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IA – HUNTING – Pheasant Hunters Gearing Up For Highly Anticipated Season Opener

Statewide Iowa — Tens of thousands of hunters in blaze orange will take to the fields when Iowa’s pheasant season opens Oct. 31. And with pheasant populations on par with the best counts in the past decade, including six of the nine survey regions averaging more than 20 pheasants per route – the most since 2007, hunters can afford to be optimistic. “Given how things are lining up for the opener, the weather is the only thing that could throw a wrench in it,” said Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Success during last year’s opener was impacted by a delayed harvest where about 90 percent of the corn and 40 percent of the soybeans were still in the field. This year is the exact opposite with an estimated 65 percent of the corn and 90 percent of the soybeans have already been picked. The advanced harvest and uptick in the bird numbers is creating interest from pheasant hunters beyond the state’s border. Bogenschutz along with other Iowa DNR wildlife staff have been getting a number of calls from nonresident hunters interested in hunting Iowa after the good news from the August pheasant survey. “It definitely has people asking about our counts, investigating where the better areas are,” he said. Iowa’s annual August roadside survey found a statewide average of 20 birds per 30-mile route, an increase over 2019’s 17 birds per route. Hunting will be at least as good as last year when 52,000 pheasant hunters harvested an estimated 284,000 roosters.  [full article]

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