DNR says pheasant population has fallen to all-time low - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

DNR says pheasant population has fallen to all-time low

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BOONE (KWWL) -

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says the state's pheasant population has fallen to a new all-time low.

A statewide survey found a statewide average of seven birds per 30 miles.  In 2010, the average was 11 birds per 30 miles.

The DNR says a fifth winter in a row of above average snowfall, followed by a wet nesting season, is responsible for the low numbers.

"The last five years have been really frustrating for Iowa hunters and for the department," said Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife research biologist for the DNR, said in a written statement. "Plain and simple, we have lost hens and nests consecutively each of the last five years because of unprecedented weather patterns for Iowa."

The drop is not just hitting Iowa though.  Minnesota's pheasant population is down by 64%, South Dakota's is down 46% and Nebraska's is down by 20% from last year.

The DNR does report a small gain in numbers in southern Iowa, but fewer birds across northern Iowa.  Overall, they say hunters will find better numbers in the pheasant belt, which stretches from northwest, central and north-central Iowa.  They also say a few more birds will be found in south central and southwest Iowa.

The 2011 pheasant hunting season runs from October 29 through January 10, 2012.  You can see the full roadside report by visiting http://www.iowadnr.gov/Hunting/PheasantSmallGame/AugustRoadsideSurveyData.aspx.

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