(Lewis) Iowa's Pheasant season starts tomorrow and pheasant numbers remain low.
“I expect pheasant numbers to be very similar to what we experienced last year, and those numbers are low,” said Bryan Hayes, Southwest Iowa Fisheries Biologist. “The Iowa DNR does do the Roadside Survey every August and it showed a small increase here is Southwest Iowa. We were up to 7 birds per route, but that’s still a fraction of what historically we’re used to. We’re used to closer to 50 birds per route, so the numbers are low.”
Hayes says the weather is to blame.
“What we’ve been experiencing here in Iowa is snowy winters followed by wet springs and we’re five consecutive years of that,” said Hayes. “We’ve exceeded 30 inches of snowfall for five consecutive years and our Upland Biologist has never seen an increase in pheasant numbers following a winter when we had an excess of 30 inches of snow.”
The low Pheasant numbers also mean lower dollar numbers coming into the state. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in 1997, 205,204 Pheasant hunters spent around $80,304,260 in the state. That figure has dropped by 70-percent. In 2010, only 60,000 hunters spent just over 24-million dollars in the state.
The daily bag limit is 3 rooster pheasants with a possession limit of 12 roosters. Daily shooting hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.