Sunday, September 28, 2014

Iowa – Pheasants Numbers Up 151 percent, at Six-Year High

Iowa pheasant hunters received some good news recently. Bird numbers are much higher than expected. Nesting success was good. 

Iowa’s pheasant numbers have rebounded to a six-year high, says Todd Bogenschutz, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ upland wildlife research biologist.

The state’s August roadside survey indicates a pheasant index up 151 percent as compared to last year.
“It appears many hens were successful at nesting even though it was a cooler than normal spring,” Bogenschutz said. He adds poor roadside count conditions the past two seasons also contributed to an underestimation of the population the past couple seasons.

“More hens on the landscape than we thought, combined with a good nesting effort this year, has helped pheasant numbers rebound to a six-year high,” he said. “Last year, 41,000 hunters harvested 166,000 roosters.

While bird numbers are nowhere near heyday levels, Bogenschutz says hunter numbers and hunting pressure has really declined which means there are underutilized hunting opportunities statewide.

“Hunters should be pleasantly surprised by the improved bird numbers in parts of Iowa,” he said. “Hunters need to focus around areas with good winter cover and grassland nesting habitat.”

Governor Dayton Announces Plans for Minnesota Pheasant Summit

Later this year, Governor Dayton will convene hunters, farmers, conservationists, and other stakeholders to discuss strategies to increase the state’s pheasant population
ST. PAUL, MN – Last night at the Pheasants Forever Chapter 844 banquet in St. Paul, Governor Mark Dayton announced plans to convene the state’s first-ever Minnesota Pheasant Summit. The Summit, to be held later this year, will include hunters, farmers, policymakers, conservationists, other stakeholders, and key members of the Governor’s Cabinet. It will focus on strategies to increase the state’s pheasant population, improve pheasant habitat, and ensure future generations of Minnesota hunters have the opportunity to enjoy one of the state’s most popular and iconic game birds.
“For almost 60 years, I have enjoyed pheasant hunting in Minnesota,” said Governor Dayton. “But the decisions we make today will determine whether future generations of Minnesotans will have those same opportunities. I look forward to convening this Minnesota Pheasant Summit, and developing strategies to improve the pheasant population in our state.”
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) expects Minnesota hunters will bag an estimated 200,000 pheasants during this fall’s hunting season. And this year, hunting conditions will be better than last year. According to the DNR, the state’s pheasant population index is up 6 percent over 2013.
Despite this slight increase, the state’s pheasant population is still 58 percent below the 10-year average, and 71 percent below the long-term average. The Minnesota Pheasant Summit, to be held after this year’s hunting season concludes, will discuss why the pheasant population has declined in Minnesota, and what collaborative efforts can be undertaken to improve pheasant habitat statewide.
Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will release more information about the date and location of the Minnesota Pheasant Summit in the coming weeks.
A life-long pheasant hunter, Governor Dayton launched the state’s first-ever Governor’s Pheasant Opener in Montevideo in 2011. Since then, the Governor has hosted pheasant openers in Marshall (2012) and Madelia (2013). On October 10th and 11th of this year, Governor Dayton will host the fourth annual Governor’s Pheasant Opener in Worthington. These events have brought attention to the sport of pheasant hunting, dedicated acres of new public hunting lands in four Minnesota communities, and brought Minnesotans together to celebrate one of the state’s time-honored hunting traditions. 

Wild pheasants will be coming to Pa. from the West this year


It looks like the Pennsylvania Game Commission won't have any problems this year procuring wild pheasants to stock in its Hegins-Gratz and Franklin wild pheasant recovery areas.

According to John Dunn, acting director of the agency's Bureau of Wildlife Management, western states, where wild pheasant numbers took a nosedive in recent years, are seeing a resurgence in bird numbers this year.

"The pheasant populations are up this year, in most of the Midwestern states in particular, and in Montana and South Dakota and North Dakota," he told commissioners at their recent meeting in Harrisburg.

"So in talking with the South Dakota pheasant biologist, biologically he sees no reason that would prevent them from trapping birds for us this year and getting us 300 to 600 – particularly around towns where they don't allow hunting."

Dunn also noted that he recently was in contact with biologists in Kansas and that they also conveyed positive reports about pheasant numbers.

"That is another possibility for us, so right now we have three potential possibilities to get wild pheasants – working with the Indian reservation in Montana, South Dakota and Kansas," he said.

Friday, September 26, 2014

30k Pheasants to Be Released in NY

Approximately 30,000 adult pheasants will be released on lands open to public hunting for the upcoming fall pheasant hunting season, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced.

The pheasant hunting season begins on October 1 in northern and eastern portions of New York, October 18 in central and western portions, and November 1 on Long Island.
“The Day-old Pheasant Chick Program provides additional opportunities for pheasant hunters,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens.

“Pheasant hunting opportunities have also been augmented by private landowners who have opened their land to public hunting. DEC is grateful for their help in providing a high-quality hunting experience for New York’s sportsmen and sportswomen.”

A list of statewide pheasant release sites and sites receiving birds for the youth-only pheasant hunt weekends can be found at:

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

NY DEC Announces Release of Pheasants for 2014 Hunting Season

Approximately 30,000 adult pheasants will be released on lands open to public hunting for the upcoming fall pheasant hunting season, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. The pheasant hunting season begins on October 1 in northern and eastern portions of New York, October 18 in central and western portions, and November 1 on Long Island.

"The Day-old Pheasant Chick Program provides additional opportunities for pheasant hunters," said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. "Pheasant hunting opportunities have also been augmented by private landowners who have opened their land to public hunting. DEC is grateful for their help in providing a high-quality hunting experience for New York's sportsmen and sportswomen."
Since 2007, DEC has offered a special youth-only season to provide junior hunters (12-15 years old) the opportunity to hunt pheasants the weekend prior to the regular pheasant hunting season. In western New York, the youth pheasant hunt weekend is October 11-12. In northern and eastern New York, the youth pheasant hunt weekend is September 27-28, and on Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk counties) it is October 25-26.

Pheasants will be released on a number of selected release sites across the state to provide ample hunting opportunities for junior hunters. All current pheasant hunting rules and regulations remain in effect during the youth hunt. Please note that due to new legislation that changed the start of the license year from October 1 to September 1, either a 2013-14 hunting license or a 2014-15 hunting license can be used to hunt during September this year. A 2014-15 license is required starting October 1.

All release sites for pheasants provided by state-funded programs are open to public hunting. Pheasants will be released on state-owned lands prior to and during the fall hunting season, and thanks to a partnership with New York City Department of Environmental Protection, at a number of sites on New York City Watershed lands. A list of statewide pheasant release sites and sites receiving birds for the youth-only pheasant hunt weekends can be found on DEC's website at:

The program was developed in the early 1900s to provide day-old pheasant chicks to cooperating 4-H groups and sportsmen and sportswomen. The chicks are distributed to program participants in May and June, and cooperators incur all costs associated with rearing the birds, including feed, water, utilities and facility construction. The birds are raised to adulthood and released on lands open to public hunting before the season opens. This year, about 40,000 pheasant chicks were distributed statewide as part of this program. For more information about DEC's day-old pheasant rearing program, please see: Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program on DEC's website. Those interested in raising and releasing pheasants to expand next year's hunting opportunities can contact DEC's Reynolds Game Farm at (607) 273-2768.

Boundaries for pheasant hunting zones conform to Wildlife Management Units used for management of other upland wildlife. Wildlife Management Unit boundary descriptions can be found on DEC's website. In addition to knowing these unit boundary descriptions, hunters should review the 2014-15 New York Hunting & Trapping Guide for complete regulations and other important information before going afield. Hunters who plan to use private lands should ask permission from the landowner.
In support of the NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, this year's budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have not reached their full potential. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state's fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State.

For information on below visit DEC's website:

Monday, September 22, 2014

KS Upland bird numbers on uptick

Biologists with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism — with help from other entities — monitor upland bird populations by looking at breeding populations and reproductive success via roadside surveys, crow and whistling counts and lek observations. The overall news is good and pointed back in a positive direction. However, due to a limited breeding population in most areas resulting from the extended drought, harvest figures will likely be below average. Here’s a detailed look at what the 2014 Upland Bird Forecast revealed for Kansas.

Pheasant breeding populations have shown a decline for the last three years because of drought but stabilized this spring in all areas except the Northern High Plains. Rains last summer helped conditions in many areas but lacked in the fall and winter, resulting in poor winter wheat production heading into the nesting season this spring. Spring rains came and habitat conditions improved by stimulating the growth of weeds, insect emergence and better brood-rearing conditions. Rains also delayed the wheat harvest in many areas. All of these factors had a positive impact on production and resulted in a 70-percent, statewide increase compared to 2013 figures.

Improved hunting opportunities should be the norm, but given that the pheasant population was at an all-time low last year it might take another year or two for numbers to rebound to pre-drought levels. Kansas will have a below average harvest again for 2014, but will still have one of the highest harvest figure in the country as Kansas typically ranks among the best. The areas with the most significant increase should be the Smoky Hills Region.

For a more detailed look and regional breakdown of the 2014 Upland Bird Hunting Forecast, check out

Hiring - Pheasant Research Technician – Nebraska

Description: One temporary field technician is needed to assist graduate research of ring-necked pheasant behavior and habitat use and hunter movement in Southwestern Nebraska. The technician will assist with nightlighting within the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s Southwest “Focus on Pheasant” area. Primary duties will be capturing wild pheasants and attaching radio collars. The technician will also conduct hunter surveys and monitor hunter movements. Work requires physically fit individuals capable of working through the night in adverse conditions. Successful applicants will be highly motivated, have an enthusiasm for field work and have the ability to work both independently and as part of a team.

Qualifications: Knowledge, skills, and abilities
- Ability to collect detailed data efficiently and accurately both independently and as part of a team
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills
- Interest in hunting and human dimensions
- Experience handling wild birds is preferred

Physical requirements
- REQUIRED: Technicians must have excellent physical fitness and hand-eye coordination
- Technicians will be required to work an erratic schedule including nights, early mornings, weekdays, weekends, and holidays in a rural area of Southwestern Nebraska under potentially adverse weather conditions (extreme heat, cold, rain, snow, hail)

Special licenses or certifications
- A current driver’s license with fewer than 6 points is required
- Current first aid and CPR certification is required prior to employment
- All applicants are subject to University of Nebraska-Lincoln hiring requirements including mandatory driving record (past 5 years) and criminal background checks

Supplemental information
- Shared field housing in Culbertson, NE is provided
- Salary: $1500-$1800/month

- Positions are temporary and grant funded

Friday, September 19, 2014

CA SHARE Program to Offer Fall Hunts for Pheasant

SHARE is offering waterfowl, dove and pheasant hunts on the wildlife management area at the Merced Wastewater Treatment Plant. The property is located five miles south of the city of Merced with 300 acres open for hunting. Tucked between sloughs and agricultural fields, the seasonal pond and wetland area provides cover and forage for waterfowl, dove and pheasant.

For more information about each SHARE property, the opportunities available and how to apply for the hunts, please go to

A non-refundable application fee of $11.06 will be charged for each hunt choice. Hunters with a valid California hunting license may apply through the Automated License Data System (ALDS) by visiting

The SHARE program has partnered with the California Waterfowl Association (CWA) to offer public hunting opportunities on private lands for fall hunts. California Waterfowl’s Hunt Program has expanded and is now offering additional hunting opportunities, including the recently acquired Goose Lake Wildlife Management Area located approximately eight miles south of Kern National Wildlife Refuge. For a full description of the hunts offered through CWA and step-by-step instructions on how to apply, visit CWA online at

These hunting opportunities are made possible by the SHARE Program, which offers incentives to private landowners who allow wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities on their property. Participating landowners receive liability protection and compensation for providing public access to or through their land for wildlife-dependent recreational activities. The goal of the SHARE Program is to provide additional hunting, fishing and other recreational access on private lands in California.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Kansas 2014 Pheasant Forecast - Most areas have improved


After three consecutive years of statewide declines, the spring breeding populations stabilized in 2014. The only region showing a significant decrease was the Northern High Plains. Late summer rains that fell across much of the state in 2013 improved vegetative cover. However, the remainder of the fall and winter produced little precipitation and a majority of the winter wheat was in poor to very poor condition coming into the nesting season, creating less than optimal nesting conditions. 

Precipitation returned in mid-May and continued through most of the summer. Despite the tardiness of the rainfall, conditions still improved greatly. And precipitation delayed wheat harvest, stimulated the growth of annual weeds, and promoted insect emergence, creating better nesting conditions and excellent brooding conditions throughout much of the state. These factors all had a positive impact on production, and combined for a statewide increase in the summer brood counts by 70 percent when compared to 2013. This increase should offer an improved hunting opportunities this fall although given that the population was at a modern day low, a few good years will be required for full recovery. Kansas will again have a below-average pheasant harvest this fall. Kansas still contains one of the best pheasant populations and the fall harvest will again be among the best in the country. The best areas this year will likely be in the Smoky Hills region.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

ID Youth pheasant hunters can join a free hunt

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are putting together quite a deal for youths ages 11 to 15 - show up with a hunter safety card and a valid hunting license, and a willingness to learn, and nearly everything else is taken care of for free.

The hunt will take place Oct. 4 on a 2,100-acre private ranch near Weiser. If sign-ups exceed available spots, organizers will repeat the hunt on Oct. 5.

To sign up, call Chuck Robinson at 473-4997 or email

Participants will gather at 8:30 a.m. at Weiser River Ranch, and the event is scheduled to end around 4:30 p.m. Hunters should wear warm clothes and shoes capable for hiking.

Pheasant Hunting Dream in Harvey, N.D.

By Bob & Ginny Riege

Have you stepped back in time? Or are you watching some movie that has come out of the 1950′s? The answers to your questions is summed up in two words; North Dakota.

Allow me to back up a bit and tell you how I found out about this paradise. A very good friend of mine, Jason Mitchell from Jason Mitchell Outdoors and resident of North Dakota called one day in the middle of the summer and said. “Bob you have got to get yourself out to Harvey, North Dakota.” The excitement in his voice told me that I should put down my ice tea and listen. “I’m telling you that it is like it use to be when we were kids growing up. You will see at least 300 pheasants in a day and you can’t believe it, but seriously the sky will turn black with birds.”

Now I have hunted pheasants in Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, South Dakota and even Nebraska for over forty years, and I have been on some good shoots, but really 300 pheasants a day? This guy has been out in the sun to long. So to sooth my friend I told him that I would see if I could fit it into my schedule for October. I figured that right after duck opener and just after the beginning of pheasant season would be a good time to get my Irish Setters on some real active birds. So, with a pause in my speech, I told Jason that I would give Nicki Weissman Job Development/ Economic Development Director and CVB Coordinator of Harvey, North Dakota a call.

I took the opportunity of the slow summer fishing season to sit down one evening and call out to Harvey, ND to talk to Nicki Weissman. What I heard on the other end of the line was remarkable. She told me that a number of goose, duck and pheasant hunters had visited Harvey last year and that their success ratio was outstanding. In our conversation, I asked; “Why is this area so good for waterfowl and upland game?” The answer from Nicki was a simple one word; “Habitat.”

Throughout the area around Harvey, North Dakota there are places that hold pheasants in huntible numbers. There are private lands with scattered potholes and sloughs or woody draws that provide good places to hunt. These prairie potholes provide an excellent sportsmen’s paradise with a plethora of ducks and geese.

Public lands, (Lonetree Wildlife Management Area 25,730 acres) whether game production areas or waterfowl production areas, which are managed by the state or federal government, are also excellent spots for hunters to look for a few roosters, sharp tailed grouse, or Hungarian partridge. In fact, a hunter would be hard pressed to hunt this entire WMA in a lifetime.

We met Nicki Weissman and Mike Jensen from North Dakota Department of Commerce at JW’s restaurant for breakfast. JW’s specializes in awesome omelets, and lunch specials that will keep you going all day long. More importantly, this is where many of the locals go and it is a good place for nonresidents to make contact with landowners and community members. This is where traditions are born. Traditions are something that Harvey, North Dakota has to offer especially when it comes to hunting in the fall. Harvey, North Dakota has hunting rooted in the traditional family methods and it is carried on from generation to generation.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

MN 2014 Walk-In Access Maps Now Available

Walk-In Access (WIA) Program

...providing public hunting opportunities on private lands thanks to volunteer landowners.
  • Hunters must purchase a WIA Validation to legally hunt WIA Sites this fall. Purchase Online or by phone: 1-888-665-4236 (ELS CODE 190)
    It is a nominal $3, a portion of which covers the license transaction with the remainder to be used for a hunter evaluation next year. The validation will also give DNR and policymakers a way to track the number of hunters whom hunt Walk-In Access sites. Landowners cannot give others permission to hunt without a validation.
  • Walk-In Access sites are open during any legal hunting season from Sept. 1 to May 31. Please respect private property and verify public hunting areas by observing boundary signs.
  • Clay County WIA #55 is within the Clay County Game Refuge and is closed to waterfowl hunting during the regular season. Open to all other hunting.
  • Walk-In Access sites (WIA) are only open to hunting where WIA boundaries are posted with WIA signs. Landowners may opt out of the program, and will be reflected in the Online Atlas and the WIA County Interactive Map.
  • Only walk-in hunting traffic is allowed on enrolled acres. "No target practice, trapping, dog training, camping, horseback riding or fires are allowed by the public. The landowner retains the right to engage in, or give permission to engage in hiking/dog walking on a leash, trapping, camping, horseback riding, or campfires, and other limited activities that do not impede public hunting." No vehicle traffic is allowed. Parking is along roads or in designated parking areas.
  • Hunters must follow the Code of Conduct This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it. developed for WIA lands.

Find a WIA Interactive Map

See WIAs for Clay County See WIAs for Becker County See WIAs for Otter Tail County See WIAs for Wilkin County See WIAs for Grant County See WIAs for Douglas County See WIAs for Traverse County See WIAs for Stevens County See WIAs for Pope County See WIAs for Big Stone County See WIAs for Swift County See WIAs for Kandiyohi County See WIAs for Meeker County See WIAs for Lac Qui Parle County See WIAs for Chippewa County See WIAs for McLeod County See WIAs for Yellow Medicine County See WIAs for Renville County See WIAs for Redwood County See WIAs for Lincoln County See WIAs for Lyon County See WIAs for Brown County See WIAs for Blue Earth County See WIAs for Pipestone County See WIAs for Murray County See WIAs for Cottonwood County See WIAs for Watonwan County See WIAs for Jackson County See WIAs for Martin County Click on a county in the map to bring up detailed maps of WIAs

WIA tools

ALL WIA sites will OPEN to Public Hunting Sept 1, 2014.

WIA maps & data

All map data and map products (including Google Earth, Google Map, and GPS files) are general and do not accurately represent the actual legal or established boundary of these areas, and thus should be used for reference only. Please respect private property and verify public hunting areas by observing boundary signs.

Check the MN DNR website for updates

Monday, September 8, 2014

MN 2014 Pheasant population up slightly

Despite a short-term increase in the number of Minnesota pheasants, habitat loss continues to be the primary factor in the long-term decline of the state’s pheasant population, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The DNR’s August roadside survey for pheasants showed a six percent increase in the pheasant index from 2013, an increase that occurred in spite of a severe winter, a slow start to spring and heavy rains in June.

This year’s statewide pheasant index was 28.7 birds per 100 miles of roadside driven. The highest pheasant counts were in the southwest, south-central and west-central regions, where observers reported 28 to 62 birds per 100 miles driven. Hunters will find good harvest opportunities in these areas.

Read the full DNR report

PA Youth pheasant hunt registration opens for limited spots statewide

Nearly 30 sportsmen's clubs across the state will offer mentored youth pheasant hunts on Saturdays, Oct. 11 and 18, which also are the first and last days of this year's youth-only pheasant hunting season. Registration, which can be done only through the Pennsylvania Game Commission website, must be done by Wednesday, Sept. 17.

The action-packed hunts are held under tightly controlled conditions, providing the young hunters with an exciting taste of hunting with high degrees of success and safety.

The hunts all are held on lands open to public hunting, and the Game Commission will provide about 3,000 pheasants to be split among 28 conservation groups to stock for the hunts. The commission stocks another 15,000 pheasants statewide ahead of the junior season, and this year plans to release more than 200,000 pheasants across Pennsylvania.

The hunts are for youngsters between the ages of 12 and 16 who have successfully completed a Hunter-Trapper Education course. Youngsters taking part are not required to purchase a license, but they must wear the necessary amount of fluorescent orange and be accompanied by an adult as required by law.

They also must adhere to Pennsylvania's long-standing daily bag limit of two pheasants. In some of the state's wildlife management units, only cock pheasants may be harvested.

Oregon Dept of Fish and Wildlife to offer classes for beginning pheasant hunters

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is offering a number learn-to- hunt workshops and free youth pheasant hunts this month at E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area north of Corvallis.
See for the full list of workshops.Pre-registration is required at most events; visit ODFW’s license sales page to register.

Participants also need to purchase a hunting license, upland game bird validation and HIP validation before the class.

Adult resident prices are $29.50 for an annual hunting license and $8.50 for an upland game bird validation. There is no fee for HIP validation. Prices are reduced for participants age 17 and under. Licenses and validations can be purchased online or at a license sales agent.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Traveling Wingshooter 2014: Pheasant Forecast SD, ND, IA, CO, OK, KS, IA, IN, MN, MT

by Dave Smith

The Southern High Plains could be the sleeper region for pheasants, where, like Kansas, Colorado and Oklahoma appear poised for a post-drought rebound. Colorado's pheasant population declined by 66 percent from 2011 to 2014, but the eastern plains received good moisture this spring and summer, according to Ed Gorman, Colorado Parks and Wildlife. However, Gorman noted the drought was so severe it will have a long-lasting impact on the quality of CRP cover, as it shifted habitat from beneficial warm-season grasses and forbs to cool-season species such as smooth brome. In Oklahoma, pheasant production was expected to be good due to excellent habitat conditions this spring and summer, according to Scott Cox, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

South Dakota and North Dakota also look markedly better than last year, when they were hit with cool and wet spring conditions. According to Travis Runia, South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks, weather conditions were favorable for pheasant production over most of South Dakota's primary pheasant range from late April through June. Runia expects reproductive success to be good in areas where large blocks of nesting habitat remain. Stan Kohn, North Dakota Game & Fish Department, reports a similar trend in North Dakota with warmer temperatures than last spring and good moisture coming on the heels of a mild winter. Pheasant crowing surveys were up six percent statewide from 2013 counts. Kohn's main concern was the two to six inches of rain that hammered southwestern North Dakota in June while chicks were hatching to 10 days old.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Wisconsin Interactive Pheasant Hunting Tool - Mapping

The Fields & Forest Lands Interactive Gamebird Hunting Tool (FFLIGHT) was designed to help upland gamebird hunters locate cover suitable for ruffed grouse and woodcock, managed dove fields and properties stocked with game farm pheasants.

In recognition of the passion with which these hunters pursue upland birds and to help make their time in Wisconsin's outdoors more productive and enjoyable, the Wisconsin DNR has developed the Fields and Forest Lands Inventory Gamebird Hunting Tool.

Launch desktop
Launch mobile

This tool allows hunters to quickly locate:
  • cover suitable for ruffed grouse and woodcock
  • fields managed for mourning doves
  • properties stocked with pheasants by the DNR
For instruction on how to use this great new tool please view this brief tutorial that highlights and shows how to use all these features.

Launch tutorial

Mapping application features

DNR stocked pheasant properties - This feature identifies state-owned properties that are stocked with game farm pheasants. For additional information on pheasant hunting and stocking please visit pheasant hunting.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Iowa’s 2014 Pheasant Population Highest Since 2008

Iowa’s annual August roadside pheasant count recorded the highest number of birds since 2008, with a statewide average of 17.4 birds per 30 mile route.

This is good news for Iowa’s beleaguered game bird and better news for small town businesses selling gas, food and hunting supplies.

“I thought the western third of the state would do well because it had below average snowfall, but based on the weather model, the rest of the state should have been status quo. Obviously it did much better than that,” said Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and coordinator of the pheasant count. “The weather model is right 80 percent of the time, but not this time.”

The routes are driven at sunrise on gravel roads preferably on mornings with heavy dew and little wind. Surveyors watch for hens moving their broods to the road edges to dry off before starting to look for insects.

For purposes of the roadside count, the state is divided into nine climate regions and most regions had numerous routes with really good counts, most often near the best pheasant habitat. A map showing the distribution of the better pheasant counts is available at

“We most likely had more birds in 2012 and 2013 but they were missed on our roadside counts due to drought conditions not providing an accurate picture. Northeast Iowa is still dry and likely has more birds than the 2.7 birds per route recorded this year,” he said.

Last year, a record low 40,000 hunters pursued pheasants and based on this year’s roadside index, they could harvest more than 250,000 birds.

“We will definitely have some good hunting near the best habitat,” Bogenschutz said. “It’s not the good old days but it’s the best we’ve seen in six years. Is this enough to bring some hunters back? Success usually spreads quickly by word of mouth and that may bring others out. We’ll have to see.”
Iowa’s youth pheasant season is Oct. 18-19. Regular pheasant season is Oct. 25-Jan. 10.

Pheasant weren’t the only species to do well, quail, partridge and rabbits also showed increases.  To find the complete roadside report visit:

“Everything did well this year,” Bogenschutz said.

Pheasants respond with good habitat

Well managed habitat is critical for a recovery.  Read the rest of the KIAWRadio article