Iowa Pheasant Numbers Up

posted by WMT News/KCRG-TV9 - 

BOONE, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- A population survey of pheasants, quail, partridge, cottontail rabbits and jackrabbits is predicting pheasant hunters will have a good year.

State wildlife experts say Iowa's pheasant population has increased in every nine-county region except northwest, where the numbers are similar to last year.

“We weren’t sure what to expect from the survey this year because the spring weather was all over the board and it likely impacted some nesting success,” said Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife research biologist for the Iowa DNR.

The survey found an average of 21 birds in every 30-mile route, which means there are an estimated 250,000-300,000 roosters expected this fall.

The Iowa DNR conducted the survey by using 218 30-mile-routes across the state from August 1-15.

Bogenschutz said if you had a good hunting season last year, you can expect the same or better results this coming year. In 2017, there were an average 15 birds per route.

He said the quail and cottontail rabbit populations are also high.

He said quail range is across the southern third of the state and rabbits are found in all parts of Iowa, with the most populations in east-central and southern regions.

As for partridge, the population is very similar to last year, with the highest populations in central and northern parts of the state.

The only animal from the survey that the DNR found to have numbers fall are jackrabbits, as the landscape shift from producing small grains and fields of short grasses to larger fields could have impacted their numbers.

Seasons for the animals are as follows: Pheasant season: Oct. 27 to Jan. 10, 2019Quail season: Oct. 27 to Jan. 31, 2019Partridge season: Oct. 13 to Jan. 31, 2019Cottontail rabbit season: Sept. 1 to Feb. 28, 2019Jackrabbit season: closed.

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