Pheasant hunting season opens Saturday in Iowa, but hunters may not see many birds. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources reports pheasant numbers could be down 18-percent compared to last year. Todd Bogenschutz, a wildlife biologist with the DNR, says the population decline isn’t surprising.
Five consecutive harsh winters followed by wet springs previously led to a drop in pheasant numbers between 2007-2011. Bogenschutz expects the forecast for another decline this year could lead to fewer pheasant hunting licenses being purchased.
The pheasant hunting season runs from October 26 through January 10.
He notes hunters will likely have better luck later in the season as nearly half of the state’s corn crop has yet to be harvested.
The best pheasant numbers, according to Bogenschutz, can be found in areas of northwest, north-central, and central Iowa. Hunters shot roughly 158,000 pheasants last year. That compares to 109,000 pheasants harvested in 2011 – which was the lowest number since the state began keeping track in 1962.
(Photo Courtesy Of Iowa DNR)