters will continue to find better hunting in Iowa’s pheasant belt – northwest, central and north-central Iowa, and a few more birds in south central and southwest Iowa.
The Iowa pheasant population has fallen to a new all-time low with a statewide average of 7 birds counted for each 30 mile route driven, after a fifth winter in a row with above normal snowfall, followed by a wet nesting season. The 2010 statewide average was 11 birds per route.
This drop in pheasant numbers is not restricted to Iowa. South Dakota pheasant population is down 46 percent; Minnesota was down 64 percent and Nebraska counted 20 percent few birds than last year.
“The last five years have been really frustrating for Iowa hunters and for the department,” said Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife research biologist for the DNR. “Plain and simple, we have lost hens and nests consecutively each of the last five years because of unprecedented weather patterns for Iowa.”
Parts of the northwest, north central, central and east central regions reported some fair bird counts in 2011, but small areas with better pheasant numbers may also be found in other regions. The 2011 pheasant hunting season runs from October 29 through January 10, 2012. The full roadside report can be downloaded from the DNR’s website at: