Monday, July 30, 2012

IA Pheasant survey could be hampered by the weather


The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will begin conducting a roadside survey this week to determine what the pheasant population looks like across the state. D.N.R. wildlife biologist Todd Bogenschutz is predicting a significant increase in pheasant numbers for the first time in six years.

But, because of the drought, Bogenschutz is warning the roadside survey may not accurately reflect the bird population. “To get a really good count of the birds, we’re dependent on good dew conditions. For good dew, you need moisture in the soil and right now, we don’t have any,” Bogenschutz said.

“We don’t get very good counts of birds if we don’t have good dew.” Last week, the D.N.R. reported hunters in Iowa shot a record low number of pheasants last year. Around 109,000 pheasants were harvested in 2011 — the fewest since record keeping began in 1962.

Bogenschutz is expecting hunters will see more pheasants this year because of the recent mild winter. “We need about two more years just like this and we’ll probably get back to bird numbers that people expect in Iowa, but it’s going take more than just one year,” Bogenschutz said.

Iowa’s pheasant population dropped to record low territory in 2011 following five winters with above average snowfall and five wetter than normal springs. The D.N.R.’s annual roadside survey is scheduled for August 1-15. The 2012 pheasant hunting season will open October 27.

Complete RadioIowa article

Saturday, July 28, 2012

ND 2011 Pheasant Season Summarized - Harvest UP

More hunting opportunities meant more pheasants taken during the 2011 season, as last fall’s pheasant harvest was 683,000, up from 552,000 in 2010.

Aaron Robinson, upland bird biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said the overall landscape probably didn’t have more birds, but Mother Nature allowed for an increase in harvest due to mild weather conditions and minimal snow cover in November, December and early January.

“This is a prime example of how the harvest doesn’t necessarily reflect the overall population,” Robinson said. “We actually had lower production in 2011 than in 2010, but hunter effort made up the difference due to last winter’s exceptionally mild weather conditions.”
Statistics actually revealed the number of hunters declined 10 percent to 82,700. The number of resident hunters was down 5 percent to 58,200, while nonresident pheasant hunter numbers decreased 20 percent to 24,500.

“However, the determining factor is many hunters were able to enjoy good hunting conditions with mild weather through the last weekend of the season,” Robinson said.
Birds bagged per hunter increased from 6.0 to 8.3. Each hunter spent an average of six days afield.
Counties with the highest percentage of pheasants taken by resident hunters were Hettinger, 9.2; Burleigh, 6.4; Emmons, 6.0; McLean, 5.4; and Adams, 5.3.

Top counties for nonresident hunters were Hettinger, 24.9 percent; Bowman, 7.6; Emmons, 5.6; McIntosh, 5.2; and Divide, 4.5.

Annual pheasant season statistics are determined by a mail survey of resident and nonresident hunters.

Original ND Game and Fish Article

Friday, July 27, 2012

Iowa 2011 Pheasant Harvest Tops 100,000 Roosters - LOWEST since 1962

The 2011 Iowa pheasant harvest reflected what the roadside counts had predicted, that the population was down after five winters with above average snowfall followed by five wetter than normal springs.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources estimates that 109,000 roosters were harvested during the 2011 hunting season, the lowest since standardized estimates began in 1962.  Harvest was highest in the northwest region, followed by central and southwest.

The harvest estimate is based on a random survey of hunters. The survey is used by the DNR to estimate the number of hunters pursuing small game, hunter effort by species and harvest.

The survey collects data on quail, cottontail rabbit, squirrel, partridge, and mourning dove, in addition to pheasants.

According to the survey, an estimated 57,285 mourning doves were harvested during Iowa’s inaugural mourning dove hunting season.

Original Iowa DNR Article