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2018 pheasant season off to a good start

Three weeks into the pheasant season and hunters are finding success similar to the August roadside survey forecast – good hunting in central and north central Iowa; spotty hunting in southern Iowa.

Southern Iowa success – or lack thereof – has likely been influenced by the amount of corn still in the field. According to the most recent survey, southwest Iowa has completed 78 percent and south central 83 percent of the corn harvest. Statewide, the corn harvest is estimated at 91 percent complete.

“If you can find a CRP field or a wildlife area next to a corn field that had just been harvested, you will find birds that haven’t been hunted much and I would expect there to be really good hunting. I wouldn’t pass up that opportunity,” said Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife research biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Thanksgiving and pheasant hunting have been paired like pumpkin pie and whipped cream for generations and this year is setting up nicely. While pheasant hunting has been going well, success with quail has been lagging. But that might change with the onset of cold weather.

“Cold weather will put quail into coveys and in the habitat where we expect to find them,” Bogenschutz said. “Our bird numbers are good. Spend a day or two with your family outdoors hunting and don’t be afraid to knock on doors to ask for permission. Landowners are pretty receptive.”

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