Pheasant hunters’ harvested nearly 320,000 roosters in Iowa during the 2018 season, which was the highest harvest total since 2008. In 2017, hunters harvested an estimated 221,000 roosters.
“The 2018 roadside survey showed our pheasant population was 39 percent higher than in 2017, so we were expecting an improved pheasant harvest,” said Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “We’re glad to see the increase in hunter success, but based on our pheasant population, we should see harvest numbers in excess of 500,000 birds. The primary factor holding our harvest totals down is the lack of hunters. Even with a positive forecast last year, we saw a four percent drop in the number of pheasant hunters.”
The harvest and participation estimates are based on the results of a random survey of licensed hunters following the 2018-19 hunting season.
Iowa’s quail harvest followed the same trend. Hunters harvested an estimated 47,000 quail last year, which was the highest total since 2007. The quail harvest increase was also expected based on the August roadside survey.
“For comparison, we had a similar quail population in 1995, but five times the quail hunters. They harvested an estimated 250,000 quail,” he said.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos has announced that the DEC is accepting applications for sponsored pheasant hunts.
The program enables interest groups to obtain pheasants for use in sponsored hunts to engage more people with the outdoors, especially youth, women, novices, veterans, and people with disabilities. Applications to participate in the program are due Sept. 1.
“Sponsored pheasant hunts are a perfect opportunity for experienced hunters to introduce novices to New York’s longstanding tradition of pheasant hunting,” Commissioner Seggos said. “Participants are taught important skills, hunting safety, and ethics, and have a memorable experience outdoors thanks to the time and commitment of the volunteers who put these great hunts together.”
Sponsored hunts are free, non-competitive events coordinated by a group, club, individual, or organization. Dedicated local sportsmen and sportswomen share their expertise with beginning hunters in a supportive environment. This program gives individuals the chance to embark on a lifelong pursuit of hunting and outdoor enjoyment.
In addition to the pheasants reared for fall stocking throughout New York State, staff at DEC’s Reynolds Game Farm raise 2,000 pheasants each year for sponsored hunts across the state. DEC provides up to 50 game-farm-raised pheasants to each sponsoring organization free of charge for these hunts.