Pheasant hunting season down this year - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Pheasant hunting season down this year

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Waterloo (KWWL) -- It's a yearly tradition for thousands of hunters. Iowa's pheasant hunt starts Saturday. But this year, it might be harder to find that rooster.

Severe cold in the winter followed by this year's flooding put a double whammy on the pheasant population.

It also means a later harvest. Jim Tate of Shcheels has been telling his customers better hunting may be a few weeks away.

"There's an awful lot of corn still standing out there in the fields. It's way behind schedule and that's gonna make it a lot harder to find birds on the opening weekend and possibly the first 2 to 3 weeks," said Tate."

"Not that at the crops are, at this particular point, food for the pheasants but it's a place for the pheasants to hide where the hunter really doesn't want to go into the farmers field," said Ed Griffith of Pheasants Forever.

Pheasants Forever is just one group that promotes safe hunting in Iowa. They say news of fewer birds probably won't stop those from out-of-state from trying their luck here this season.

"Iowa has been a good pheasant hunting area for the last 8 to 10 years and I think people will come in from out of state again, I really do," said Griffith.

And experts say if those hunters come later in the season, they may see more success than those who hunt within the first two weeks.

The iowa d-n-r is also reminding hunters to be safe. Last year, two phesant hunters were hurt in acciedents, compared to four in 2006 and 16 in 2005.

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