Biologist says Iowa’s pheasant numbers likely down


June 18th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Department of Natural Resources biologist says Iowa’s pheasant population likely will decline this year because of the cool and wet spring. DNR upland wildlife biologist Todd Bogenschutz says Iowa’s pheasant population usually increases after mild winters and dry, warm springs. This year, a snowy winter was followed by record-setting cold temperatures and rain. Because of those conditions, Bogenschutz says the pheasant population will likely be smaller than in 2012.

Habitat also has been an issue for the pheasant population, as high commodity prices lead more farmers to grow crops rather than set aside land for wildlife under the federal Conservation Reserve Program. But Bogenschutz says Iowa has made progress in creating more habitat for pheasants through an effort to set aside 50,000 acres of land to aid the birds.