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
  • Seasonal forecast Cool summer leading to cool fall? OTTUMWA — By late July, the average daytime high temperature starts to drop. What is normally the hottest part of the year is over. Averages are still in the mid-80s, and it certainly wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to see days in even the upper 90s.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Grant helps Hills keep students on track OTTUMWA — Thanks to a grant designed to improve graduation rates, Indian Hills Community College now has even more tools in its campuswide effort to help students with needs and give them the resources they need to stay in class. Indian Hills is one

    July 28, 2014

  • 0728 OTT ribs in eldon BBQ dinner with a hundred friends

    ELDON --- This year's Eldon Rib Cook-off was won by three BBQ chefs --- and about 150 hungry visitors. "I was down here last year, too," said Dwayne Yates from Floris, who was biting into his third smoked rib. "I never had a bad one yet." That's what

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mediacom: Rural cable consumers and companies mistreated OTTUMWA --- You may want to add just a racing channel, a court channel or a nature channel to your cable line up. Unfortunately, you'll probably have to buy a "bundle," which, ironically, is what it will cost you here in Wapello County. That's accord

    July 26, 2014

  • Alternate juror could not have convicted Techel based on evidence DAVENPORT — An alternate juror who was dismissed before Seth Techel, 23, of Agency was convicted of killing his wife and the non-consensual termination of a human pregnancy says the verdict could have been different if she had been in deliberations.D

    July 25, 2014

  • Overcome testing fear, get a good job OTTUMWA — It's not who you know, it's what you know. That's what City leaders say about getting a good paying job in Ottumwa. "It seems like in the last year we've had a real reduction in the number of individuals who've applied," said Joni Keith, hu

    July 25, 2014

  • Water Pollution Control Facility gets OK to upgrade OTTUMWA — An emergency Ottumwa City Council meeting resulted in spending $140,583 for the Water Pollution Control Facility. Friday afternoon, council members listened intently as Ottumwa Water Pollution Control Facility Superintendent Kam Reeves told

    July 25, 2014

  • Quincy Ave. project starts Aug. 4 OTTUMWA — Updates on the Quincy Avenue project was given to residents and businesses residing between Albia Road and Hwy. 34 on Thursday night at Ottumwa City Hall. About a dozen people attended the meeting where City Engineer Dan Sturm gave an updat

    July 25, 2014

  • Silence continues on fatal shooting OTTUMWA — Law enforcement is exercising its right to remain silent about a shooting death that occurred south of town this week. The Wapello County Sheriff's Office, which had responded to the shooting, said most information on the case would now com

    July 25, 2014

  • 0726 OTT cedar creek Gone in a flash

    BLOOMFIELD — Bob Parker got about as close to lightning as you can Friday morning, and came out of it without injury. A line of thunderstorms started moving through southeast Iowa in the early morning hours. Parker was heading to work at about 7 a.m.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook