The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

June 19, 2013

Pheasant population outlook 'dismal'

OTTUMWA — Hunters may have some trouble finding pheasants this fall.

Pheasant numbers are expected to decline this year, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

"Following a harsh winter, which is what we had, combined either singly or in combination with cool, wet springs results in very low production," said Wapello County Conservation Board director Kurt Baker. "One of those things alone can diminish annual production, but when we have both of those things, which it seems like we have every year anymore, it's a double whammy."

The ever-declining pheasant population is "dismal," Baker said.

"For upland game hunters, it's going to be very tough, very frustrating," he said.

There will be some small pockets of the birds, but those pockets are critically dependent on high-quality habitat.

"Without nesting, brooding and winter cover ... without those three components, numbers are going to be way down," he said.

Anytime rainfall exceeds 8 inches during the nesting period in April and May, production substantially declines.

As of Monday, Wapello County had already seen 25.39 inches of rainfall this year, according to the National Weather Service in Des Moines, just 2 inches less than the total rainfall for the entirety of 2012.

Wet springs prove troublesome for pheasants because often, their only nesting cover is in waterways, so when there's excessive rainfall, their nests are flooded and destroyed and the hen has to re-nest.

"And right after the eggs hatch, these things are little cotton balls, with downy feathers that absorb moisture," Baker said. "Those first two weeks, they're extremely open to chilling, hypothermia and then death."

Baker wonders how much longer the pheasant population can survive the repeating harsh winters and rainy springs.

"If you stack three- and four-year spans together where you have harsher winters and cool, wet springs, it's hard for any production to occur," he said. "It could knock this population down even further, and that would be pretty much catastrophic to the remaining pheasants in southeast Iowa."

Text Only
Local News
  • Pedersen: Spec. Ed. students should count ELDON — If you're going to publish graduation rates, stop excluding some children who are doing well. "In some ways, I think it's a little upsetting to the parents of a child who has a physical handicap or is otherwise [in special education], that th

    April 23, 2014

  • 0424 OTT Pennsylvania construction B&W photo -M -T Penn Ave. construction begins Thursday OTTUMWA — Motorists are advised that Pennsylvania Avenue will be closing for Stage 1 of the Pennsylvania Avenue Reconstruction and Widening Project on Thursday. Pennsylvania Avenue will be closed from just downhill from the intersection with Jefferso

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0424 OTT Lottery addiction graphic -T -L -M Hoping for riche$ — Part 3

    OTTUMWA — At first, George bought a lottery ticket once or twice a week. Nothing big. Spent $1 or $2 at a time. As the big jackpots rolled around, he’d purchase a few more tickets. No big deal, he thought. Soon, playing the lottery became his obsessi

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Interpreter bill approved in kidnapping case OTTUMWA — A filing in an Ottumwa case illustrates one of the basic tenets of the American legal system and its costs. Adem Anota is charged with one count of kidnapping. The charge is a Class A felony, among the most serious and one of only a few cri

    April 23, 2014

  • Van Buren OKs teacher pay hike KEOSAUQUA — The Van Buren Community School Board ratified a master contract with its certified staff members recently. Superintendent Dr. Pam Ewell, the Van Buren Education Association and the district reached a settlement which calls for increasing

    April 23, 2014

  • 'Ride With the Clowns' bike event full of fun OTTUMWA — This bike ride is a joke. No, seriously. The 10th annual "Ride With the Clowns" spring tune-up is set for Saturday, May 3, and this fun ride is sponsored by the Ottumwa Shrine Club Clown Unit. "It draws a regular crowd," said Mark Merringer

    April 23, 2014

  • Youth playing with guns panic Fairfield residents FAIRFIELD — The Fairfield Police Department received two calls Tuesday from concerned citizens reporting kids with guns in the vicinity of both elementary schools. In both incidents, the guns were actually pellet guns but looked real. According to a

    April 23, 2014

  • The most fun you ever had

    OTTUMWA — Not every child's idea will be possible — but every idea was recorded. "Kaboom" project manager Brenna Hull of the nonprofit group's San Francisco office was in Ottumwa Tuesday. She asked students at the Ottumwa school district what they'd like to see in a playground.

    April 22, 2014

  • 0423 OTT Recycle center color photo 2 -T -M Where every day is Earth Day

    OTTUMWA — Putting cans in the correct bin, saving electricity and adjusting the thermostat are not new concepts to the Ottumwa/Wapello Recycling Center staff. "We try to practice what we preach," said Janice Bain,

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0423 OTT lottery retailers graph -T -M Hoping for riche$ — Part 2

    OTTUMWA — We’ve all heard countless stories of lottery winners and losers. The winners, some of whom hold down multiple jobs, have modest dreams for now. One wants to buy a new home or car, another wants to pay of their debts or give to charity and e

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook
E-edition