Report: Iowa to see promising 2019 pheasant hunting season

Local News

This October 2005 photo provided by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department shows a young rooster pheasant in McLean County in North Dakota. North Dakota’s pheasant population has increased by nearly one-third over the past year, thanks to a pleasant winter and favorable weather during the spring nesting season. The estimated 30 percent increase in birds over 2014 mirrors increases in nearby states including South Dakota, where the pheasant population is up about 42 percent. (North Dakota Game and Fish Department via AP)

All signs point to a great 2019 season for pheasant hunting in Iowa, according to a report released by Pheasants Forever.

The group’s 2019 hunting forecast says that Iowa’s pheasant population “held steady through the abnormally high precipitation levels.”

“After a 2018 season that produced the best pheasant harvest numbers in a decade, poor nesting and brood-rearing conditions shouldn’t slow down the momentum for hunters in the Hawkeye State,” the report reads.

Winter conditions in early 2019 tested pheasants across the state after a historic snowfall in February. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says Iowa saw 23 inches of snow in that month alone.

Luckily, the slow start to winter meant that pheasants didn’t have to fight multiple months of deep snow and harsh conditions.

Then, the rain came. The DNR says May was the sixth-wettest year in the last 124 years.

However, the pheasants were able to endure the conditions and nest.

“Given that the roadside surveys showed pheasant numbers were more or less unchanged in seven of nine survey regions, the fall looks very promising, given that last year’s harvest was the best we have seen in a decade,” said Iowa DNR wildlife research biologist Todd Bogenschutz. 

320,000 roosters (male pheasants) were harvested in 2018.

Photos: Pheasants Forever

Download the We Are Iowa app in the App Store or Google Play Store

©TEGNA Inc. 2019. All Rights Reserved.