How is the drought affecting wild game and hunting? - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

How is the drought affecting wild game and hunting?


Dan Miller is an avid hunter and farmer. Even though his crops are suffering, Miller says the lack of spring rainfall likely helped his hunting hobby. He believes the drought allowed more wild bird eggs to hatch.

"They're prone to go into flooded area and with the spring rains we had in previous years, they basically got drowned out," said Miller.

DNR, Department of Natural Resources, employee Greg Schmitt agrees. He says pheasant numbers will likely be up 40 percent.

He also says other wildlife is surviving the drought just fine.

"They are adaptable. They can move around. Find those microclimates where its a little cooler and things like that. So especially like deer or bigger animals like that are really adaptable," said Schmitt.

Schmitt says the Iowa native prairies really help out the wildlife during a drought. 

"They're adaptive to this climate. They're use to this drought cycle. They have very deep root systems," Schmitt said.

However, Schmitt does for see a possible problem with waterfowl and the lack of water.

"If we can't get those wetlands filled. You've got the good vegetation there now but if they're not filled with water or have some water on them, the waterfowl might be passing on through," said Schmitt.

Schmitt believes hunters who set out food plots and water ponds for the upcoming hunting season are also helping to reduce stress in wild game. But for small birds and animals, you can help them by keeping bird feeders full and baths filled with water.

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