The hunters are home, the dogs are resting, and Iowa’s pheasant season opening weekend is in the rearview mirror. Statewide reports ranged from excellent in the north to good in central and southwestern Iowa, with the consensus that the hunt will continue to improve once all the corn is harvested.
Reports said hunters moved in large numbers, filling parking lots and field access roads.
“That’s the best number of birds we’ve had since I’ve been in east-central Iowa. I still see hunters today,” said Curt Kemmerer, wildlife biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Maquoketa Unit.
“Lots of hunters and lots of birds in central Iowa – a great opening,” said Capt. Matt Bruner, Iowa DNR Law Enforcement Office Supervisor for North Central. from Iowa.
“I counted 14 cars in a 475 acre area in northern Iowa. The guys I spoke to had seen birds but also commented on a lot more people than I have in the past” said TJ Herrick, wildlife biologist for Iowa DNR’s Clear Lake Unit.
“A lot of hunters on Saturday,” said Matt Dollison, wildlife biologist for Iowa DNR’s Nishnabotna Unit. “The number of birds was similar to last year. Hot weather and standing corn made the hunt a bit difficult.
Non-resident hunters were also plentiful, with hunters from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Nebraska and Ohio accounting for up to a third of the cars in northern Iowa parking lots.
These field reports reflected what the August annual road survey had revealed.
“Our bird numbers are similar to last year, which should make some people pretty happy,” said Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife research biologist at Iowa DNR. “I think we are set for a good year of pheasant hunting, especially in the northwest, mid-west and mid-north regions. Central too. Quail also looks great in southwest and south-central Iowa.
Iowa pheasant season runs through January 10, 2023.