It was the year of an incumbent dove season, but Iowa upland hunters won’t necessarily celebrate similarly for the pheasant season opener. According to RadioIowa.com, a recent roadside survey done by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources showed that the pheasant population is at its lowest ever.
The D.N.R.’s roadside survey found an average of 7 birds counted for each 30 miles driven, compared to 11 birds per route last year. After five consecutive winters of heavy snowfall, the birds lack the habitat they used to have.
However, this isn’t a new trend: According to RadioIowa, the South Dakota pheasant population is down 46%, Minnesota is down 64% and Nebraska counted 20% fewer birds than last year.
For Iowa hunters, an out-of-state pheasant hunt might not be a bad idea to ensure dogs get to work some big roosters this season.