The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

June 19, 2013

Pheasant population outlook 'dismal'

(Continued)

Pheasant hunting season begins the last Saturday in October and runs through Jan. 10, according to Iowa Code.

While we have no control over the weather, Baker said there are steps private landowners can take to ensure the survival of the pheasant population.

"If they have idle land, they can plant a diverse, native prairie mix," he said. "And people need to stay out of waterways and ditches. Much of their nesting occurs in linear corridors, roadsides and waterways. A pheasant is either mowed over, killing her, or it chases her off, causes damage to the nest, then she abandons it and has to re-nest."

Baker suggests holding off on mowing roadsides and waterways until after July 15, which marks the end of the pheasant nesting season.

IDNR upland wildlife biologist Todd Bogenschutz said this marked the wettest spring for pheasants since they were established in Iowa in the 1920s.

In August, the IDNR will conduct its "roadside survey" to gauge the pheasant population. These numbers will be posted at www.iowadnr.gov by mid-September.

Every year, the IDNR makes predictions on the pheasant population based on winter and spring weather, and their predictions have come true the last eight out of 10 years.

— To follow reporter Chelsea Davis on Twitter, head to @ChelseaLeeDavis.

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