Well, there’s some good news on the upland bird front.
Iowa’s pheasant harvest increased 45 percent in 2012, the first increase in harvest since 2005. Hunters killed an estimated 158,000 roosters. But that’s still a fraction of the 1 million birds that used to be harvested in Iowa -- a reflection of the loss of habitat and poor weather that has plagued the state in recent years.
The harvest increase was expected after last year’s annual August Roadside Survey pointed to a population increase of 18 percent.
“We finally had a mild winter and spring in 2012 and our pheasant population responded,” said Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Bobwhite quail, mourning dove, cottontail and squirrel harvest estimates increased as well.
The only decrease in harvest occurred with Hungarian partridge.
The number of small game hunters increased 5 percent in 2012. The harvest estimates are based on a survey of small game hunters.
The 2013 August Roadside Survey is Aug. 1-15, with results available by mid-September.
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The Department of Natural Resources will have field testing stations in Kandiyohi, Meeker, Morrison, Pope, Stearns, Swift and Todd counties.
Results mirror results in Minnesota, South Dakota.
Previously, the DNR said it would wait until an annual fall walleye survey was complete on Mille Lacs before determing whether winter walleye fishing could begin Dec. 1.
Deadline to apply is Sept. 24