Doug Smith

Even if the fish aren’t biting, the ducks aren’t flying and the pheasants aren’t flushing, Doug Smith says any day spent outdoors is a good day. A Minnesota native, he’s been covering the outdoors for the Star Tribune since 1995. He considers walleyes fried over a campfire to be gourmet cuisine.

Iowa pheasant harvest up 45 percent, but still far below 'good old days'

Posted by: Doug Smith Updated: July 23, 2013 - 12:44 PM
Well, there’s some good news on the upland bird front.
Barely.
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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