For many Iowans, a Thanksgiving Day pheasant hunt is as much a part of the holiday tradition as football, battling over the last turkey leg and an afternoon nap, and this year’s outing may be one of the best.
“North of Interstate 80, things are shaping up for the Thanksgiving holiday to have good pheasant hunting – our bird numbers are stable and the crop harvest was late - hopefully Mother Nature will cooperate,” said Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife research biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “Now is the time to get into the field.”
Iowa’s pheasant hunting outlook is similar to 2018 when hunters harvested an estimated 320,000 roosters – the highest in a decade. Bogenschutz said for those who’ve drifted away from pheasant hunting, this year would be a good time to restart the tradition.
“Everyone has time off and we’re all together so it’s a great opportunity to get outside, enjoy the fresh air,” he said. “Having spent many Thanksgivings hunting with my family, it’s just being together that makes the outing special. Bagging birds is usually a bonus.”
Iowa’s pheasant season closes Jan. 10, 2020.