2014 Iowa Pheasant Harvest Increases 30 Percent

Written by Theresa Rose on July 7, 2015

Iowa’s pheasant harvest increased 30 percent in 2014 to an estimated 216,000 roosters, marking the third harvest increase in a row for the popular game bird. Hunter numbers also increased an estimated nine percent to more than 63,000 small game hunters in 2014.

The harvest and participation estimates are based on an annual survey of hunters following the season.

“I think some of our former pheasant hunters are taking the wait-and-see approach or our harvest could have been even better. Hopefully, they won’t stay on the sidelines much longer,” said Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources who led the survey.

Bogenschutz said he has received a lot of reports from people seeing roosters this spring leading him to think there were some missed opportunities last fall.

“Our August pheasant survey has increased three years in a row, indicating that the population is rebounding from the bad winter and spring weather from 2007-11,” he said.

Pheasants weren’t the only species to see a harvest increase in 2014, the quail harvest increased an estimated 23 percent, rabbit an estimated 28 percent, squirrels an estimated 23 percent and doves an estimated 17 percent. The survey asked hunters about partridge but the responses were too small to estimate accurately.

The August roadside survey provides the best population estimate for pheasants, quail, rabbits and partridge. The survey is conducted Aug. 1-15, over the same 217- 30 mile routes each year. Results are posted on the DNR’s website in early September.

“With the mild winter we had, 2015 could be our best fall in a number of years for pheasant and quail harvest,” Bogenschutz said. “Roadside counts will be interesting this year.”

Media Contact: Todd Bogenschutz, Upland Wildlife Biologist, Wildlife Bureau, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, 515-432-2823.

-30-

2015 Spring Turkey Harvest matches 2014

Turkey hunters harvested more than 11,400 Iowa birds this spring, which is nearly identical to the number harvested in 2014.

“This year it seemed like hunters fared pretty well during the first season, then the second season was kind of quiet, which is not surprising, and then there was less gobbling as the spring went on,” said Jim Coffey, forest wildlife technician with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Iowa’s five spring turkey seasons began April 4 with the youth season and ended on May 17. Hunters purchased nearly 51,000 spring turkey tags.

Coffey said hunters can help the DNR with collecting population information during its annual turkey count in July and August.

Make a note of the date and county in which you saw the turkey(s), if it is an adult female or adult male (males have beards on their breast), and whether there are young poults (baby turkeys), and then report the number online at http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/2115256/Iowa-Wild-Turkey-Reports.

Media Contact: Jim Coffey, Forest Wildlife Technician, Wildlife Bureau, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, 515-774-2958.