Low Pheasant Count Anticipated This Year - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Low Pheasant Count Anticipated This Year

By: Jason Rantala

@jarantala

jrantala@myabc5.com

The number of pheasants for hunting season will again likely be under average, the Iowa DNR says.

Each August, DNR employees across the state drive 200 separate, 30 mile routes to count pheasants.

The DNR says we've tended to see less pheasants since 2007 for two reasons: Bad weather and less habitat. 

While 2012 saw the first pheasant increase in five years, 2013 looks to be particularly bad.

This winter and spring have seen a record 17 inches of snow and 15 inches of rain, likely translating to low numbers for pheasants once again.

DNR Wildlife Biologist Todd Bogenschutz says the low numbers have a large economic impact.

Good pheasant years bring in more than $200 million each year to the state. Bogenschutz says sub par years drop that number by about half, to just more than $100 million each year.

The DNR says one way to improve pheasant numbers is to increase and improve their grassy habitat. The Department of Agriculture recently granted 50,000 acres for the areas.

While pheasant and partridge numbers will likely be low, the DNR says cottontails and quail may actually be fairly plentiful this year, since they are less affected by wet weather.

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