March Winter Weather Socks Pheasants Again
Two mild winters in a row were not in the cards. Iowa’s winter seemed mild through middle February, but March was the coldest since 1975 and snowiest since 1998, according to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship weather report for March. Only northwest Iowa had below normal snow fall amounts.
Statewide, Iowa received an average of 31.3 inches of snow from Dec. 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013, an increase from 17.4 inches for the previous winter.
What does that mean for Iowa’s pheasants?
In years following similar amounts, there was little improvement in pheasant numbers. The next critical time period is spring nesting season.
If April and May are above normal for temperature and normal to below normal for rainfall, pheasant counts may increase. If temperatures are below normal and rainfall is above normal, pheasant counts are likely to decrease.
While this is a statewide perspective based on weather and population change, the northwest region with below normal snowfall is an area where increases could be expected with a good spring.