Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Iowa’s 2019 pheasant population steady statewide North Central UP 14% West Central UP 18%

Iowa’s pheasant hunters should expect to find a similar number of birds as last year, with the exception of south central and southeast Iowa, where the pheasant population decline was more significant.

Based on the August roadside survey, Iowa’s statewide average is 17 pheasants per 30 mile route, down from 21 per route last year.

“The survey shows a population similar to last year for most of the state and based on those results, pheasant hunters can expect 2019 to be a near repeat in most regions of 2018,” said Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife research biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

He said hunters shouldn’t avoid hunting areas with lower counts, but rather focus on hunting the best available habitat.  “Hunting areas where there’s good habitat next to a food source should increase the chance for success regardless of where you’re hunting in the state,” he said.

The 2019 roadside index is nearly identical to 2008, when hunters harvested almost 400,000 roosters.

“Unfortunately even though this year’s roadside index is the same as 2008, our pheasant harvest will only likely be 200,000 roosters rather than 400,000.  Why? Because of the lack of pheasant hunters,” said Bogenschutz. “In 2008 we had 86,000 pheasant hunters, this fall we predict we’ll have 50,000 hunters – we have the bird population to harvest close to 400,000 birds, but we don’t have the hunters to harvest them.”

Iowa’s quail population was down 36 percent from last year. Iowa’s quail range is across the southern three tiers of counties.

The full report is available at Iowa’s pheasant and quail seasons open Oct. 26.

Late winter, lousy spring hampers reproduction, opening day success
The two factors that determine Iowa’s pheasant population are  weather and habitat. Iowa’s pheasant population dip is likely due to a combination of hen mortality from a late arriving cold and snowy winter followed by nesting failures from the cool spring and record setting rainfall in May.

That wet spring could pay benefits down the road to hunters who cannot get to the field until after opening day.

Farmers who faced significant planting delays in the spring will likely have a later than normal harvest. Hunters should expect to see standing crops when the season opens, making hunting more difficult early.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Iowa Pheasant, Quail, Rabbit, Dove and Partridge Harvest All Increased In 2018

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.

Monday, August 5, 2019

New York State DEC accepting applications for FREE sponsored pheasant hunts

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.
Read the full article for more information